Yesterday, I found the first egg of the year... or what I THOUGHT was the first egg of the year. Most chicken folk I know have been getting eggs for some time now, and so I wondered what was wrong with my hens. I checked them over for signs of egg-readiness (such as a bigger, brighter red comb and a big fluffy bottom) and it seemed to me that were three or four who ought to be laying, by the looks of them. But I found no eggs until yesterday, when I found one in the hayloft.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
So today, of course, I decided to go up to the loft and make a search to see if there were any eggs today. As I was poking around, a hen came fluttering out from between bales of hay and flew off with a squawk. Well, I know what that means. Sure enough, when I pulled one bale away from the other, I found a clutch of some twenty eggs. All were nice and toasty warm, which means she's been sitting on them. She's broody.
What now, dang it? Don't these stupid chickens have any idea of the season? Well, to give them credit where credit is due, it is true that we recently had a very hard freeze followed by a dramatic warm-up. In the chicken brain, I guess that equals spring. If I had any way of determining how far along the eggs are, such as a candling setup, I would scare the hen away and then check out the eggs one by one to see if they are still edible or irredeemably fertilized. But then, I'd have to throw away the developing ones, and I just hate to do that.
Oh heck. I'll go out there tomorrow morning and see what's up. Most likely, my disturbance of the nest site has scared away the hen for good and If the eggs are cold in the A.M. then I'll gather them and take my chances.
But if there's a hen sitting on them, or if they are toasty warm, then I'll let them be.