There are a number of things that can affect egg production in chickens; the weather, lack of water or feed, temperature changes and dogs just to name a few. The other evening I had just put the little boy to bed and sat down to give the little miss her bottle when my husband came in. “You should set her down and come out here. I think there is something going on with the chickens.” All I could envision was all the hens dead in the run. We had lost one earlier in the day. It looked like she got a little backed up in the egg laying department the day before and it didn’t end well unfortunately. So, I of course, leapt to the first illogical, but possible, scenario.
We made our way to the coop as he explained that the dog was chasing a chicken in the front yard, the gate to the chicken run was open and there were feathers every where.
Great! (not really)
There were a few girls outside the run that we shoed in and closed the gate. We did a head count. Everyone that made it to safety in the coop was perched on the roost. We were missing six (or so. I’m not sure we started with exactly thirty last fall.) The cows were bellaring in the barn. This was nothing to unusual, they see us outside and think they must have some corn or fresh hay to munch. This time they sounded a little different. Then the rooster crowed. He was in the barn with two more of the girls. Lucky for them the dog is scared of the fence and won’t follow them under. They were herded back with the others.
The search was on for the last three. Dead or live we needed to find them. I didn’t want them to be alive and stuck outside alone in the cold over the night. If they made it until morning there’s no guarantee they would survive much longer than that. I saw one across the yard in the raspberry patch. Then another perched in an evergreen close by. They were brought back to the coop.
Another walk about the yard and we found the last one. She didn’t make it.
Back in the coop we checked everyone over. A couple had a few minor scrapes that were given some blu-kote and one bird had a little more of an injury but she is doing well now too.
Needless to say the next day or so egg production was down by half. Can’t say that I blame them after that shake up.