"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chicken Surprise!

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.

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.


Olive said...

Que sera sera

AnyEdge said...

Birds rock.

Garden Lily said...

Forgive me, I'm just a city girl, but would there be much danger of just letting them hatch? Wouldn't the chicks be able to keep warm enough in the barn?

Gavin said...

Chooks are so cool and crafty! I hope you get some chicks and eggs to eat Aimee!

Gav x

AnyEdge said...


Chooks! You must be antipodean.

Aimee said...

Lily - even in the best of times, my chicks have a poor survival rate (they are free range and the hawks get them, I think). At this time of year I hate to imagine how many might die. Depending on how many hatch, I can use my rabbit hutch to protect them until they are feathered out.

Thanks Gavin! (and bro, yup, Gavin is an Aussie)