Unidentified Flying Objects – of the Chicken Variety

Anything unidentified and flying has the possibility to incite curiosity, concern, confusion, fear, and, yes, even trauma. Add chickens to the equation and, well… yeah. You’ll see.

Rewind to this morning: we wake up, drink coffee, chill with the chickens for a bit, then drive out to Anderson Orchard to pick a peck of apples (we really did pick a peck). I was blissfully unaware of what I would face upon returning home.

20120825. Quiet morning.

20120825. Quiet morning with the chickens.

The girls seemed quite peaceful this morning, didn’t they?

We get home and unload our TWO pecks of apples (24 pounds total – apple sauce, IMMA EATCHOO). I head out to the backyard to check on the chickens, as per my norm.

20120825. We picked a peck.

What a peck looks like.

The chickens are nowhere to be found. That’s weird. Then I hear a clucking from the coop. That’s even weirder. All five girls are loaded into the coop, even though it’s noon on what may turn out to be a scorcher of a day. An August-in-its-death-throes kind of day.

Then I notice BLOOD on Yoshi/Dino Puppy/that gray one’s beak. I scoop her up, but there are no obvious signs of physical damage beyond the already dried blood on the bridge of her beak. However, the chicken trauma meter is obviously dialed up to 11. Yoshi and Boo are both panting, and Little Red is the only one who will leave the coop when coaxed with snacks.

20120825. Little Red likes shoulder perching.

Some chickens are lap chickens. Little Red is a shoulder chicken.

Chickens denying snacks? Something must be wrong. THEN, as Yoshi/Dino Puppy is heading back up the ramp to the safety of the coop, a giant GUSHING MESS comes out of her backside! Not poop, oh no. Near as we can tell, it is a shell-less egg, looking exactly like an egg white. I have the joy of actually seeing it, and as I later lament about the overall WTF-iness of it all, Chris says, kind of quietly, “I didn’t see it… but I HEARD it.”

See? I told you. Trauma all around. UFO OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

So here’s what we think might have happened: THE BLOOD. Maybe a predator of some sort nicked Yoshi and left the other girls totally freaked out. Or maybe she got into it with one of the other girls, went to hide out in the coop, and the other girls followed her (they are quite bonded together as a flock now).

THE UFO: Upon further research into the UFO, shell-less eggs are often precursors to the real deal when a pullet is first starting to lay eggs. Perhaps the stress of whatever happened caused her to expel that particular bun in the oven prematurely? Or perhaps the UFO is completely unrelated to the bloody beak.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: All’s well that ends well, we hope. The girls now appear totally fine, and, of greatest excitement to us, we may actually see our first (fully shelled) egg any day now!

6 thoughts on “Unidentified Flying Objects – of the Chicken Variety

    • They seem to like it, although we really have very little cover for them from airborne “visitors.” The covered wagon was an attempt to help with that, but as soon as this landscaping ban gets lifted (IF it ever does), we’re also going to start putting in some perennial grasses, wildflowers, and bushes, too.

    • That’s what I was thinking – a hawk. It’s really the only predator that they might face during the middle of the day, and the way they were acting was very much like they had just had a run-in with a hawk. Since we have yet to get our first egg, though, I’m really hoping that the UFO is a sign that more will be on their way shortly! The two oldest girls are definitely the right age.

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