Our Bantam Splash Cochin, Molly, had been diligently sitting three eggs (which, for the record, were not hers) for a couple of weeks. Rather than do this in the coop, she decided to hunker down in one of the two milk crates we’d set up in the mud room.
Originally, there was one hay-lined milk crate. It was there for the cat to have a warm place to go in those few really bitter cold winter nights. It immediately became such a popular egg-laying spot for the chickens that we added a second one. If there was room, we’d transform the entire mud room into an auxiliary coop, because it seems to be one of the only places anyone wants to lay eggs.
In the picture above, one of our Rhode Island Reds is actually waiting on line to have a chance to lay an egg in one of the two occupied milk crates. Obviously, there is no other spot on this little farm to lay an egg. Sigh…
Sadly for us, the chicken in the other crate decided about two weeks into Molly’s incubation period, that she also wanted to hatch Molly’s eggs. About a week ago, every time Molly got up, the other hen would sweep in and start sitting. Being a Bantam, and thus much smaller, Molly really couldn’t do anything about this situation other than wait it out and reclaim her brood when the opportunity arose. It rarely arose.
Feeling that this was decidedly unfair, we started moving the other hen off of the eggs and moving Molly back onto them. This did not work. We tried moving the entire situation–eggs, hay, birds–into the chicken coop to see if they could resolve their differences in a more appropriate setting. This also did not work. Even after two of the eggs hatched and we removed the third to help convince her that her work was complete, she still wouldn’t move. She just continued to sit on nothing. No matter what we tried, the chicken-ness of the chickens prevailed and they, to this day, are fighting the Battle of the Brood.
In the meantime, no one else will lay eggs normally.
We set up an auxiliary laying spot in the garage. This has met with reasonable success. We get a couple of eggs in this per day.
But why, you may ask, does one need a plastic bus tub filled with hay in the garage when one has a perfectly good chicken coop for that exact purpose?
And the answer would be, because chickens are weird.
And now we are lucky if we can find the eggs they are laying. One day, I happened to notice a chicken running out from underneath a patch of burdock root next to the back steps of the house. Curious, I lifted the large leaves and saw a cache of about seven eggs. Alright, I thought, I can add this spot to my route when collecting eggs. And for about three days, I was able to find eggs in that spot. But, as though they don’t want me to know where the eggs are, they have stopped laying there and now we cannot figure out where the eggs are being laid. I do know where they are most certainly NOT being laid, and that’s here:
We have 36 chickens at the moment. 11 of those chickens are old enough to lay eggs. We are getting about four eggs a day.
Now, I’m no math whiz, but something tells me that this just doesn’t add up. So, if you’re interested in some delicious, organic, free-range chicken eggs, you might want to stop by and scour the farm. Finders keepers.