Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Catching up

So there will be no baby chicks. Saturday I walked up to the pen to let the girls out to roam and Claire was part of the pack. Something that hasn't happened in many many weeks. And she wasn't acting her broody bitchy self, biting the other chickens and strutting around with her feathers all fluffed out. She was normal.

Uh-oh, I thought. I unlocked the door to the shed, walked in and saw that there were no more eggs in the nest and that there was a pile of shells on the floor. But no yolky messes. Ewwww. So somehow the eggs were removed from the nest and broken and then apparently eaten. I saw that one egg had rolled off in the corner. It was cracked but still holding together. I took it outside where my curiosity got the best of me. I opened it up to see just how big the chick embryo was. Inside was a baby chick about a third the size of the egg. I think it was still alive. It totally freaked me out and I buried it in the compost pile. I looked at the chickens scratching the mulch from my flower beds and realized that they had consumed 11 chicken embryos and their yolk sacs. Yuck. Chickens are evil.

I thought about getting more fertile eggs, but I think Claire is happier not being broody so I don't want to cause her to be that way again. If she goes broody next year, maybe I'll get her some eggs then, but for now I'm glad she isn't spending every hot summer day in her nest box.

I've been very busy with work and haven't had much time to do much of anything. I'm excited about next week when a stream restoration project begins. I actually get to oversee the sectioning off and dewatering of several sections of stream. They pump the water from the upstream section to the next live downstream section, giving a stretch of a few hundred feet of dry streambed in which to work installing erosion protection and such. The critters get moved on Monday, so I get to help move fish and whatever else we find when the water level starts dropping. Fun!

I'm particpating in One Local Summer again this year. I hope to have an entry every week (even though most of what I've been eating is local). This year there are 100 participants, so I want to have something great every week, really reflecting my area of Lancaster County. I think I'll stick to the 100-mile radius limits, which for me goes about to Trenton, NJ to the east, a little below D.C. to the south, Altoona to the west and Scranton to the north, but mostly concentrating on my home county. This should be easy, and pretty much most of our food comes from within 10 miles of our home this time of year. So I'm starting off with good intentions. We'll see how well I follow through with the postings.


Blogger Rurality said...

Well dang. Sure it was the chickens who did it, and not some other critter? Because if so they will likely peck and eat all the other eggs now too... or so I've read.

I have had a similar squicky "it's still alive"! experience. Kind of strange. Though I do remember a science experiment where I cracked open eggs at various stages and preserved them. Don't remember that happening back then. (Geez wouldn't people just freak out if a kid did that experiment nowdays?!)

3:55 PM  
Blogger Rurality said...

I forgot to say, my mother would kill for hydrangeas that color! (Her are always blue.)

3:56 PM  
Blogger Faith said...

Your comment about eating local made me realize that it's coming up on a year since I've been reading your blog. I started last August.

Something else eating the eggs was my first thought, too. I didn't think the chickens ate them, but I've never had chickens. The still alive chick would have creeped me out, too. Eeee!

4:01 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I'm sure it was the chickens. Those eggs were there in the morning. I think some kind of altercation in the nest box caused them to fall and break and that is when they were eaten. If the chickens spot a broken egg, they will eat it.

I would kill for blue hydrangeas. This hydrangea is actually still in a pot, yet to be planted and as soon as I put it in the ground, I will get bright pink. I always forget to add aluminum sulfate.

Thanks for reading for a whole year Faith. Chickens eat a lot of things that are mice, frogs, and baby birds.

4:13 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Cannibals I tell you! They are bunch of heartless cannibals! Sure they look innocent, but they eat their young right out of the shell!

Time to put the old glass egg (or a cueball) in the coop! Some have success with a golfball.

Do you think the temp. change had anything to do with Claire giving up the nest?

7:42 AM  
Blogger EFB said...

i thought the eggs weren't fetile, but just eggs? how weird. why would they do that? tho i guess you do hear about that in nature. at least they don't eat people like your dogs!! ha.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'm sorry for your surprise find that had to be buried in the compost pile... but am very appreciative that you don't shy away from explanations on your blog when these things happen. It keeps me fascinated. :)

If not for these next three weeks (when I'm working every day that a farmer's market is around) I would do the One Local Summer thing, too. Maybe I still will, even though I know I'll fail the first few...

8:51 PM  
Blogger kris said...

I knew chickens would eat broken eggs, but I didn't know they would eat the chicks inside - or baby birds, etc. Kind of grossing me out - but it's always interesting reading your blog! Your hydrangea photo is beautiful - mine are always pink instead of blue - but I'm okay with that - I'm just happy when they bloom period!

11:46 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

EFB, the eggs my chickens lay are unfertile eggs. The fertile eggs I got when I visited the farmer that has my rooster. He gave me a dozen eggs fertilized by my rooster and laid by several of his hens. Since Claire was broody, he thought she might enjoy sitting on eggs that will actually hatch. I guess she just got sick of laying on them. And then ate them. My dogs don't eat people, they just taste them. Still have that hand?

9:58 AM  

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