I was very bummed and grieved the loss for about a day. I was looking forward to the experience of having chickies running about. I guess, now I'll have to go buy my chicks, lol! We need to anyways, considering our barred rocks are getting older and laying fewer eggs. I think I will craigslist them for stewers. Or somebody can have them as pets. Whatever. I just know they are not pulling their weight around here anymore.
We also experienced what happens when your chicken coop gets too full. You get unhappy ladies and fewer eggs! Inadvertently, we were adopted by our neighbors chickens; they decided they like us better and now coop and eat and lay with us. To assuage the situation (until we can build a bigger coop), we have moved the nesting boxes to the barn, where they can lay their eggs in a cleaner environment. The current coop was only meant to hold up to seven chickens and we have a dozen now, give or take one (the neighbors chickens just do their own thing so often).
Because of the crampy, crowded coop, I think we had a bout of poultry lice. Although not something contagious to humans, it is something that will affect their laying. So I dusted the coop and chickens with diamotaceous earth (if I'm spelling that correctly) one weekend and then followed up for two more weekends. Not hard to do, but I have noticed that they are laying more in the last few days, more consistently. So hopefully, fingers crossed, that took care of that.
On a positive note, we are selling our eggs more regularly at Scott's work. He sells 2-3 dozen a week and that helps with feed cost.