Like many local people (according to the gossip on the chicken scene, anyway), we experienced an egg slowdown with our birds this summer. During what should have been their most productive time, they were a bit lackluster. We even–gasp–had to buy eggs once or twice at the farmer’s market.
We were just starting to make dark comments about the soup pot when the weather broke, fall blew in and the girls picked up the pace again. Hurrah! Whereas we were getting one or two eggs a day from five hens before, now we’re usually getting three and sometimes four.
Mr. Green Scene remarked the other day that the hens "seem happier" now. (They’re singing little songs around the coop–that’s how he knew.) Seriously, though, they are having a good month. They moved to a new spot, which will be next year’s garden addition, so they’ve got new territory to scratch and peck and make their own.
And we’ve been throwing them a lot more treats, too. Inspired by a comment on the CLUCK listserv, we’ve started thinking of the hens as compost partners, funneling a lot more of our kitchen scraps to the birds rather than putting them on the compost pile where they get eaten by dogs and crows. So the chooks now routinely get to feast on broccoli stalks, apple cores, and other delicacies. (Not eggshells, though. That encourages bad habits.)
When they hide love notes in the nest boxes, we’ll know we’ve really made them happy.