One thing I discovered right away was that Mr. Rudy was intent on doing his rooster "duties" to his girls, even going so far as to chase after them while they were in the coop preparing to lay their eggs. I watched from a distance as he went into the coop, while the banty girls were scratching around and chased them out to do his "thing". If you have never seen this happen, well, let's just say the ways of nature can be rather raw and graphic! lol! The banty girls don't like his attention, and squawk like they are dying when he gets his chance. On more than one occasion I have come running outside to see if one of my chickens is being killed by something, only to find Mr. Rudy doing his "thing".
And as I further investigated and watched the banty girls early in the morning, I saw them running from Mr. Rudy and trying to find dark hiding places from him, and he followed them wherever they went.
With the egg-laying problem being a recent one, (and being that Mr. Rudy has just recently discovered his "manhood") it was becoming quite clear that this may be the clue I was missing with the lack of eggs being laid. Mr. Rudy has chased the girls around until they couldn't hide from him to do their job, which is laying eggs.
So, I began to think what I could do to remedy the problem.
I found a stapler, some material, and in just a minute or two, I was onto a problem solver!
I stapled material to their nesting boxes, and left an opening so the hens could see out if they wanted to. I also planted an egg in each nesting box, and marked an "x" on it with a sharpie so I would know which egg I had planted.
Not very fancy, but in my quest to get my egg production back up to par, it would hopefully work!
Then I went outside and called the banties to come in and check it out. But by this time, they were more interested in staying outside, so I just left them alone, and hoped that later they would come and find the dark hiding place.
Yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day with bright sunshine, brilliant blue skies, and fall colors abounding in the forest.
I absolutely adore fall weather! After our hot smoky summer where we couldn't even see the skies... oh what a joy it is every day to go outside, breathe deeply of the fresh cool air, and enjoy the colors of fall!
Sometime later in the afternoon, I ventured back out to the coop... and whoppee! Look what was waiting for me! Five eggs (minus the planted one)! Oh happy day!
So... in this case, creating a hiding place for the hens where Mr. Rudy cannot see them was the key to solving my missing egg case! I've talked to my husband about making some better nest boxes for when our other baby girls begin laying (which should be within the next few weeks), and that is a project we will be getting busy on soon. But for now, our banty girls have a hideout from the rooster, and I will have my eggs... a win-win for all of us... well except maybe for Mr. Rudy... lol!