If anyone was looking for me this evening between 4:20pm and 5:10pm I would have been just outside the chicken run, hiding behind a fine specimen of Angelica Sylvestris whilst keeping a close eye on the hen known as Jacqueline. This particular hen is renowned for 'laying out' and I was trying to determine if she had a nest nearby.
Currently, we have 12 hens and 2 roosters and are averaging around two eggs per day. This is unsatisfactory considering the amount of high-quality chicken feed I am shovelling into them daily. Five of those hens are recent additions and I had high hopes for them. Unfortunately, they came with an unnecessary rooster but, as they say, one cannot look a gift horse in the mouth. We'd just got rid of a surplus rooster and our hens, relieved from the stress of the demands of two randy cocks, had rewarded us with increased laying. Two weeks later, another useless rooster turns up and the hens stressed to the max and the two tribes are hating on each other and are not earning their keep.
So there was Nelly, crouching among the thistles, nettles, brambles, Robin run the hedge and the angelica keeping a very tight eye on Jacqueline. And Jacqueline, feigning all indifference, kept a tight and beady eye on Nelly and refused to give up the location of the nest which, I'm certain, must have brimmed with at least two dozen eggs.
Hens are reputed to be of low intelligence yet I suspect they feel the same about us for I am constantly outsmarted by them. Hens are cunning devils and I wish, I really wish I loved chicken broth as much as I love eggs.