Picked a few apples from our trees for the chickens today! Most of the apples are gone from the branches and I assumed there would be tons on the ground for me to pick up, but there were none because the deer have been eating them all… lots of poop and a few bitten in half apples leftover! So I had to shake the trees to drop my own apples to pick up and then I left a few for the deer to have some more easy ones too! No wonder Cora always wants to go up to the field… she can smell the deer. It must be a favourite spot of theirs too because there was a deer trail leading right up to the apple trees and under them.
In other chicken news… the chickens are going through their fall molt so that combined with the darker, shorter days and cooler temperatures have decreased my egg yield by almost half. Going from almost 40 eggs a day to around 20 is a big change! I go out to collect and I feel strange, like I am missing some nest boxes to collect from although it isn’t an entirely unwelcome change. It’s a lot easier to clean and package the eggs and I have a lot more room in the fridge too!
I also have a few smaller chickens who are getting especially picked on. They are missing a lot of feathers, along their backs and legs and even wings. They seem content otherwise, they are fast and they get plenty of food and nest box space but they just get picked on more than the others. I tried jackets on two of them but they prompty ripped them off and wanted nothing to do with them so I need to find another solution to the problem. Beak trimming would work but besides that I am inexperienced and don’t want to injure any of them, I also don’t think going out in the dark with a flash light to trim 50-60 beaks sounds like a very fun night either so I haven’t done that. I’m debating covering them with Blue Kote, which I did buy, and then maybe some anti-pick spray as well to make them look as unappetizing as possible! With the molt a few of them are growing beautiful new feathers in and I am just hoping no one yanks them out right away!