The Pirate came home early on Thursday, announcing that he "didn't feel well." This freaks me out because the Pirate NEVER gets sick, and he just had food poisoning something like 3 weeks ago. Being sick twice in a month is absolutely unheard of, and I was worried. He slept all Friday, and we decided that I'd go to the TechShop party with the girls and he could stay home.
On Saturday, he announced that he was peeing blood. So, headed over the hill to the emergency room. I called alleahna and she came and picked up the girls and took them to hang out at her place. Seriously, I cannot overstate how grateful I am for this. There is nothing better on this earth than having a friend who can help in times of need, and her generosity meant that my mind was clear for taking on the medical establishment.
Three hours in the emergency room where I ran read to, patted, comforted and otherwise aided the ailing Pirate and he was discharged with prescriptions, etc. He's not going to die. *Whew!*
On Friday, we'd had another troubling issue - one of the eggs the chickens laid had been eaten by a chicken. I can't blame them, eggs are delicious. But still, cannibalism is frowned upon no matter what your species.
Saturday, the Pirate did the requisite test to determine the culprit. You take an egg and put it out in the yard. Normal hens will try to sit on the egg, using their beaks to move it under themselves. Cannibals will just peck at the shell, trying to break it to get to the liquid gold inside. Apparently, we have not one but THREE cannibals.
Looking at the pattern of eating, I came to the conclusion that with twelve hens now laying and only six nesting boxes (only three of which seem to be in use at any given time), the hens are feeling overcrowded and their egg-eating is a response to this stress. The fix is new nesting boxes, and more of them. The new nesting boxes are a little different design (I'll post about it in my chicken blog later) that will prevent the chickens from eating the eggs, but hopefully just having more boxes will also discourage the behavior.
We went to the lumber yard and got all the requisite materials for creating the new nesting boxes and started that process, and man, is it a process. My father says I have a big future as a chicken psychotherapist. I'll keep that in mind.
In the meanwhile, the laundry is piling up, we have no groceries and we're at the beginning of a new week. Things are not starting well AT ALL.