April 2010 The Coop Newsletter April still feels like March with winds and weekly rain. The girls have come to terms with the wind blowing them over every so often and as long as the temps are around 70-ish, the rain doesnt bother them either. Egg production is iffy still and Im sure putting the hens into Camp Hanna (the Chickey pen) for a few days while we exterminated critters from the coop is the reason. Changes in their normal routine gets their feather ruffled and there goes egg deliveries! Now that the girls are back in their houses, Twinkle and Hilda will usually give us an egg most days. Speaking of eggs, our wiley Mille Fleurs have gotten sneaky again. Now that a neighbor wants the collected dried poo for his garden, I keep a bucket in the coop for deposits in the afternoon cleaning schedule. I went in to clean and there was Camille and Margot all bunched up and purring in the bottom of the bucket! They were sooo cute! I left the coop to do other chores for a while. When I saw them come out of the coop, I tiptoed in to see what happened. Sure enough the ladies had each laid an egg in the bucket. I have now removed the bucket to the garage. Since then, they seem fine with laying their eggs in their house. We went on a short vacation mid April and had our pet sitter care for the girls in their houses. The weather folks predicted rain and storms the days we would be gone. I figured one more bad camping experience for them and I would be permanently off their egg gift list. They dont seem to mind a few days lazing about in their houses. Then, the storms coming through the area dont get them or their area wet and they feel more protected in their houses at night. The sitter opens their doors on Saturday morning to play till daughter comes to close them in for the night. Revolt! The daughter arrived Saturday evening as scheduled to put the girls to bed, but a bit early because she had a party to go to later on. She tried to shoo the hens into the coop with very little cooperation. Only Hilda and Gerty obliged her. All the others ran all over the yard and refused to go inside. She put extra food in for the adventurous girls should they come in later that night and hoped for the best. When we arrived home that afternoon, all seven happy girls were pecking at bugs and seeds in the backyard. A Surprise Egg from Gerty? For some years now, we have not gotten eggs from Gerty and assumed that she was retired from that activity. Then the other day, on the patio, there was Gerty getting up from her nap surprised to find an egg under her. Now we did not see her lay the egg, but it was an odd place for any of the other girls to just plop one down on the patio. Gerty promptly inspected it. The shell was evidently perilously thin as it broke the minute she touched it with her beak. Then Hilda came running over to see what was going on and took a taste! What! Wait a minute! They both were tasting away as I shot up off the couch and out the door to shoo them away. I wiped up the egg mess and then covered the spot with a doormat. Gerty and Hilda gave me looks of outraged disbelief. I tried to explain, but, well. They might have felt bad if I told them their treat was like eating one of their children. Ewwwwwww! They didnt need to hear that. I gave them some greens and the whole thing was forgotten in minutes. Still confused if the egg was hers or not. As April closes, we are still getting the March winds and hoping the nice temperatures in the 80s hangs in through May. The girls are happy with lots of weed seeds and bug to eat. We are happy that it is not yet time for mosquitoes and a great time for a barbequesteaks, not chicken.