A distraught California farmer is searching for the culprit behind the disappearance of almost 300 specialty hens that lay unusual colored pastel eggs.
White and brown eggs may be perfectly good for most of the year but around Easter, it’s all about pastels, making the suspected theft even more problematic for the small family-owned operation.
Around March 8, Gerald Leuschen of Buddy’s Farm in Cotati, Calif.—a small town in Sonoma County—went to release his cooped chickens for the day when he noticed the fence was already unlocked and a few birds loitering outside, reports The Press Democrat. After finding no signs of a predator, Leuschen continued to tend to the chickens as usual.
It wasn’t until about a week later, that the farmer realized his brood of special multicolored hens he calls “Easter Eggers” was much smaller than usual and egg production was way down.
“At this point in the season, we should be hitting 30 dozen a day, and within another month, we should have been hitting 45-to-50 dozen a day,” Leuschen told The Press Democrat. “And right now we’re only hitting 21 — on a good day.”
Initially, Leuschen and his wife weren’t sure what had happened but after counting the flocks, the farmer realized that about 300 birds were missing—nearly half of his entire chicken population.
“We calculate the cost of each bird from chick to layer to be approximately $100. This includes the cost On top of that, we are losing approximately $120/day in revenue for the eggs they would be producing,” Buddy’s Farm Facebook page says. “This is a devastating blow to our family as it will take another complete season to get back to where we were.”
Leuschen says the culprit must be “someone who knows what they're doing and knows chickens” to have pulled off such a significant feat.
Buddy’s farm is now seeking any information behind the incident and offering a $250 reward for news resulting the birds’ return or capture of the thief.