Is Grumpy faking?
You only have to look at a couple of adverts for age-defying facecreams and hair dyes to conclude that humans do not enjoy the process of getting older. So much so that they try to pretend it isn’t happening. Well, it’s possible that chickens do the same thing.
Grumpy, one of my oldest hens at six years old, is a case in point. Grumpy is a Speckledy and, at her peak, laid a big brown egg almost every day. Nowadays her production has tailed off to one or two eggs a week, stopping completely during the winter. Nevertheless, she is very proud of her eggs and cackles and calls every time she comes out of the nestbox.
Recently, however, I noticed that when I went to look for her eggs there was nothing in the nestbox. She showed no signs of being egg-bound or distressed in any way, she just wasn’t laying eggs. Why, then, was she sitting in the nestbox for the usual amount of time and then coming out singing her head off?
I puzzled over this for several weeks before I came up with a surprising theory. What if Grumpy didn’t want to admit she was growing old? Her younger flock-mates are laying every day or so, but she is only producing one or two eggs a week. What if she is faking it? Deliberately pretending to lay more eggs than she actually is?
What if Grumpy didn’t want to admit she was growing old?