Monday, 18 March 2013

What a palaver!

Our hens are very good at laying their eggs in the next boxes. Once they get the hang of egg laying they don't lay them anywhere else - which is great for us - it means we don't end up scrabbling around trying to work out where they've put them now.

There is one exception to this good news and that is when we need to clean out the coop. This weekend we were due a lot of rain, so I decided to take advantage of a couple of sunny hours on Saturday morning to get the coop all clean and tidy and ship shape ready for another week. We let the hens loose in the garden which is usually quite enough distraction and took apart the hen house.

The coop we bought is really useful as the floor of the main coop removes completely, as do the perches, but it means that once we start cleaning the nest boxes are inaccessible. Lemon decided that this was the moment that she needed to lay an egg. Now. When Pepper or Frog is in this position they tend to hover near the coop with their legs crossed until they can get inside again. Lemon is not this subtle about life. She made a racket and a half. Initially I ignored her, egg laying is not as quick as you'd think and I wanted to get the coop sorted before the rain came. But she kept squawking and squawking and squawking. In the end we quickly sorted the nest boxes and reassembled the not-yet-clean coop to allow her access.

To be fair to her, she did pop straight inside, was quiet, and came out again a couple of minutes later. But she hadn't laid an egg. A moment later she was back inside, and then back out again, and she still hadn't laid an egg. This went on for 20 minutes. In the end it took midwife Pepper to pop in and talk her through it. Finally I thought. Except that they didn't then come back out to enjoy the grass, but decided to both sit in the same nest box on top of the egg. I really hope that this isn't the early sign of a broody hen.

In the end I chucked the two of them out, collected the egg and finally got the rest of the coop clean. What a palaver!

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