Notes from Windward: #62
Payment in Full
Heather talks about a special arrangement
Hens laying in the rhubarb
This year I have had two hens religously lay eggs for me everyday, for
months at a time. First near my recycled cans and now in my mint
I have always thought that the chickens were pretty smart. I
swear the hen in the mint is laying me eggs in thanks for feeding her
every day! My plants are all in big pots on tables on my deck and when
I go outside she murmers to herself, or me, I'm not sure which. I
always talk back to her and throw bread in a nearby planter. I leave
her alone and later in the day I find a brown egg in my mint plant. She
has usually eaten her bread and she's gone.
A few months ago Skinny
Mini, another hen, was doing the egg laying honors. She and I have
quite a history. A few years ago a hen had chicks in the dead of
winter. We all ran around trying to catch them for a few days to put in
the brooder but they were fast and their mother was smart.She stayed in
the sheep pens most of the time and it was hard to run after them when
she went under the shelters or changed pens.
We all decided if she had
had her babies in the middle of winter and was so determined to raise
them that she could. And she did! She had seven to begin with but
ended up raising five for the long haul.
She was quite industrious.
She would go under the shelters or anywhere the sheep had been lying
where it was warm and scratch away and eat whatever she could find. She
was independent and not too receptive in the beginning to being fed
because she knew we wanted to chase her and take away her chicks.
was no use in throwing food for her into the sheep pens because the
sheep would mob the area. Thirty sheep charging the fences for bread is
not a pretty sight if you don't have enough for everyone.
couple of weeks after they were hatched she started showing up ant my
trailer in the morning. I feed all the chickens, ducks and peacocks at
around ten. It was odd to see those little chicks in the snow pecking
away for their share. They did seem to be thriving though so I decided
to let them be.
The mother also found that if she stuck around my place
she would get bread and scraps. One of the chicks, Skinny Mini, tended
to stick around close to my home over the last year and this year she
started laying under one of my tables near my recycled cans. She
wedged herself between the bags and laid one a day on my deck for quite
At that time we had a skunk who was killing ducks and chickens
at night. One night the skunk went after something on my deck and
Savanah, our Great pyrenese, scared it and it sprayed. That was enough
for Skinny Mini though and and she decided that spot was no longer okay
for her egg laying duties. I did miss seeing her though. I really had
enjoyed getting something back from one of the many birds I feed. I was
disappointed and missed seeing the eggs everyday. She still came to eat
in the mornings but had obviously been offended by the skunk's
About a month ago a young hen kept sitting in my plants at
night. She did this in different plants for about a week and I'd shoo
her out every morning. I didn't quite get why she was doing this but it
irritated me because my plants make me money and she was damaging them.
One morning I shooed her out and in my mint plant lay a beautifuyl brown
egg. I was quite excited and hopeful that she would settle into a
routine and stick to the mint plant. And sure enough she has. I have
now received a little over two dozen eggs! I don't really expect her to
lay through the winter but for now I'll just enjoy my fresh eggs and
continue feeding the birds.
It's quite a nice arrangment.