Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Campines and their laying habits

You have heard me railing about the dearth of eggs lately.  There are a lot of reasons - it's hot, a critter was stealing them and eating them, and they lay them wherever they want.  I found 13 of them in a flower bed.  They spend a lot of time in two little copses south of the house, and if I were willing to tramp through the underbrush, I'm pretty sure I would find some in both of them.  However, the thing that blows me away is that sometimes I find them on the ground - a single egg under the bird feeder, an egg in the grass ten feet from the door to the Moop, an egg in the lawn between the house and the Moop.  What is this?  I've never heard of such a thing.

I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, wrong material in their nests, Moop not clean enough, letting them out too early or too late.

Here is what another farmer has to say about her Campines.  

"Our [Campines]: one hen free ranges even to lay eggs -- never in a standard nesting area. Our cock refused to be confined when we tried to initate a breeding program. Some have been "friendly" enough to eat out of a hand or be a garden companion. Our favorites among the white egg layers."

So you notice that this other "crazy" person says that these are her favorites, don't you?  They really do get under one's skin, and firmly in one's heart.  Otherwise they would be firmly in one's frying pan!


  1. I think i have to concur it is the breed and not the egg farmer. I was gonna comment here (still will) about the laying habits I've noticed with my chickens but after reading all of your posts about the strange places you find eggs, I think the best guess is the breed.

    With my chickens (mostly Chanteclers) I've noticed they'll always go for the most secluded and private place to lay if they have a choice. Dark areas, tucked-away in a corner, behind or beneath objects, they seem to love those spots.

    Our chicken coop has a small "room" at one end. The folks who built the house thought they'd add a bathroom to the barn/garage building so they could live there while building the house (Someone wise obviously got ahold of them though before they got too-far-along with that project and pointed out how expensive bathrooms are and how silly it would be to almost literally flush money down a barn toilet). They only got the room framed and floored before they abandoned the project. So, we inherited this odd room in the open-sided, dirt-floored southwest side of the barn (a covered area for firewood storage, butchering game and parking mowers and such). The dirt floored area I enclosed with polycarbonate panels to winterize and the incomplete bathroom I was saving to maybe use as a lambing "jug" if we decided to get one of our ewes pregnant.

    Longer story short, we ended-up recently with a 3 month old lamb that stayed for a week. He had numerous problems so was still in need of a jug and daily bottle-feeding etc. I made-up that strange room for him. Covered the wood floor with plenty of straw etc. After he left I re-opened the door from that room to the inside of the coop and almost immediately ALL of our layers took to using that room to lay in instead of the various nesting boxes I have for them in the coop that they've used for over a year now. On the floor in two of the four corners down in the straw bedding they began little nests and filling them right away. In a 3rd corner I had an apple picking basket on the floor filled with hay for the little lamb. They now jump into that basket and lay down in the hay in the bottom of it.

    This room has no windows except the half-glass door which now stays open to the coop anyways. So, it is dark and secluded in there. They are loving it as their new place to lay and all of my meticulously constructed nesting boxes remain empty day after day.

    Whenever our layers choose to lay somewhere else it is almost always someplace darker and tucked-away. Sometimes I think that is what I see amongst yours too but then you have these stories of eggs just laying in the middle of a lawn or open grassy area!

    All I will say is it is indeed a good thing you are so found of the Campines!

    Maybe they are hard-core ground layers?

    For some reason I want to keep working this puzzle they present us.


    PS: My new batch of chicks this year are Dorkings. Pretty birds but slow growers it seems and--they have an extra toe on each foot that makes them look "dorky" and I now have to research whether that is the origins of the word "dork".

  2. Well, you are right, these Campines don't have to have it dark. The box of handles one of them chose to use was right out in the open. I must have walked by it a dozen times before I noticed that it had five eggs in the bottom. And it was a bare cardboard box, nothing to soften the sit. Who would sit on a plastic handle to lay an egg? Silly question - a Campine!!