She Was Hiding Something
Can you spy the oddity in this picture? How about the chicken egg behind the bush?Which, upon looking closer, turned out to be a whole nest of eggs. It seems our chicken Austra has been laying for quite some time.
We had our suspicions when her feathers grew back in completely and comb turned characteristically bright red, a sign of egg production.
Then last week, we came home from a short walk and the dogs were at odds with each other. We stopped big hound Devie from barking and uncovered the desired object from little hound Hawise: a pale pinkish brown chicken egg. On the couch. Inside the house. Could they have brought an Austra egg in from the yard? But she hadn't left any in the nest box in months! When I uncovered the eggs on Saturday, we knew we had to reacquaint Austra with her nest box. She was going broody - sitting on the eggs and trying to hatch them - but we couldn't have her laying eggs on the ground where they might freeze or be crushed or snatched by a dog.
We moved several of the ill-lain eggs to our designated nest box. Shut inside for a bit, Austra settled the bedding into a nest and laid an egg in the proper spot.
Later, to the tune of her anxious clucks, I removed all the other eggs and raked up the leaves. I even pulled up the cover evergreen, a plant that doesn't quite belong in that place. Yesterday, we could find no egg in the nest box or Austra's ground nesting place. We all wonder where the next egg will be hiding.