The Embarrassed Chicken

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Laverne came dancing out of the chicken coop singing her own praises, clucking in operatic form announcing the arrival of her egg.  The other four rolled their eyes.  Big deal, the biggest chicken laid an egg the size of a sparrow’s, they laughed.  But Laverne was unperturbed in her singing and strutting about.

These chickens have brought us so much delight since we brought them home a chilly morning last April.  At one day old, the tiny fluffs fit in our palms two at a time.  They were precious and needy and we fretted over them so.  They became teenagers in August and since then put out a pretty steady egg a day from each.  So when Mahalia stopped laying last week, we got concerned.

Now, I prepare for new ventures (like getting my bee hives next Spring) by reading everything I can get my hands on.  I scanned the files of my mind to retrieve each article and wisdom I picked up about chickens not laying.  In the winter they do not lay as much, however, a red light can remedy that.  Check. The girls are teenagers and should lay right through winter.  Ok.  So, the only logical explanation is….gasp…the egg is stuck.

I read the article before the girls came to live here with a little horror and trepidation but carried on reading just in case the day should come that the information would be needed.  When your chicken is broody, not laying, sways her head side to side like Stevie Wonder, and doesn’t hang out with the other chickens as much, she may have an egg stuck.  Which could kill her.  My mother says matter of factly, it killed one of hers.

We already lost two chickies to early infant death.  Then lost three more to an evil four year old and his dog from next door.  So, I’m not antsy to lose any more of the girls.

She was sitting a lot.  One time she wasn’t hanging out with the rest of the ladies.  She sure ain’t laying.  She is not doing the head roll thing, but I imagine I caught this early.  With only five chickens I notice if one isn’t doing well.  I would like to remedy this before it gets too bad.

I go back into my files and remember that if you simply set the chicken into real warm water the egg may slide out when the muscles relax.  It seems weird and I am sure the neighbors wondered, but I took the soup pot out with the nice steamy water out to the coop.  Set her little backside into the water and waited.  Mahalia is quite patient and looked at me like, “Ok, I’m clean.”  Nothing.

A few days pass, she seems fine but still no egg.  I don’t want her to die.  So, after reading more information on the internet (we are like first time parents where we read every medical journal then worry over every single symptom) and learn that we must lubricate the duct and feel for an egg.

Another day passes and we muster the nerve.  My friend, Pat,  gave me some disposable gloves and told me to man up in no uncertain terms and be a good chicken farmer.  So, Doug and I traipsed out to the coop.  I swooped her up sideways, Doug dipped his finger in olive oil and stuck it in her woohoo.  She screamed, “What the f#@k!” That’s what is sounded like with all the flapping of wings and squawking, the other girls freaking out.  “No egg,” Doug says matter of factly.

It seems that maybe it is just cold and she is taking a break from laying.  We will keep watching her and make sure she doesn’t turn into Stevie Wonder.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. aumcchildren says:

    A true man doesn’t use disposable gloves..I mean woman lol. If she is molting she won’t lay either. Usually if they have an egg stuck they stand straight up and look odd walking.. their butt is way down and they waddle like a duck. You also don’t need a red light. Those are 250 watts of power you are draining. All you need to do is get a timer from the store and set it so they have 12 hours of light. I change mine with the time change but pretty much my light goes on at 6am. I set it to click off about 9 because I have a window in my coop and it’s light. Usually I’ve already let them out by then. Then my light comes on at 5pm and stays on till 10pm. The timer is awesome and I can lower wattage out there so it’s not so expensive on my bill!

    1. Katie says:

      I actually put the light in so they don’t freeze. I don’t know how much chickens can take. I’m a newbie here. Their water freezes even with the light. It gets pretty cold out there! What is your opinion on that? (and thanks for the clarification of what I am looking for in Mahalia!)

      1. aumcchildren says:

        My coop is insulated and the chickens themselves keep it usually above freezing unless the temp is below 20. There are days I go out there and its warmer than outside! Chickens can get pretty cold. My chickens roam around in 20’s and still seem ok. If they are all puffy and laying down a lot they are probably cold. It really depends on the types of chickens you have. I have dual purpose ones.

  2. L Allen says:

    It’s likely just that time of year. My hens molted, my egg count dropped. Then it picked back up, and I happily threw every egg I had in my new incubator. I thought I was going to escape the winter time egg drop….Sure enough, they’ve stopped laying again no doubt due to the lack of daylight. I’m getting an egg a day or less, and some people I know have gone for a month or more without eggs. You can add some protein to their diet to see if it will help. People use cat food, calf manna, or catfish food and say they help. I’ve just added catfish food as of yesterday. I’m throwing out two cups every other day. We will see if it does them any good.

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