Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hide and Seek

"Who Me?"


Oro (Ameraucana hen, lays green eggs)

"What are you talking about?" "I was just walking in the woods."

Two weeks ago, I found several hens walking around in the other part of the barn. This was unusual in that there isn't any easy way to get over there. Well, that is what I thought. As I watched the hens, they both walked behind a barrel and disappeared. I walked around to where they went, and there they both were, sitting on a perfect little nest, which contained seven eggs! I carefully picked the eggs up and discovered that two of the eggs were still warm, so I knew those two were just laid. I kept those, the rest went into the compost pile. I went through the entire barn and found about ten places where a hen could easily get in and sealed them up.

The eggs stopped appearing in that secret nest.

This morning, I let the chickens out into their enclosure and they were happily sifting through the scratch I had tossed out. Oro, one of the Ameraucanas, (who was also one of the culprits in the case of the secret nest), walked up to the fence, looked around and flew off into the yard. I just stood there watching her as she looked like she was on a mission. She walked into the woods, and went behind a tree, and sat down. I gave her a minute and then walked over and as I crouched down next to her she just sat there looking at me. I think her little cheeks were getting red with embarrassment. I picked her up and there was a pile of fourteen eggs! Mostly green ones! (Oro is an Easter Egger). One of them was nice and clean and very warm, so I knew that one was good. The other ones, well, they could be two weeks old, so I decided to dispose of them into the compost.

I have read that if hens start laying outside, or in secret places that they need to be "cooped up" for at least a week. Since it looks messy and rainy for the next few days, I think I will put the chickens on coop duty for three days. I may kick the two roosters out during the day and allow the hens some freedom.

I'll let you know how that goes and how egg production is affected.


Natural Setting


Stinkers! They are just protecting their babies



36 comments:

Pine Pod Farm said...

Hope it works out!

Donica said...

WOW! Just like having children to watch over....well, maybe teenagers :) Good Luck!!

Country Girl said...

When our chickens were free ranging they were continuously changing their laying spots. Sneaky, smarter then we think protecting their babies.

Don said...

pine pod: thanks, have you ever had hens do this?

Don said...

donica: I remember hiding my Halloween candy, maybe it's kinda like that.

Don said...

country girl: it sounds like yours lost their privilege of free ranging. I think mine will keep their free ranging, but with a few changes.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

My my! Well aren't they clever and sneaky and never to be trusted again! I haven't had this problem with my girls *knock on wood* yet. I kee checking under their favorite tree and under the shelter box for the ducks to see if any eggs can be found, but no. They are all faithfully using the nest boxes provided for them much to my relief! Good luck with brainwashing them!

jennifer's farmily said...

Chickens are so funny about their laying habits! Ours don't seem to like when I put pine shavings in their nest. They like it better when there's straw in there. They tend to lay eggs on the floor more when there's pine shavings. Who knows why!

14 eggs is A LOT. Those sneaky little devils. She must've been laying there every day!

warren said...

Don - That's a great pic of the chicken. It looks more hawk-like than chicken-like to me. Excellent!

Anyhow, I'd say the Easter bunny is likely needing to stock up as overseas Easter egg suppliers are feeling the effects of the credit crisis. Your local birds are "bring the industry back home" I guess

Carole@Fowl Visions said...

That is a lot of eggs! Now that we have another coop for the newer flock, the older hens are going over to their nest boxes to lay eggs but they still roost in their own coop. I wonder what the reasoning is but only the chickens know!

Sharon said...

I don't know Don, picturing you out there hunting for eggs every day is kind of amusing. :)

Janine said...

I too have some stinkers in my flock...that's probably how we ended up with 13 baby barred rocks in September! LOL I think I am going to be investing in more wire, some netting and whatnot, and I am going to get my chickens all cooped up so my egg production goes up!

Kelly or Alex said...

Im sure we will have some chicks sometime just that same way. So far I haven't found any nests. The other night our roo was out in the dark barn. I walked by and heard this strange sound. He was hiding in the cabinet.Kids!
Kelly

Mandie said...

That is just too funny, those little stinkers. Our 4 chickens just LOVE it when we let them out but I can see where they could get into mischief.

Don said...

amy: I have been locking the hens up in the coop and will probably do it for the rest of the week. maybe this will get the sneaky ones into a new habit!

I

Don said...

jennifer: Chickens are funny creatures aren't they? I have one who is laying on the middle of the floor. You'd think she would have more modesty.

Don said...

warren: Oro does look a little like the national emlem.

I like your idea of the easter bunny, except the feral cats keep that populationin check! (no wonder I haven't gotten a basket in a while??)

Don said...

carole: the grass is always greener... Maybe your hens are showing the newbies the ropes

Don said...

sharon: you don't know how lazy I am!

Don said...

janine: I have read that some folks who want to still let their hens get out and free range, don't let them out until the afternoon. THat is what I have been doing this week.

Don said...

kelly: what a funny rooster! Is he the gamma roo and the other ones are beating him up so he needs to hide?

Don said...

mandie: they can be stinkers! Make sure you don't let them watch "Chicken Run!"

Will said...

As my 4th grade teacher, I never saw this side of you. This is a cool thing you got going and I hope it works out great!

Don said...

Hey Will! I have lots of secrets!

I have tried to keep them "cooped up" but they are crabby, so I am going to let them out again and just go on an egg hunt everyday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, very funny about, well about everything, you spying on them and them hiding the eggs in different places.

Ginnie said...

This farm life is just hysterical to me, Don. I can imagine something new happening every day. Nothing dull in YOUR life, I see. :)

Don said...

bob: I need to get some hobbies, I must have too much time on my hands if I'm spying on chickens!!

Don said...

ginnie: "green acres is the place to be, farm livin is the life for me"
plus I have my own personal "lisa"

Robinson said...

Its a pretty normal occurence around here. You just have to keep tabs on the number of eggs you are getting. If it drops you know someone found a new spot. My chickens will keep their free ranging priviledges so we can keep our free ranged egg priviledges. They are so much better for you - lower cholesterol, higher omegas.

Don said...

robinson: I agree. I am not sure how many eggs I am getting each day. It varies from 4 to 12. WIth 27 hens now at the laying age, I should be getting more, so I will have to do some espionage/spying to see where they are going. I have found two sites so far, but there are lots of places!

I don't think I'll give up the free range chickens either.

Denise said...

Oh my goodness, what a cool blog! I found you by accident. I'm really loving your chicken stories. ...I'm actually fascinated... I've added you to my blogroll. Thank you for the enjoyable read!

freefalling said...

YEAH! I'm with Warren.
I thought Oro was an eagle at first glance, and I thought this post was going to be about chooks eaten by birds of prey!

Don said...

denise: thanks for stopping by and commmenting! Chickens are such characters. I wonder how your pointer would do with them? Yikes!!

Don said...

freefalling: Ruth chased a big hawk away from one of the chickens today! Way to go Ruth!

Gwen Buchanan said...

What a smart little chicken...

Don said...

Gwen: Yes, she is a little smartie. She is one of three who have figured out that they can hop over the electric mesh and go foraging to their heart's desire!