First it was the cats, now it’s a chicken.
Roses told me yesterday that Jamie, who was kindly replacing a couple of panes in the doors of the greenhouse, had found two clutches of eggs in the compost heap. Today, I had young Hadrian with me, so we went in search of them. I’d marked a few elderly eggs that I’d forgotten about, to use as pot eggs (chooks aren’t that bright, as long as eggs, real or china, are in the nest, they keep on laying there) and that was fine in the first nest. But a hen was sitting on the others.
I hoped she was just contemplating laying and would leave, cackling triumphantly, but she didn’t. She is still sitting tight. I do not want baby chicks and have removed eggs from under broody hens … but I’m getting too soft and I couldn’t put her back in the run with the others.
I wasn’t entirely sure if she was the hen that has been sitting (I hope, because the alternative is that she is dead) for nearly three weeks, so I went in and got a pan of warm water and bobbed the eggs in it – they all sank, whereas an about-to-hatch egg would float and move about as the chick inside moved. Fumbling underneath her, to her indignation, I discovered that some of the eggs were cold, there were too many for her to sit on. It turned out there were 16 in all.
I’ve left her four. I just hadn’t the heart. However, it means that I’ve brought in a clutch of 12, a clutch of 8 and 8 more from the nest box today, and I already have a big build-up of eggs. I don’t know what on earth to do with them all. I think I’m going to have to look up a recipe for pickled eggs.