After several weeks of pretending that we didn’t have any egg-laying capacity and it would therefore be pointless to check the chicken ark for eggs, I finally succumbed to temptation today. And was amazed to find ten eggs! “Yay!” I thought, and happily loaded them up to take them into the kitchen. It was lunch time, which is when I usually think of getting the eggs, and we already had some of our home reared bacon under the grill. I was excited to have the eggs, but given the time since I last checked I didn’t want to eat any which were off. Fortunately there is an easy way to tell, which is succinctly (bar the adverts) described here: http://www.wikihow.com/Tell-if-an-Egg-is-Bad .
Well the three I tried all lay on their side in the water, so were clearly very fresh. I didn’t test any more as once they’ve been submerged in water they really should be eaten. I’ll check the others, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be eating super fresh home eggs regularly again!
The other thing I noticed when I discovered the eggs was that the rest of the chickens’ sleeping area really needed to be cleared out:
That’s a lot of poo! It’s Alex’s job to clear out the chickens so I flagged the requirement to her and she duly headed out to perform her duties. While she was doing that she spotted some red mite. I tried to take some photos but sadly failed, perhaps because I was relying on my iphone, next time (and sadly there will be a next time), I’ll try and get a proper shot of them. Red mite is a bad thing. The nasty little creatures suck the blood of the chickens, causing them some discomfort, and can potentially kill them. We didn’t have any red mite powder, but we cleaned out the area with Jeyes fluid as a start. We also put a drop of spot on (which is what we use to protect the cows and sheep from mites and lice) onto each of the chickens to protect them and hopefully kill any of the critters which try and attack them. The chickens didn’t like being rounded up and the cockerel particularly wasn’t happy and led us a merry chase, but we did eventually catch him and administer the dose.
Once we’d done that it was time for putting in the new shavings, and presto, a nice clean and (hopefully) mite-free home for the chickens:
The chicken poo and old shavings went as a nutritious mulch around some of our fruit trees in the Orchard with the Borerays.