These chickens have one job, and it’s not to crap all over my outdoor furniture. Four months in and there have been bags and bags of chicken feed, scoops of dried worms, something called chicken grit, and even a swanky new coop.
There has also been nary an egg. Not a single one.
What there has been is chicken shit, and lots of it. It’s both runny and clumpy at the same time and it’s everywhere — on the table and chairs, on the patio, all over the grass, up and down the driveway, and consequently, tracked right through the house.
I ordered six chickens and in May, nine showed up, which is basically the story of my life. (I still have no idea how this happened. Could I be that bad at math?) I bought these chickens because of the spring egg shortage which now seems to be both a distant memory and a cautionary tale and I’ll be damned if we go into another egg shortage without these freeloading birds getting to work. I made the mistake of Googling the situation and learned that chickens may need twelve hours of daylight to lay eggs and just this past week, we passed the equinox and there won’t be twelve hours of sunlight until next Spring. WHAT?!
Panicked, I called the CHICKEN LADY HOTLINE and desperately asked about the sunlight situation and how I would know when my chickens are about to lay eggs. I worried that she’d tell me I had dud birds with lazy ovaries or whatever their bits are called. I worried she would tell me that even if there was enough sunlight, the birds had gone into premature henopause (AN ACTUAL THING) and I had no choice but to let them live out their egg-less days in my yards
Instead, she told me not to worry and to be patient (two things I at which I am so very bad). She also told me to look for a very red “comb” — that red fleshy bit on their heads. “Almost like lipstick,” she said.
I have no idea if this is red enough. But I also know that I was promised eggs. My neighbors were promised eggs and are consequently so excited about the eggs that they have been collecting eggs containers for me to fill.
Lois may even be excited but for now all we’ve got is chicken shit, and lots of it.