Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foiled Again

Well camouflaged....
I kept thinking we should have more eggs. Violet has been the only steady layer the last few months. But Mabel started laying a few weeks ago, and the two little Bantams and Pearl lay occasionally. The Australorps are not to point-of-lay, yet. Two to three eggs a day shouldn't be an unreasonable expectation.

Mabel: "What eggs?"
Violet has delivered a few to the front door recently. Yesterday I saw one sitting on the loveseat, newly deposited, and went out to say hi to Violet. I sat down on the wicker loveseat, and she hopped up and visited me for a few minutes. We had a brief conversation, she examined the rings on my fingers, then hopped down and headed around the side of the house. In order to get to the front door she had soldiered through the 6 to 8 inches of snow that remain on the ground. The coop would have been much closer for her than the loveseat on the front porch, but she felt compelled to bring her eggs to the door, apparently.

So I knew she was laying steadily. And I can usually tell Clover's eggs from Oreo's. They are both small Bantam eggs, but for some reason, Clover's have been bumpy ever since the chicken heist.

But there just weren't many eggs showing up in the coop. So I shouldn't have been so surprised to find a hidden stash of eggs this morning.

I noticed Mabel has been hanging out in a narrow space between the garage and a long aluminum ladder that is leaning on its side against the building. It doesn't really look like there's enough space for a hen there.

Today, I went out to take them some clean water, and saw Mabel poke her head out from between the rungs, watching me. I went over to see what she was up to, and happened to glance a little more closely at the dark ground space beside her. Last fall's leaves had gathered behind the ladder and against the wall, so they were camouflaged, but I caught a glimpse of an egg. And then another.

Mabel watched me for a moment then kind of sidled her way past me and over to the coop. There was an air of innocence in the way she looked around, as if she was pretending she knew nothing about that clutch of eggs. I went back inside to get a container and came out to see how many hidden eggs were there.

The one on top was warm. I looked pointedly at Mabel. The rest--16 in all--had been frozen, and were cracked and damaged from the cold. Some were clearly Bantam eggs. All were brown, so Pearl was cleared, since her eggs are white.

I tossed the 15 frozen eggs in the trash, and slipped the fresh one into the fridge, along with one that had been properly laid in the coop nesting box.

I'm not sure why they are finding places other than the nesting box to lay their eggs. I think I'll see if we can modify to coop nesting boxes to be more enclosed, since enclosure seems to be an enticement, and their nesting boxes in the coop are somewhat open.

But finding them tucked away behind the ladder has me wondering what creative place they'll find next. Stay tuned...

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