Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hoarding: Nesting Alive


Whenever I find a hidden clutch of eggs that one of my chickies has worked so hard to produce and cleverly hide, I call her a hoarder. We have all watched those hoarding shows; where the camera crew climbs precariously over self-made mountain ranges of usually trash and junk and we watch as a professional organizer comes in and attempts to take a full grown man's teddy bear. The show ends with before and after shots of the home and you have scratched your skin raw from the invisible things that made it crawl from watching.

THANKFULLY when a chicken hoards, it is not that bad. Usually there are no bugs and bad smells and a professional does not need to be called in. The people featured on the show have hidden the fact they are hoarders. Chickens do not go to those lengths; their lives are a little more simpler than that. A couple of clues as a watchful chicken owner can lead you to discover if you have a chicken hoarder or not. Our most recent hoarder, we discovered was an Araucana ( I mean, who else would it be when the eggs discovered are blue!)

First thing to look for is a decrease in eggs. When you are getting a steady number of eggs for a few days and it begins to decrease, and none of the eggs you collect are blue, you can imagine they are laying somewhere else.

The second thing you look for is escapees. I don't know what it is about the Araucana breed and the need to fly the coop. Every single one of ours has escaped at some point in time. There are birds from Flock 1 who have never mustered the energy to fly above the bars of Kennel Bar.

Not long ago, we noticed an Araucana who would haunt the barn throughout the day (at least they don't stray too far!) Dan captured her with the intent to take her to the Shawhan Clip~and~Curl Beauty Salon, but after a quick wing inspection, we realized she had already been there. I told him I noticed a place in the fence where a chicken could easily squeeze under and play hooky for the day. It has yet to be repaired and this particular bird still escapes.

Another time when I was cleaning stalls, I saw her perched in the straw bales. There is a nice nesting place in one particular bale and the chicken was sitting on the edge. I walked over to her and scared the wits out of her. She squawked and flew off the bale and ran away somewhere, though not as far as Texas or California. I figured I'd see one egg. Nope. There were 9! (They are pictured above.) I called her a hoarder and kept them there so I can photographic them and show them to Dan.

After we raided her nesting place and cleaned it up, we have yet to find another egg there. Like I said, she still escapes, so I can only imagine the hoard we will find once we uncover her new place. It's funny because once you remove the clutch, the chicken rarely visits there again. Must be a protective thing. Makes sense.

Any leads to where this hen is now laying would be greatly appreciated!

                                                                                         ...cluck... cluck... cluck...

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