Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, February 22, 2013

Strange Behavior in the Hen House.

You do remember how excited I was about the very small amount of snow we got here. That night Butte Mt. was looking like a picture perfect study in loveliness. Like Mother Nature dusted her with powered sugar.
And across the canyon, the hills were covered with a beautiful sifting of snow as the fog set into the river valley.
The night was so cold and we woke up the next morning to a frosted world of beauty that I recorded in my Wordless Wednesday post.
Annie, our cat who sleeps in the garage, has a new bed and seems to be quite happy on these cold nights. She complained a bit the next morning but I set "her" lawn chair out in the sun and she was a happy camper for the rest of the day.
But, the hens were a different story. I guess I should pay more attention to them when it's this cold. Maybe I should keep a light on in the hen house. I don't remember this being a problem during other exceptionally cold winter nights.
When I went to get the eggs, I found six of them. Usually they are in the big laying box and sometimes one or two are in the little row of boxes we built above the roost. But all the eggs (I'm not complaining mind you, just surprised.)that I found the morning after the snow were in odd places. One was in the middle of the floor in the hen house, two more were in a corner under the laying box and another one was... well... kind of strange looking.
As if one of the hens was so cold that she had to squeeze it out of her little frozen rear end and it formed a goose bump as it hit the cold air.
And look at the colors...
Another was not the normal brown or blue/green, but a muddy grayish color.
I'm no chicken expert and I know nothing about raising chickens in cold winter areas, but I do think that my hens reacted to the cold and it affected their eggs.
The production is fine.
Five or six a day is more than enough to eat and give to neighbors. I just wonder if the cold was almost too much for them. We always lock them in at night. We have had cold weather before but I never saw the eggs so scattered or with goosebumps.
Does anyone, who has chickens, know what might have happen? Can a hen get so cold that she doesn't want to find her favorite "spot" to lay her eggs? So she just drops one anywhere?... with a goose bump on the end of it?
They all seem fine today. It warmed up.
The Little Red Hen attacked me, as usual. She is going to be "dinner" if she doesn't stop this,
 "I want bread (cracked corn, scraps, etc...) and I want it NOW." attitude.
She's the first hen I have ever had that jumps up and demands whatever it is that you have in your hands.
AND... she's picking on Squeekie.
Fair warning Little Red Hen.


  1. I know nothing about raising chickens or if the cold weather can be the reason why the things you described happened. Quite an
    interesting post. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  2. Gorgeous photos as always. Hmm that is an odd egg indeed, and I will leave it at that ... lol

  3. ha...what an interesting chill bump on that egg...fresh eggs every day would not be a bad thing at all...

  4. I've never seen anything quite like that and I know nothing about chickens but my guess would be they don't like the cold!!! Poor little thing...must have got stuck in there. Ouch.

  5. I know for us and our chicken history, if it gets dark too early then they get disoriented but clearly they lay their eggs in the morning. Perhaps there's something troublesome in the nests like lice or maybe a rat was in a nest? I've seen eggs like this before but I don't know what causes it. I like the explanation of the goosebump!
    As far as the colour goes, ours have been like that because we have had Auracanas....lovely pictures of your frosty days...rain here as usual...keep warm Connie.

  6. We get well below 0 here and if I have any that are laying, they seem to lay just fine. The trick is getting to the eggs before they freeze! Luckily the majority of hens lay off that time of year because of the short days. Maybe California chickens just don't have enough fluff for 'long johns'??

  7. bring kitty in and turn on the heat light in the hen house...

  8. My friend lives in Montrose, CO. & has eggs all lovely colors. I haven't seen anything different about the eggs in winter, but I will ask her if they lay out of the boxes in the cold weather.
    We had snow in Phx this last week too.

  9. No clue on the chickens but lovely snow shot!

  10. We had a nipple on the egg end like this too. But I can't remember if it was in the cold snap...


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