Chicken Trickery

The additional daylight in the spring means that the chickens begin laying again, after a sporadic winter of not doing very much. Martha and Rachel got the memo weeks ago and are going their jobs well:

Sally is also a champ. But sometimes this happens:

As you can see, Sally’s eggs has been pecked open and eaten. That blob on the floor of the nesting box shows that several eggs have been raided and destroyed over that past few days.

This is not a protein or calcium issue, as they have plenty of extra seeds and oyster shells to eat. This seems to be about spite. I caught Abigail — who, it should be noted, hasn’t laid an egg in months — pecking away at one just the other day. jerk.

Kirk and I were also talking just lat night about how Lizzy — the worst chicken — also hasn’t laid any eggs in recent memory, and how she’s generally not earning her keep at all

And then today I found that she had, in fact laid an egg. 

And it was eaten. Along with a couple other eggs.

Four eggs from six chickens on any given day is perfectly acceptable. Getting to pick up only one of those unbroken is not.

So I decided to try a trick I had read about a long time ago that supposed to deter chickens from pecking open eggs:

That is an egg shell filled with yellow mustard. The idea here is that they are well rewarded for pecking open an egg because they like the way they taste, so you need to teach them that eggs are gross. Word on the street is that chickens very much dislike the vinegary taste and smell of mustard, so if you can make them think that’s what’s inside eggs, you might be able to scare them off real eggs.

We shall see. I figure it certainly couldn’t hurt, so I made a couple mustard bombs and planted them in the henhouse. If I get three or four untouched eggs tomorrow, I’ll be impressed. 


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