1/11/11 - Ruggy, my cuddly, 11 month old, white wyandotte, barren hen, passed this morning. For the past few days, I noticed her poop was watery with green chunks. When she started hanging out in the nest box, I thought her time has come, maybe she'll lay. When I realized that wasn't the case, I'd take her out and put her in the run with the others, but she was sluggish and her comb was dull. I scrambled some egg and fed the 3 girls their snacks, but Ruggy couldn't eat in peace as the others would give her a peck now and then. I then made the decision to take her into my house, hoping she would fair well away from that scene, get nourishment and a break from this winter weather. I put her in a large guinea pig cage, with her food and water..she ate and drank, and I felt optimistic. When I got up this morning, she was sitting down and her breathing was labored. I carried her outside, thinking the morning air would do her good, but her wings started flapping and it seemed she was seizing. She died in my arms. I don't know what was wrong with her, or if this is something I could prevent in the future. I loved my Ruggy, she was friendly and funny and I'll miss her terribly.
10/16/10 - So here I am, more than two months after my last post, my hens nearly 35 weeks old, and Ruggy has never laid an egg. As I stated in my last post, she will sit in the nest box or in a corner of her house, but..nothing. Sometimes, she even sings the egg song when she comes out! I was told by a chicken-owner, co-worker of my husband, that sometimes the lead hen will take on the role of a rooster when there is no rooster around, and therefore, will not lay. I don't feel she is the lead chicken, and I have not read about this in any research that I have done. I dare to say, that I have a loveable, friendly, barren hen, whom I adore; I haven't given up all hope, but it is fading. My other two hens are dependable layers, and although Francine's eggs are small, Petunia lays large eggs, many of them double-yolked.
8/8/10 - I am a first time chicken owner, with three White Wyandottes. Francine was the first to lay at 23 weeks, Petunia layed at 25 weeks, and Ruggy has been rummaging around in her house for over a week, sitting in the nest box for long periods of time, but has not yet laid. There was about 4 days between Francine's first and second egg, and Petunia didn't skip any days, between her first and second egg. They are both dutifully laying in the nest box, an old wooden bread box, which I purchased at Goodwill for $4.00. It's filled with pine shavings; the same thing that is on their floor.
The hen house is 4x8, with two compartments, a 4x6 for the hens, and 4x2 for food storage, etc. It is elevated and has a door on each side for easy access. The house has two vents, a window and run door, which is 10 inches tall and 9 inches wide. The run is 12x8 feet including underneath the house. That part, is dirt, but the outer area is sand. It's easy to keep clean with a kittly litter scoop which I've attached to a longer handle. I love my chickens!