Tuesday, February 5, 2008

traveling while the chooks stay home

We just got back from our second annual trip to Disneyland over Super Bowl weekend, and it meant leaving our chooks at home for four days with a sometime chicken sitter.

She'd agreed to watch the chickens (feed and water them daily) on two conditions: 1) she could keep any eggs she found in the nest and 2) she could play our Wii while we were gone.

She did a great job, but unfortunately, I didn't tell her we wouldn't be returning home until late Monday night. She thought we'd be coming home late Sunday.

So the chickens got a little hungrier than they'd like, and I learned what the chooks do if their eggs aren't collected daily.

By the time I got to the Eglu at 9:30pm, the shine of the flashlight showed their food bowl was down to a fine layer of food dust, and they were about half-way through their water. Normally when I don't get to them until after dark, they just hang out in the coop while I fill their bowls.

Not last night: as soon as they saw the shine of my light, they were out in the run squawking at me (chiding me?) to fill up their bowls. No sooner had I filled the food bowl up all the way than they dove in to start munching away in a frenzied manner. I had to wonder just how long it'd been since they finished off their food. No matter... they seemed happy and were still eating away after I'd collected the (three!) eggs in their nest.

When I lifted away the nesting box lid, I saw a single egg in the nest and was about to replace the lid when I caught a glimpse of another egg all the way on the other side of the coop.


I shined the light in to illuminate the whole coop and sure enough, there were two eggs that had been pushed to the other side of the coop away from the nest, for a total of three in the coop. I guess the girls decided the nest was a bit too crowded with three eggs AND two chooks, so they moved the wingless ones out of the nest to make room to snuggle in the cold.

So, while the girls were a little hungry and a little cramped, they seem to have weathered our absence just fine. And when LeftCoastMom let them free range in the backyard for an hour today, the girls got to gorge themselves on fat worms and fresh lettuce and stretch their legs a bit.

It's good to be home again.

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