A springlike day today, after a taste of the winter our fellow-Canadians know far better than us west coasters. Kudos to them, winter in Canada isn’t a walk in the park.
I am also happy to report the three people, two dogs, one cat, one horse, two donkeys, sixty-odd chickens, thirty-odd chicks, three sets of hens with babies, and three incubators-full of eggs have been as snug as bugs in our little muddy valley.
Yesterday as I was scattering hen scratch, Hoppy caught my eye. I always aim a handful her way, since with one leg she can’t compete with her voracious flock mates. Hens react to hen scratch like kids to a just-burst piñata.
As I watched her peck, hop, peck, one of those unbidden little thoughts came. Poor Hoppy, she can’t scratch. And scratching is one of a chicken’s greatest pleasures. I wonder if I should have culled her. Did I make the wrong decision? What is her quality of life if she can’t scratch? Maybe I am prolonging her suffering. Sigh.
Today at lunch I was out gathering eggs and filling feeders. Hoppy was in the nest box where she sleeps, and gave me the stink eye, but let me grab the eggs the other hens had laid. A few minutes later I was filling the feeder when I heard a thump, thump coming from the coop. It was Hoppy hurrying out to see what I was pouring. When I peeked into the nest box she had just left, there was an egg, still very warm. She had obviously just laid it.
Well, she gave me her answer, didn’t she. Unhappy chickens don’t lay eggs. 😊