Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chicken Chronicles::Vol. 10 (A Broody Hen)

Alternative Title: An Eggventerous Day!

Yesterday started with the realization that I had not locked up the chicks the night before. I scanned the yard just to make sure everyone was there and I couldn't find our black hen (Jemimah Bean). Not one to separate herself from the group I went out looking. She was nowhere. Nowhere!! Long story short....I eventually found her in the front yard around the side of our house. All 4 back together! Phew!

Well that got me a little paranoid because I hadn't seen them up on the wall in a while, but obviously at least one had "flown the coop" and escaped. So I had my eye on the chickens throughout the day, more than normal. Well a few hours later I couldn't find our red hen (Hattie Rose), our egg layer.

....a word about the eggs.... Our chicks were born at the beginning of February. Most hens start laying between 4 and 6 months old. I knew at the earliest we could start getting eggs in June and at the latest August. However, Phoenix summers are extreme, to say the least, and many times hens will stop laying or wait to start laying until the weather is cooler. SOOO, our little red hen laid her first egg in her nesting box. We didn't get another one. About a week later we found one in the yard under a chair up against the wall. I knew it was possible for them to find a nicer place to lay eggs and so I wasn't surprised. We didn't get another egg. And it's been HOT, so I haven't been surprised about that either. I occasionally check some of their favorite hiding spots in the yard thinking that it was possible for them to lay eggs in those spots, but nope! Nothing!!! Not a single egg from anybody.

Okay, back to yesterday. So I couldn't find our red hen anywhere! The only place I hadn't checked was around the kids play area and their swing set. There is a little playhouse in the bottom of it and I suppose she could have been hanging out in there...but I had my doubts. Well low and behold there she was. In the playhouse, hunkered down in the corner and there were 5 eggs sticking out from underneath her breast. I. could. not. believe it!!! We started gathering the eggs from under her and I thought to myself, "She has been laying her eggs here all along!!! And then we pulled out a green one. Hattie Rose did not lay that egg! Sister Hazel did....our Easter Egger. Now I wasn't convinced that all of them were laying, but how could I know???  Little Hattie Rose looked like she was ready to spend the next 20 days just sitting there on her clutch and she made a little fuss about us getting her eggs. Poor thing was just trying to be a mama.

When all was said and done we collected 18 eggs from under her and another that was laid later that day. 2 of them were green. Who knows how long they had been out there? About half of them floated so I knew those were bad, but I know I have to throw them all out. I'm sick about it!!! They are still sitting on my counter! Our first dozen and a half and they are all garbage!!! I'm still in shock about the whole thing and our little broody hen is not happy we stole all the eggs. She keeps coming after us when we go outside as if to say, "GIVE ME BACK MY BABIES!" I threw some golf balls into the make-shift nest and thought maybe if she laid another the collection of golf balls would satisfy the need to sit.

Lesson learned. Chickens will indeed lay eggs in extreme heat and they could be anywhere!


Mary said...

That is sad, and funny! I can't wait for eggs!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had some eggs, salmon eggs that is.

Uncle Bubba

Anonymous said...

Oh, those chickens!!!!