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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On the matter of eggs

What do you know?
earlier this month actually worked!

I found this little beauty on the ground,
under the roost,
in the chicken shed this morning!

I think it must have fallen out of one of them
as they slept last night...lucky it didn't break.

It even had a little blood on it!  Aww!
One of my baby girls is all grown up now.

I remember from last year that the new girls seemed to lay
accidently and in odd places until they got the hang of the nest boxes.

Now on a different but related matter.
What do roosters 
have to do with egg laying?

Now I know it sounds like a silly question.

Like we all know what roosters do!

However I am serious and would like other
chicken fanciers out there to give the matter some consideration.

Now let me jog your memory about the these three bantams.
Left to right: Indigo, Lavender and Violetto.

Before the boys left for a better place...
well at least one where I can't hear them,  I housed
Indigo and Lavender in the chicken tractor.

Everyday for over a fortnight, she laid one
perfect little bantam egg.
Since Indigo left, she has not produced
a single one.

When they were together he would stand
at the top of the ramp and encourage
her into the nesting compartment.

I have also seen Brewster, in the past,
sitting in 'ideal nesting spots' under bushes
and the like, calling to his girls.
When they came he would cluck and
fuss until they tried out his latest spot.
I actually found an egg or two in his chosen places.

Brewster is still going through his moult
and looking like an old duster.

I am wondering if the older girls,
who have finished moulting and
are resplendent in new feathers
are not laying...because Brewster
is still deciding what to wear and doesn't
have time to encourage them.

What do you think?


  1. Hmmm Hazel - I think you have too much time on your hands.

    Seriously though - I don't think that the rooster has much to do with egg laying. We have had our girls with a rooster, and without and in terms of egg laying their situation doesn't seem affected.

    However, I do think that having a rooster is good for flock morale. The little bantam rooster we have at the moment is definitely king of the roost, and is very protective when other birds (dreaded magpies) fly near.

    My personal opinion (for what it's worth) is that it is just a seasonal thing with your girls. I've not seen our hens lay where the rooster has sussed out a spot though - he just shows them interesting eating.

    Our hens have slowed down in production too. I think they are going into a moult as well. cheers Wendy

  2. The only difference is - that with a rooster the eggs are fertilised, and you can have little babies..uh..chicks. Without rooster - the eggs are 'only' good for eating. :)

    And as said above, sometimes it's good to have a rooster to keep order in the house. But you don't need him to get eggs from the girls.

  3. Did one of your new girls lay that egg?
    My girls should be laying by now! I know its cold but only Dumpling is moulting at the moment so why is it that Melanie and Julia are not laying?!
    Could Julia have been so traumatised by Ollie that she will never lay!?

    I have no ideas about the rooster effect other than the obvious fertilisation...

  4. Love your changing Autumn tones.

  5. mmmm, I think the roosters maybe think they important! Hence all the crowing, cluking etc. My bantams only ever lay about twenty eggs and then go broody, with or without a rooster.
    Your autumn picture is spectacular.

  6. Yay an egg! Well done Hazel. Your girls' talk must have done the trick. I have no idea about the rooster and egg laying but I'm with Duchess Declutter - maybe you have too much time on your hands!

  7. I could watch Roosters for hours and the way they handle their girls. They often take them out to dinner, scratching up bugs and bokking for them to come and enjoy, and you know a good rooster will never eat before his girls. I have also noticed if any of my girls are threatened (like being shoved by 2 year olds) whilst laying the Rooster will always run to them. He keeps the order in the coop. So what do Rooster have to do with egg laying, I would say he keeps them happy, Happy Hens = More Eggs. It definitely sounds like Brewster needs to put on a new coat and get his ladies back onto th production line... :)

  8. With or without a rooster, you will have the same amount of eggs. Nice post.

  9. This is interesting! Our rooster has never enticed the girls over to a particular laying least not that I know of! And the rest - what Gooseberry Jam said. Our Mr Green boks to alert the others about food and stands back while they dive in. There is something nice about watching the rooster in amongst his flock - it completes it. Lovely to have some eggs always amuses me how they can drop them while up on the perch sleeping for the night!

  10. I think everyone else has pretty much covered it, happy chickens = more eggs and the other thing to consider is that chickens need additional protein when moulting and this will keep them laying.

  11. Hazel, every family group needs a leader and in the absence of a rooster a hen quite often takes over the dominant/protective role. Just don't tell Brewster or him might never grow back those proud tail feathers.

  12. I think that flocks really miss out when they don't have a lovely rooster to look after them. Not one of the large pushy in the bedroom types, but a sweet one that looks out for them and guides them towards the good spots. A friend of mine just had his rooster half eaten by a snake, a wee little bantam man protecting his lovely larger lady chickens... he laid down his life for them, and that has to count for something.

    My poor ladies can't have a man around because my neighbours didn't like my lovely pekin rooster... his teeny little crow that wouldn't have woken up a soul when you consider the trains, buses, yapping dogs, police sirens, yobbos, crying children, and drum playing teenagers around here.

    Can you tell I'm still cranky about having to get rid of him?

    I do have no idea about the eggs though. Perhaps they won't lay until they are confident and secure??

  13. Ali, Brewster isn't sweet he has talons and spikes and uses them!

  14. Dear Veggie Gnome,
    I do know about the birds and the bees ... I am three peoples mum and four people's I know what a rooster has to do etc.

    It may be a matter of me having too much time on my hands, but the behaviour I have seen with Brewster and Indigo actually happened/happens. Brewster is, at the moment nto acting very gallantly. He does not call for he girls when there is food...he just bogs in. I am feeding them all extra protein, but he is taking such a long time to finish his moult.

    I am going to do further research...I don't think it is a coincidence that Violet stopped laying on the day Indigo left her.

    And as for you, Anon, I will sort you out when I see you!

  15. Mine haven't been laying as much as usual lately either. I have one out of production because she's brooding. But I don't know about the others. I suspect they are laying in a secret spot - because this should be prime laying season right now and our rooster is not in a moult. Sneaky chickens.

  16. WooHoo! An egg! :)
    Sorry but I'm with the 'rooster has nowt to do with it' brigade.
    Hens are born with a limited number of eggs stored, just like humans, but their cycle is much shorter than ours.
    However, they could well be out of sorts because the rooster has gone?

  17. You Ms. Lavendar look similar like Mrs. Bok Mr. Lavendar. I think they would make a lovely pair.

  18. I don't know anything about again I will say... I love your Autumn tones.

    I do think however that your observations of chicken behaviour should not be dismissed out of hand. Elephants get very sad when separated from their family members, so why not chickens!

  19. Love your header picture Hazel it is gorgeous.


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