Saturday, 2 February 2013

About to Lay or About to Brood?

Lotti, my exchequer Leghorn, has been crouching for me for weeks, interrupted by the snow.  No eggs yet.  

But then we haven't had any eggs from the Garden Girls at all for some time.  Not that many of them are young enough to still be in regular lay anyway. And  I am overfeeding corn (in the evenings because of the cold), so I'm not entirely surprised.

This morning when I woke up  I could hear Lotti complaining. Non stop. Not very loud, but certainly very constant.   It was her usual "why don't you come and let us out" whinge.   The doorbell made me finally get out of bed at 8.30 and, once up, I didn't go back to bed.

I put the kettle on,  opened the back door, and suggested to Tilda that she might like to go out now. Tilda had other ideas though, and instead of letting me shuffle her to the door, she hobbled back into her pen.  I left her there - no point in giving a chook a choice if you then ignore her decision.

The Garden Girls had seen me open the back door though and were quite excited. I went out to give them their freedom, and was surprised to see that Lotti was missing..  Ha! Laying an egg perhaps?

I went round to the Cube and opened the egg port. No Lotti.

I looked under the Cube, into the Egg which acts as a spare nesting box.  No Lotti.

I stuck my head in the Cube and saw Lotti on the roosting bars.  She looked OK. No sign of injury.  She moved towards me, and then started picking up bits of Aubiose from the nestbox, tossing them over her back. I've seen that behaviour before, and it's usually a forewarning of a broody spell.  I remember Lily (my White Ranger, a Leghorn hybrid) used to do it.

But surely she can't be broody when she hasn't laid any eggs?

Or maybe there is a secret stash of eggs somewhere  in the garden?

I picked her up and gave ger a cuddle, and then put her backin the nestbox to carry on.

Ill check again later.  If she's in there "sitting", I'll have to do a thorough garden check.  I'm hoping that there might be a egg instead though.

All these years, and I still get excited.

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