Three thousand is a pretty large number, well depends on what the 3000 represents. Compared to the number of leaves I will have to rake this fall, it’s not very large at all. Compared to the balance in my checkbook, it’s rather sizable. But this is a blog about my garden and my chickens——-NO it isn’t the number of tomatoes I harvested this year (actually I didn’t plant any) and I’m not expanding my coop and run to accommodate 3,000 new chicks. I’m writing about eggs.
the ladies give me small and extra large eggs
On April 4th 2012, I brought home 6, one-day-old chicks. 5 hens and one surprise rooster, Jack. On August 4th 2012, I got my first egg, 220 days later on March 12th 2013, the count reached 1,000 eggs, 223 days after that on October 21st 2013, 2,000 eggs and 310 days later, on August 27th 2014, 3,000 eggs. They are slowing down with the egg production. When they first started the ladies would average better than 4 eggs per day, for the last 3 months they are averaging less than 3 eggs per day. Some of the reasons they are slowing with their egg production are, they are getting past their prime laying age, some of the time they are molting and Miny has been sick.
While I was off on my hike, Miny stopped acting like a chicken. She wasn’t interested in food, she wasn’t scratching about and she would spend most of the day sitting in a corner of the run. She was very lethargic. My wife, Lil, who I affectionately call the “chicken whisperer” hand fed Miny, yogurt and treats, massaged her crop because it wasn’t emptying and was very squishy. She gave her olive oil to help move things along by eye-dropper daily. Some days Miny seemed better and some not so. Lil took her to our vet twice. On the second visit the vet operated on her crop and cleaned it out. No perceivable blockage was found. Miny then spent some time in the crate in the kitchen recuperating. Wrigley (the cutest puppy on the planet) did not make this a relaxed stay for Miny.
Miny in her cottage
Wrigley on leash, with chickens in the yard
When I got back home later into May, Miny still wasn’t acting well, actually getting worse. We took her to another vet that specializes in birds of all kinds. The vet didn’t think Miny’s insides felt right so she did an ultra-sound and took x-rays. Miny has a tumor, a mass in her that is crowding her organs. We brought her home with very heavy hearts. Glad to have an answer, just not happy with it. We decided to make her as comfortable as possible, Both of us thought we would be burying her over the July 4th weekend. Lil had read someplace about high doses of vitamin-C shrinking tumors——-so—-she started giving Miny daily eye-droppers of high dose vitamin-C. Miny started getting better. There were days when she acted like a chicken, out in the yard scratching away with the flock. We were both very hopeful. BUT, in September she started being lethargic again and I watched one day as Mo and Jasmine rather viciously attacked her. I separated them and put Miny in the old run by herself. NOW WHAT??? I fenced off a section of the new run and set up a little “cottage” for Miny. Again she would have some good days and some not. Lil was still hand feeding her everyday, I made her a separate corn-cob feeder for her cottage.
Miny in her cottage
Miny, Lil and Wrigley
Miny with feeder. The chickens love corn on the cob, I don’t like just throwing them into the run and the dirt. I drill a hole in them and stand them on dowels.
Miny went to that farm in the sky September 20th 2014. We buried her at the base of a large rock in the back yard. Not quite 2 1/2 years and we have lost our first chicken. We have always tried to be good custodians of our flock, Lil, maybe more than I. Lil would have them live in the cellar under the stairs when it gets cold out side, me, not so much. We hope our chickens know this, that they are spoiled BUT who knows what goes on in the mind of a chicken.
Jasmine on the garden fence ready for her escape, Jack still in the garden
Cute puppy picture