Steve And John’s Employee Review

Winter seems to have finally arrived. I can’t say I’m happy about it, but it’s also not like I can do anything about it. I guess I’ll just sit here and put up with it like I did last year, but hopefully with less to put up with. The winter solstice came and went, and so the days have begun to get slightly longer. That’s always a cruel trick, if you ask me. The days are longer, but still can be terribly cold. I would like them to get warmer as they lengthen, but I suppose that would mean it would have to get colder sooner too, so let’s leave the current system in place. Even during the week of the solstice I got an egg or two, so the long darkness couldn’t hold the ladies down. And then the eggs just stopped coming around the 6th. I figured maybe the cold blast had something to do with it, but it warmed up, and nothing happened. Then I noticed that there were suddenly more feathers in the coop, and that Steve (or John’s) neck was looking awful sparse. It turns out the two chickens I got because Wyandottes were good winter layers have gone and molted in the middle of winter. Nice going, guys.

He did it.

Now she did it.

Suzy Creamcheese Junior only just came out of her molt. She got it really bad this year, but it was her first time, so maybe just a rookie mistake. That took her out of the egg laying arena for a while, though. Someone was holding up their end of things, since I’d find one just about every other day, or every two days. For winter, with a few aging birds, that didn’t seem so bad. But to suddenly just have none for such a long stretch seemed surprising, until I saw the feather explosion that was distinctly Steve and John-colored. The fact that this happened right when it got cold put me in a position I think I’ve found myself in every winter since starting with chickens. If they have bald patches of skin, they shouldn’t be out in the cold, right? But a chicken that is molting is much more sensitive to touch, so picking them up to bring them inside will be painful, right? So which is worse? Since they are in the coop with 4 other chickens, I vote to leave them outside. They do snuggle in with the rest to stay warm, so that’s good, but I worry. I worry about everything though. It’s kind of my resting state. There’s a long cold spell in the forecast, and more feathers seem to fall off every day. How long will I be able to resist bringing them inside? This ignores the question of how hard would they be to catch, which I think is a question best not put to the test.

Those suckers are fast.

Those suckers are fast.

Anyway, I would like to take this moment to address Steve and John directly. Look, you two, I know you’re new at this, but you’ve got colleagues who molted at a perfectly good time in terms of cold. They had their feathers back before it got really bad, and so are more comfortable than you right now. Yes, I know you can’t control it, but I just wanted to throw this out there. This is not a great system. I’ve got two chickens I’m concerned are going to get frostbite, and that aren’t producing any winter eggs, which was the exact reason I got them. I’m sitting here eggless, like an idiot, and worrying about you two the whole time. Do you know how much I have to do? Grow those feathers back this instant, and get eggin’. Given that this is your first evaluation, I can let some things slide, but next year, please get it together, o.k.?

Great. Now just sign this form that says we had this discussion, and I’ll forward it to H.R.

This is my "lecturing a chicken" face.

This is my “lecturing a chicken” face.


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Maple Leaf Rag by The US Marine Band)

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