Monday, December 5, 2011

Hide and seek

I'm always learning new things about chickens. For example, did you know that one of a chicken's eyes is used for looking at objects that are close, and the other for objects that are far away? That's why, when a chicken finds you interesting, it seems like she is turning her head and looking at you sideways. She's just using her close-up eye.

Here's another: once you find a chicken's hidden nest and take the eggs, she won't lay there anymore.

So when we found the secret mother lode of nine eggs laid by our teenage pullets (known as the Wild Bunch), and took away the eggs, we inadvertently launched a game of Chicken Hide and Seek.

Round 1: The Wild Ones laid their eggs in the nest in the woods. Kim took away the eggs. The pullets abandoned the nest.

Round 2: The pullets laid in the dry, warm spot underneath our external chimney. Kim took away the eggs and the pullets abandoned the nest.

Round 3: The pullets laid their eggs in the dry dirt near the bicycles under the verandah. Kim found the nest, took away the eggs, and the pullets abandoned the nest.

"Why can't they lay their eggs in the coop?!" said Kim.

Finally, in Round 4 the Wild Ones got smart. They didn't lay under the verandah. They didn't lay in the woods, or around the house, because they knew Kim the Chicken Sleuth would find the eggs and take them. We knew they were laying somewhere, but where?

Apparently they decided the principle of hiding in plain sight might apply, because after three days of missing eggs, and searching high and low, Kim found their new the coop, if not precisely in the coop.

Yes, that's right: under the coop.

What clever chickie-chickies. What exasperating chickie-chickies.

The upshot? The Wild Ones have been confined to quarters pending their successful completion of Egg Laying 101: How to Lay an Egg in a Nest Box.


Flartus said...

You've got decoy eggs, don't you? I can't remember, but I seem to remember you mentioning them. You'd think a couple of teachers would have better students!

I never knew that about their eyes. If I had chickens, now I'd be checking to see if they always turn the same side toward me!

Miriam said...

Yes, we have a decoy egg, but it doesn't seem to make any difference: the pullets either ignore it (and the nest box) completely, or they recognize it as an imposter and boot it out of the nest (and still leave the nest box empty). But I was just out checking the confined-to-quarters Wild Bunch and found TWO eggs, properly laid in nest boxes. Good chickie-chickies!

Lyssa said...

I had one who would lay eggs in the same spot, in the top of our compost pile, every day for months on end, even though I always took them away! I think they're just messing with you.

Paula said...

Very fun--I'm so glad you guys have something to do!

Natalie said...

This is just making me smile, and nod, and smile. And learn stuff too. So, thank you.

farmhousewife said...

hah! this is when I play the "lock the girls in the coop for at least 24-48 hours game!"

Haven't had a chance to stop by lately, but as always, lovely pictures and amusing stories abound here.



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