Saturday, April 05, 2008

spicy chickens

I can't imagine I'll have anything else of interest to blog about by the end of the day (cleaning house, paperwork, worked Shylah) so I'll just write now!

So Mom has these two "feed store" type egg layer hens. The only two generic birds in the flock of otherwise small and colorful chickens. Several months ago they stopped laying eggs. Well, not really. They actually just started eating their own eggs, so we were getting no eggs from them. This is not uncommon in chickens, and it's darn near impossible to break them of doing it. It was also possible that they had stopped laying over winter. Some do. But when they didn't re-start this spring, I was sure they were eating their eggs. Thing is, they don't leave any trace that an egg was ever there. You'd think there would be a shell, or some mess. But it was all gone. They were in with my Brassy Back flock, and when those birds "weren't laying yet" I had more reason to believe the big hens were eating eggs.

So I tried glass eggs, rocks, everything that is supposed to deter them and fool them into thinking eggs aren't good to eat. Didn't work. I moved them to a different pen thinking perhaps they needed a change of scenery. Didn't work, but on the bright side I suddenly started getting 2-3 eggs a day from the flock of Brassies.

I called a couple local friends to see if anyone had extra brown egg layers to sell me, and was told repeatedly that the sure-fire cure for egg-eating was to prepare a hot pepper egg and give that to the hens. Supposedly they can't stand hot pepper and after one bite they won't touch it, and will never eat another egg.

Well... I donned a pair of latex gloves (I don't do spicy!) and found a sacrificial bantam egg in the fridge. I doused it quite thoroughly in tabasco sauce, and then rolled it in cayenne powder. It was QUITE covered. Then just for good measure I poked a hole in it and dumped some tabasco inside too. I was afraid to even pick it up for fear it might spontaneously burst into flame.

Gleefully imagining these two hens clutching at their throats while smoke poured out of their ears and they ran for the water dish, I went outside and set the egg down in their pen and stood back to watch. They were on it in a flash. Each pecked it and stood up like "hmm, that's different" and then, I kid you not, in a matter of seconds devoured the ENTIRE EGG. Shell and all. Tabasco and cayenne and all. And they didn't look the least bit perturbed. In fact they looked pretty darn happy, like "thanks, we really like the new seasoning!" I was absolutely horrified.

Needless to say, I am considering these birds a lost cause, and will be taking them to auction tomorrow along with the 5 extra roosters that are out there in the aviary pen (which means, drum roll please, Eddie can finally move back outside!).

Stupid birds!


Anonymous said...

ROFLMAYO! You always tell the best stories! Yep, egg eaters can be hard to detour but don't you remember from class that they only have 24 taste buds. I bet with so few, only 1 of those buds fires off at the presence of "spicy." I would try stuffing a diced habanero pepper into one of your sacrificial eggs. My goodness what a pair they must be! BM

Anonymous said...

I had to smile when I read this, I have also had problems in the past with egg eaters and tried almost everything. I never went down the hot and spicy route because I always thought that given the manky stuff I've seen them pick up and eat from the compost heap, they can't have much in the way of taste, LOL! I even tried these beak bits that are supposed to stop them from being able to break the eggs and pluck feathers etc. and they don't work for more than a day or so, plus they make the birds look like they have really weird piercings on their beaks, lol! The only thing that works is to stand outside the nestbox and whip out the egg as soon as they lay it but that is only an option for people with no other life!

Katherine Plumer said...

I do remember the small number of taste buds and was always skeptical of the hot pepper theory (which is why I'd never tried it before) but after two old timers in one day swore up and down it would work, well what the heck.

Hmph. The offending "spice girls" were unloaded at auction at 6:52am this morning.

Anonymous said...

I tried the "hot and spicy" to break my cocker spaniel...jalapeno. cayenne, I put them all in a couple of eggs and waited around the corner...just like you....anticipating the firestorm! He proceeds to put them between his paws, lie down and consumed them with gusto. Juevos Rancheros!!!(May I have some more Please?)

Anonymous said...

As an egg eater, I am offended by this post and all others who would stop us from eating eggs! Peppers indeed! How would you like it if I snuck into your house and spiked your steak sauce with bleach?