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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Chickens are On Strike

"Put eggs on the grocery list," Kim says this morning while I'm pouring myself my first cup of coffee. The list is written on a piece of scrap paper that sits on a wooden stand right next to my beloved Bunn O Matic.

"I don't think buying eggs is necessary, we have chickens for that," I say, while trying to come up with a quick chicken defense.

"Have you looked in the refrigerator lately? I think the chickens are on strike."
It is true, lately the consistency of egg laying has been a little... well... inconsistent. I relate it to the stress caused after a neighborhood dog attacked our flock last November, killing Brownie, my favorite Rhode Island Red and severely de-feathering Sunflower the Americana. Between that and the last month of below freezing temperatures I'm ready to pack up this entire herd and head down to Key West, where the sun is always shining and humans, chickens, and other animals seem to naturally co-exist.

"You know it's been a stressful winter on all of us, not just the ladies," I say. I've always called our chickens the ladies because they feel like they're part of us, especially when they fly up to the kitchen window and peer inside, looking as if they are wondering, "What's cooking in there?" Don't worry, it's not chicken.

"I think we just need to give them a little more time."

"Time to what? The whole reason we have chickens is to have fresh eggs, they're not keeping up with their end of the bargain," Kim says. "Why do you have to take it so personally anyway? This is only the second or third dozen eggs we've had to buy in like three years." She was right. Until recently, we always had an abundance of eggs.

Several years ago, when I was trying to convince Kim how great it would be to have pet chickens, part of my seductive sales pitch was, 'Just consider how much money we spend every week on organic, free range eggs... and the cost is just going to increase.' I sounded like a 1950's door to door saleswoman, but I was ready to be a farmer and I knew had to raise the persuasive bar.

"For some reason buying eggs makes me feel like I am cheating the ladies in some weird sort of way. It's crazy, I know."

"Crazy indeed," Kim adds.

So today I bought a dozen organic, free range eggs at Kroger for $3.79. I didn't tell the ladies, I merely snuck the eggs into the house while they weren't looking. Afterwards I went into the coop and made their nesting boxes more attractive with fresh shavings and several ceramic eggs to get them in the mood. For now I'm just going to keep reading
and hope to see a blue egg in the nest tomorrow morning.

If you have any good ideas I would love to hear them!
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