Sunday I found a teeny-tiny egg in one of the nesting boxes. Although I thought it could have just be a "fluke" laid by one of the older hens, maybe an egg without a yolk which isn't that uncommon, I'm pretty certain that it's a pullet egg. Because the next day there was another tiny egg in the same nest box. The new girls (and guys) were hatched four & a half months ago so I guess it's about time to start keeping an eye out for eggs.....or egg hiding places.
The main reason that I first thought it might just be a tiny egg from the older hens is that it was in the nesting boxes where the older hens roost. The newer hens still refuse to go in with the older gals so they are roosting in the small kidding pen. If I were to find a pullet egg, I would have expected it to be in there where they roost. I've tried hand-delivering the younger birds to the other side, but it gets really, really old doing that night after night. And at one point I locked up the barn so the younger hens couldn't even get into the smaller kidding pen, but they just sat in front of the barn door, on the ground. I could have left them there overnight, but I'd just as well have put a sign that said "KFC Buffet Open Tonight" as they would have been eaten by the local nocturnal wildlife.
I usually don't have this much difficulty in getting the younger hens into the main roosting area; I just close off the place they normally hang out and make sure the light is on in the main area. Then they just "go into the light". Not sure why this batch isn't getting it.
I've also got an excess of roosters. There's Blackie (I just now came up with that original name), the rooster that was attacked by the no-longer-here dog. He's a nice rooster and although he's still a little gimpy and on the lower end of the pecking order, he's still getting it on with the hens so he can stay. Then there are two Barred Rock mix roosters, one with a limp (not my fault, I swear!) and the other is a nice big'un. Then there's Mr. Flashy (again, just came up with that name). And I know that there are probably another six immature roosters running around the place. There's a young black rooster with a rose comb that has just started chasing after the hens as well as another two Barred Rock mixes and a really fugly looking one.
So. Who to keep? Who to eat? I'm sick of shoveling out chicken feed like it's going out of style so at least half of the roosters have to go. I'm thinking the limpy Barred Rock, and all the younger roosters except the black rose-combed one.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to try Susan's Chicken Taco Soup and Mama Pea's Chicken 'n Dumplings, so I've got at least two on death row.