Watch this, but be prepared for some harsh 'culling' methods in this video:
Commercial Egg Producer Grinds up LIVE Baby Chicks. On a daily basis!
I have seen SO much cruelty of livestock animals in the commercialized mass-production industries, especially of hogs. Are there any humane, or even conscientious super-size companies anymore?
Consider sharing the link, and please be a careful consumer, if you shop for eggs... If you can raise your own, it's a highly rewarding practice and you'll KNOW how well-treated the animals are!
Update on the egg-laying situation here... I noticed last week that the hens had finally quit dropping their feathers. Their molting process lasted about 10 weeks!
Yesterday I went out 3x as usual, to check their water, etc. I left their door open at noon for an hour just for fresh air, but only ONE hen ventured outside. They just don't want to walk in the snow.
I went out at 1:30 to close the door (to retain heat for overnight). There was a baby deer in their yard scraping corn (chicken scratch) off the frozen ground.
I just kept walking, and eventually she jumped the fence.
Once inside the coop, I could see her out back thru the window.
Whooo-boy it was DUSTY in there! Just look at all the 'stuff' actively floating around:
(I'll be wearing a mask/bandana from NOW ON!)
Off topic, I really wonder the best way to reduce this dust... the floor is insulated with several layers of newpaper then straw, then wood shavings, about 4-6" thick. (It depends on whether I've just 'fluffed' it up or not. I do 'fluff' it every other day to cause all their droppings to drop into a lower level. There is a very slight smell in there, but only in comparison to the fresh outdoors. I have heard of others keeping the litter all winter, just continually adding more on top. The poo dries up that way and doesn't smell, but it's still there.
I considered this, but I really want a CLEAN coop, and using the spent litter over the snow will encourage them to get out once in a while.
(Blue Cochins are 'good' at being contained in a closed space generally, but I think any animal would get bored looking at the same 4 walls for 4-5 months straight!)
Boredom is cruel, unless absolutely necessary, so any day temps are above freezing and the sun is out without a breeze, I'll let them have an hour to get out.
Meanwhile back at the ranch...
I found 2 hens with their heads together facing a nest.
Upon investigation, there were 3 eggs in the nest, and one still warm, that was being pecked by at least one of those hens!
It had a hole in it that your thumb would fit into.
So I gathered them up and did a little research on why they eat eggs, and what to do about it.
I hate some of the 'duh' things people advised (keep them fed w/ high protein, high calcium foods and supplement w/ oystershell, fresh water, don't let them get BORED, or be crowded, etc. Some things are a given, and some things you have little power over).
Apparently an egg-eater will begin the practice simply out of curiosity - then discover they LIKE the taste of eggs. Then it becomes a hard habit to break them of! (Or the shells are too soft, so they digest it as calcium in order to help the NEXT egg coming, hence the 'duh' lists).
The problem is that other hens will observe this practice and learn to do it- monkey see-monkey do style.
The problem is, when you've got look-alike hens so you can't tell which is doing it... unless you can separate them out, one by one, to discover the culprit.
*Some people simply cull the hen.
*Some gather the eggs multiple times a day.
*Some people suggested wooden eggs or golf balls would discourage this, since the hen would learn that not all eggs are edible, and not worthy of their curiosity...
...but I wasn't convinced that would work since there have been golf balls and ping-pong balls in those nests for the past 6 weeks already (as bait to attract them TO the nests to lay, rather than in the corners of the coop).
*Some people advocated liberal application of cayenne pepper, but others debunked that, saying that chickens will eat chilies of all kinds because they can't detect the chemical of chilies, but mustard works to discourage them.
So I rinsed out the pecked egg (half the yolk was missing), and filled it to the brim with MUSTARD.
We'll see today if any hens look the bait and are looking a bit yellow...lol.
Meantime I have had fun creating my egg-carton logo:
What kinds of challenges have you dealt with lately (chickens or not)?
Have you created your own 'logo' for your goods and goodies?