Jilara (jilara) wrote,

  • Mood:

Impatient for eggs

The girls are starting to really look, well, henlike. Less like teenaged chickens and more like hens. They are reaching an age where they could start to lay any time, now. Then they will back off for the winter, if what I read holds. Unless I give them some extra light in the evening. Apparently, chickens are day-length sensitive. Juanita, however, is an Ancona, and those are supposed to be good winter layers. I'm hoping Bianca will manage to become a layer, too.

Bianca is ENORMOUS, as big as a goose. I've joined an online support group for caretakers of Cornish Cross chickens, as they are "disposable" chickens that are intended to be harvested as broilers before they reach maturity, and develop distinctive health problems as they age, related to their size. Most don't ever see two years, but some of the people in the group have some that are 4 years old, which is geriatric for a Cornish Cross, and they have serious health issues. But they see they are exercised, and people exchange tips for better chicken health for these birds. Andrew wants to keep Bianca going as long as possible, so we'll see.

Bianca has been put on a controlled diet. Lots of veggies, little scratch, and encouraged to scratch in the compost with the others. Probably good that she likes to roost on the top perch, where she can see over the fence, because it makes her jump and flap her ridiculously undersized wings. You can see her going "I think I can, I think I can..." as she works herself up to it. I have been rearranging the perches recently, to give her a slightly more comfortable way of getting up, and have put in another high perch with fewer sharp edges, as her bulk really presses edges into her feet.

Everyone is starting to inspect nest boxes and small enclosed spaces. They are also pecking at the oyster shell bits I've put out for them. YES! This hopefully means eggs are coming soon. Everyone on the chicken boards are reporting when their spring chicks are starting laying, and what their ages are. The older girls are hitting 20 weeks, so they could start any time. Bianca is two weeks younger, so she may lag, but who knows? I just know I'm starting to get egg-anticipation.

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