One day in the distant past, a man walked out of his cave and told the world, “I am going to invent a thing that will make life much easier. I am going to call it a wheel.” He then started thinking and planning. At that time in human history, we lost our chicken sense. The voices in our heads replaced instinct.
It is well known that animals and birds can sense changes in climate, weather patterns, and shifts in the earth’s crust and are sensitive to other things we can only imagine. I recently concluded that the fifty-three pullets I got as chicks in April had detected something amiss and decided to delay laying eggs. Subsequently, they didn’t begin to lay eggs until they were almost nine months old. Even then, only a few have laid. Most are still holdouts.
I have raised chickens off and on all my life. I have never seen any breed of chicken that didn’t start laying eggs after six months. Some breeds I have raised start at five months. These fifty-three are over nine months, and only a few are laying.
Now, these pullets would not have delayed laying for no reason. They know something that I don’t and obviously are not worried sick about it. Not only that, but they stuff their faces with expensive feed daily, drink specially prepared, delicious water, and have lots of pasture to run around to eat bugs, worms, and seeds. So that’s not the problem.
I even emailed the hatchery I purchased them from and asked if perhaps they were selling transgender chicks, and I had chicks that were born as roosters. They denied it and said, “Are you giving them good layer feed, fresh water, and sunlight?” as if I might be the problem. They had no clue. I spoil my chickens.
Adding to that situation, my older laying hens, who were producing sixty to seventy eggs a day, have been laying as little as a dozen to twenty a day. This has been from the beginning of the hot summer weather and has yet to return to spring production even after it cooled off in fall. I got 23 eggs yesterday, which is the highest since spring. It is December 21st, and my average for the last two months is fifteen daily. I am convinced the same thing influences these chickens as the pullets.
In case you are wondering if my chickens are an isolated case, they are not. My friend nearby has seen the same pattern as I have. I talked to the feed store folks, and they said other chicken farmers had the same happening to them.
One thing I know for sure. Chickens do not spend time fretting, speculating, or trying to solve the situation. Not only that, they don’t even consider it a problem. Chickens live life in the moment they are in. No past, no future, just the now that they are living through. No judgment, good or bad, only what exists in front of them.
A lot of us would be better off living like a chicken. I may try that tomorrow. I best do it as a rooster; I’d hate to try laying an egg. 😱