getting eggs & play in a surprising way

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We’re getting eggs again. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it much to you, but we’ve been frustrated chicken keepers for well over a year. We just haven’t been getting any eggs! In thinking that our existing six were just old and done (they are 3 & 6 years old) we got six new chicks over the winter. Still once winter solstice hit and the days began to grow longer and other chicken keeping friends were starting to get eggs, we were starting to get even more frustrated.
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Then we’d occasionally start to see broken eggshells…ah ha, we had an egg eater! Turns out we had two. Notice I said ‘had’. Fueled by a marathon watching of this addictive show (particularly this scene) Scott culled the flock of our two Americanas last Friday while the kids and I were out. These birds not only were eating eggs but just causing overall unrest in the coop and laying nearly unedible eggs. They terrorized the new chicks and just overall added more drama than we needed to coop life. Within three hours of dispatching the two troublemakers we had our first egg. The next day we had four eggs, the next two and so on and so forth. The chicks are starting to lay and the older hens are laying every couple of days.
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Needless to say we’re very happy now. It was a tremendous relief to see all those eggs come in after killing those two. It’s not easy on Scott to harvest chickens, we don’t enjoy it. So to see that in doing so resulted in us having a productive amount eggs again was great relief.

In related news, our two boys had developed a really crazy energy about them. Constantly fighting, complaining about being bored, happy about nothing. I knew some of this was related to end of school emotions, but I wondered if there was anything I could do to change the dynamic. And no, I didn’t ‘harvest the boys’, but I did ‘harvest’ their toys. They share a room, it’s a pretty big room, but it was getting pretty chaotic in there.

They’ve never been much for playing with toys. I know some kids get deep in imaginative play with certain things, but my boys never much have. Apart from a few trucks or cars and legos, they spend the majority of their time outside with exploring with sticks or throwing balls or what have you. Despite that, the toy build up from birthdays and Christmas’ and party favors was getting out of control. Being an astute Montessori parent, I wondered if the chaos of their living space was bringing chaos to their lives.

So one day while they were at school, I brought in two big boxes and I boxed everything up. Really, apart from their Lego collection and a few other toys, their room is pretty bare. I left a small dresser that’s full of art supplies, one shelf of Legos, their foos ball table under the bunk beds, their clothes dresser and their bookcase. To me, it’s beautiful in there! I was curious to see how the boys would react when they got home and you wouldn’t believe this, but they played for a couple completely peaceful hours. No fighting, no complaining whatsoever!

My oldest was immediately drawn to his Legos again. In fact he actually imagined an entire skit in his head with them and has the goal of filming a movie this summer! (never has he done anything like that!) And my younger son, along with my daughter got out their paints and paper and spent the afternoon painting. Bliss! Bliss I tell you.

So there you have it, if you want eggs, get rid of some chickens. And if you want kids to play, take away their toys! Who would have thought?

Comments

  1. Jo says

    I have considered raising chickens myself, so I think the lesson you learned is a very good one. If I do raise chickens, I will not own Americans. Kids and chaos…what an excellent idea, packing up their toys. You are brilliant!

  2. says

    I think it’s really interesting about cleaning up for your boys! Then again, even us adults sometimes need to purge everything excess and feel better about it, so I suppose the same thing would apply to kids.

  3. Jennifer says

    I have learned so much from this site! I live rural on a court near town. We can now have chickens within the city limits. I’ve been chewing on this idea seriously! On the flip side, when I go to visit my grands, I am so overwhelmed at the amount of toys they have. Often I send your blogs to my daughter, this is going today. Wish us luck on fewer toys!

  4. says

    Brilliant :) Made me smile! Culling the toys while the kids are out is definitely the way to do it – when I try when the kids are around they rediscover EVERYTHING….

  5. says

    It’s interesting to read that you’ve had egg eating issues with your Americanas. We have 2 of them and I caught one of them “yolk-beaked” recently. We need to cull her, but it will be our first time harvesting a chicken and we’re a bit intimidated. You’re not the first person I’ve heard complain about Americanas. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the other one. Maybe she’s a culprit as well.

    Great advice about the toys too. I’ve been planning on cleaning out my two year old son’s toys for a while, but need to get to it. Good motivation!

  6. Angelique says

    I would like to keep chickens when I own a house one day. I enjoy your posts that advise me of what to expect. I am happy you realized to remove the bad chickens and your girls are producing eggs now. You have lots of patients. Congrats on the kids coming back to calm! :)

  7. says

    An incredibly interesting post. Thanks for sharing that you dispatched chickens and it improved the flock. I think there is a good lesson for many folks there. I have always said if I can’t cull chickens I shouldn’t have them. Flock coming soon!

    And the bit about the toys – lovely story!

  8. Liz Newton says

    I don’t think layers are good to eat, though. Making stock out of them would be your best option. And while I understand the viewpoint, I wonder if the couple could have been just a tad more humane–such as, why slaughter a hen in the full view of the others?

  9. says

    Reblogged this on Fulton & Louise and commented:
    by Fulton

    I have a small addiction to any blog about backyard farms and homesteading. I’ve been reading this one for years. Recently, I’ve been really interested in de-cluttering my life–including my wardrobe (blog to come). Whether you are interested in chickens or have kids, I just wanted to share that sometimes, having less really does make room for more.

  10. Elizabeth says

    My mom had egg-eating chickens too. She tried gleaning the eggs more frequently and placing golf balls in the coop for the chickens to peck. It helped quite a bit, though didn’t totally get rid of the cannibals.

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