I've just been out visiting the chickens. We have six chickens that are about 3 1/2 years old. We hadn't been getting very many eggs for the last while, so I wondered if it was due to the heat of the summer. However, we also knew that at least one chicken has eaten eggs in the past, so we started paying closer attention to the girls. One chicken has been in a pen by herself for several weeks, mostly because I got tired of trying to herd her into the other pen when she kept going into this one. Okay, stay there, then. Anyhow, she was laying an egg almost every single day, but we weren't getting ANY eggs from the five hens in the other pen. The kid started noticing egg yolk on the beak & head of one of the chickens, so we started watching more closely. Finally, after he discovered that there were two hens who were determined guilty because they consistently had egg on their faces (is that where that saying comes from?), we put those two into the second pen and brought the lone chicken back to the first pen. Guess what? It wasn't the heat - we're now getting eggs from that first pen of four chickens! I'm very glad of this for two reasons: First, I like eggs. And now that I'm not working at a "job," eggs are a real blessing for our menu! Second, I prefer to butcher chickens in the fall or winter. For some reason, it just seems better than doing it in really hot weather. These chickens are our pets, they're fun to watch, and we love them, but we're working toward being self-sufficient, and we don't have a budget for just pets. That's why we have chickens - we get to have pets AND food. I'm happy that these girls get to stick around a bit longer.
The "little chickens," as I've taken to calling them, are now about eight weeks old, and these Buff Orpingtons are looking like full-grown chickens in miniature, rather than going through the awkward-looking "teenage" stage that our White Leghorns went though. The funny thing is that they look like full-grown chickens, but they still sound like babies. Adorable!