Speaking of chickens, though, I had been noticing an abrupt drop in egg laying for about the past week, and thought that was strange. I know I have a couple of potential egg-eating hens, because sometimes I find one in the nest boxes that has been eaten, as evidenced by the remainder of the shell and a gooey spot on the bedding. Usually though, there is only one eaten egg...sometimes two. So, I wasn't sure where the eggs were going when this sudden decrease occurred. I did go on a walkabout to the areas where I see the hens congregate around the yard. I peered under the wood pile and under the porch. Hens like to lay in quiet, dark areas. I kept checking the old dog house which I wrote about previously, but all my efforts were fruitless (eggless?) Here are a few of my flock - Egwene in red, either Flora or Flounce on the left (two matching black hens and I never know who is who!), Mimi the cuckoo maran, and a hen from last year's hatch in the front who hasn't got an official name.
Today, I noticed a robin fly by the barn door when I let the sheep and goats outside. I went to take a peek to see if she was going to a nest. My Dad made these great steps for the barn - one set for outside and another set for inside - so that the animals (and I) can easily get in and out. This was necessary because the floor of the barn is not at the same level as the door.
Here are the steps inside the barn...
I went up the steps and tried to see where the robin had gone, but I couldn't see it, so I turned to come back inside. As I went up the steps, my eyes caught a flash of white through the opening between the steps and the edge of the barn - see that little gap on the left side of the inside steps?
Would you like a closer look at that gap?
Ah yes, I know that you now see what I saw! I came inside and peered around the bottom edge of the step, finding a little space that was just the right size for a hen on a mission. Don't let that woolly bear caterpillar distract you from the egg!
So I lifted the steps. OH! Yes indeed, I had found the cache.
Let me tell you, the hens were NOT happy that I'd discovered their secret spot! Here's the reaction that began when I lifted the steps.
So, I brought them all inside and cleaned them and subjected them to the float test to see if they were all fresh. All of them passed the test with flying colours - confirming they were all very recently laid. So, now I have an extra (almost) 4 dozen eggs to use.
Egg custard, coming right up! I'm so fond of the lovely shape of eggs, the subtle shades and colour differences, the occasional spots and speckles and the size differences. Perfect little protein packs!
There were also a couple of interesting eggs in the batch. I'm always intrigued by different or unusual looking eggs. Today there was this one with a lot of extra calcium deposited on the surface.
Then there was this very unusually patterned egg. You can see how it has a speckled surface, but the speckles disappear for about a 1/2 inch "stripe" that goes right around the egg. I have an artist hen in my flock but I don't know who she is!