Ok, this post is not so much about my veg patch as it is about my chickens. But I figured many Weekly Veg Out readers might also keep chickens, so decided that it was a good topic to include.
Over the past couple of weeks my three hens seemed to have stopped laying altogether and I’ve been a bit confused. At first I thought it might be because of the warmer weather, then I thought they might be laying their eggs in a hiding place and then I thought I must have a rat infestation. Dealing with a rat infestation in the chicken coop is never fun; if you don’t poison them (which I don’t want to do) then it’s a bit of a battle to get rid of them and my heart sank when I suspected some new rats had moved in. But then I found some broken egg shells at the bottom of the garden and in the field next door. They were definitely chickens’ egg shells. I mentioned this to a friend who suggested crows were the culprits.
I’ve never been a big fan of crows. They’re creepy. As a child they always reminded me of the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz (arguably the next most terrifying characters to be seen in a children’s film after the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and as an adult they’ve always woken me with their incessant crowing (sorry) first thing in the morning on camping trips. But even so, I couldn’t believe that crows would actually have the audacity to hop into the hen house. But I decided to put up some defences just in case. I built my first ever scarecrow (which disconcertingly looks a little like me at a quick glance because I dressed it in some of my old clothes) and hung loads of old CDs around the chicken coop designed to flap about and reflect light to confuse the crows. The next morning? Three lovely eggs in my hen house. Hoorah!! Let’s hope they don’t wise up too quickly to the fact that the scarecrow is not a real human. I’ll move it around every few days just in case!