I don’t usually get that excited about eggs anymore. But today we got the first egg ever from Danny our tiny black banty hen. It’s the smallest chicken egg I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t find a ruler, but it was smaller than a standard 35mm roll of film. And about a third of the size of the eggs that Penny lays.
It’s so cute! Even Agnes lays bigger eggs than that. Hopefully they’ll get a bit bigger as she gets into this egg thing. Maisie is looking like she might start to lay in the next week or so. Her hips are getting wider and when you touch her back she now “assumes the position”. Can’t wait to see what color they are…
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Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
– John Lennon
So Wednesday I left the hens loose in the yard when I left for work because it was kind of rainy and dreary and I figured the dogs would rather be inside. Then I worked until 12:30 am. Mike got home late and they had already gone in to roost. Apparently he did a quick headcount and thought everyone was there.
Yesterday morning I fed them and collected the eggs, but didn’t do a detailed head count since I was running late for work and operating on 4 hours sleep. Last night I didn’t even go to the coop because I got home from work at 7:45 and was asleep at 8:20 on the couch. This morning I let them out to discover there were only 5.
Not sure exactly when, or how, Danny went missing. But missing she is. She’s nowhere in the yard or the shed or the bushes. Not in the neighbors’ yards that I could see this morning. I knocked on a few doors to see if anyone had seen her and no one had. I called Animal Control and was told they’d had no reports of renegade chickens.
It’s been cold and rainy since Wednesday. And last night we had a pretty impressive windstorm. Since we know Jake didn’t chase her out of the yard I’m assuming at this point that a cat or a hawk got her. I can’t come up with any reason why she would have left the rest of the flock voluntarily. And with no sign of her in two days in anyone else’s yard I have to assume that she’s not trying to find her way home.
I’m not quite ready to declare her KIA, but she’s definitely MIA. Hopefully I’ll turn her up knocking on doors tonight after work or tomorrow morning. If not, I’m gone for 2 weeks and we’ll have to just hope that someone brings her back to Mike.
So if you’ve got a moment, send a little wish out into the ether that Danny the world’s smallest hen that looks like a crow finds her way home.
Update: Danny has been found but is currently eluding capture. Small banty hens are cute, but dammit you should remember to clip their wings. She’s currently 30 feet up in my neighbor’s tree… May have to call out the fire department for this…
Update #2: Turns out I should have just waited for Mike instead of wasting 45 minutes chasing her earlier. In a couple of swift moves he was able to sweep her up in the salmon net and deliver her safely back to me. Now that’s what husbands are for! Then we came inside and promptly clipped her wings before putting back in the coop. Maisie greeted her pint sized nest mate with a swift peck to the head and all is well again. Thanks to all for the well wishes!
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I think. I’m 99% sure that the little black chick is actually the smallest hen in the flock. Good thing I decided to keep her. Now I could still be wrong, but she’s now clucking and sqawking just like the rest of the girls with nary a practice crow to be heard. She’s officially the smallest hen I’ve ever owned and she looks nothing like Agnes even though they’re the same cross breed. She’s so tiny that she can stand on my hand or perch on my finger and she’s no heavier than Maisie was at 2 – 3 weeks. It’s almost like having a pet crow…
And the sound she makes, so funny! It sounds like her clucks are coming through one of those voice distorters – you know, the ones that make your voice sound all mechanical and slightly fuzzy? She sounds like that, all the time. And while I was concerned for a while that she would always be a matte black color, and therefore easily confused with a crow, she’s recently developed that beautiful green / purple sheen like Lucy has.
Chickens are funny in many ways. In the way they run, cluck, argue over treats, talk back and sleep. At night Lucy and the chicks perch on just above it on the roost bar so it’s “roof” is always covered in chicken poo. I’ve got a piece of leftover vinyl floor on it so it’s fairly easy to clean, but still gross.
So the other night, I thought I was really smart. Now that we’re down to one egg a day, and I’m guessing even that will be over by Halloween, I decided to move the nest box to the other side of the roost box. It means that I have to go in the coop to get the eggs, but hopefully would mean that they would stop pooping on it as no one sleeps on that side of the roost bar. Until now.
Now Penny, Maisie and Danny have all decided to go sleep on that side. And, you guessed it, continue to poop on my nest box. I always thought they roosted in the order they did due to pecking order, because that’s what I read. But apparently it’s because a few of them actually like to roost above the box. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to keep cleaning up after them.
Not much else to report. I think Lucy and Pru are starting to molt, but not enough feathers to be sure yet. Jake has learned that he can reach plates left on tables, so now we have to extra vigilent about putting dishes away right away. Oh wait, he’s not a chicken is he?
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