There were bad vibes, accusations of disloyalty, a little bit of name calling (Slackers!), and even some occasional talk of summary executions. But, before you wipe me completely out of your cyberspace, hear me out.
Just before it got cold this winter - I mean the first stretch that was real, single digit and not all of them positive cold - the eggs pretty much dried up and almost the whole flock went into a molt. The timing was exquisite and couldn't have been worse. Feathers were everywhere, eggs were nowhere, for more than a month they rarely left the coop and on the coldest days we left it closed up. It was a pitiful sight to see.
Everyone gets a pass on egg laying during a molt. They pretty much get a pass when its really cold or miserably hot. For the molt we stocked up on "Feather Fixer" and let it run its course. And, as you all knew would come, first there were pin feathers then there were full feathers then there were warmer temps and chickens out happily scratching in the run. And still no eggs.
That's when it started. For a week we talked about how we would replace the lot of them. The following week we got more irked everytime we went to the laying boxes. We were getting one or two eggs every other day, and were not pleased. Being chickens and all, they were all pretty much oblivious to our frustration with their shoddy performance, which which did nothing to enhance their position. They had just about sealed their grizzly (but nonetheless tasty) fate when, on a lark, De checked the little 'nursery' annex we added to the coop.
Oops... Sorry, girls... Nevermind all that talk about you getting up close and personal in the crock pot with sweet onions and baby carrots...