Thursday, April 12, 2012

'Cause the Boss Ain't No Chicken

You can always count on some sort of comic relief around here.  No matter how frustrating things get, or how discouraged I might feel, something always breaks the cycle and things seem to get better.

It might be Booooyyy bringing his freshly captured mouse back from his hunting trip, only to take in the overturned trash can and chase it around and around and around. It might be a “flying” sheep or it could be Ellie Mae trying to get Jed to play her “egg game” with her.  If nothing else, the animals create a diversion.

Tuesday was no exception.  We were working in the hoophouses, determined to win this skirmish in the ongoing battle of the weeds.  The sheltered environment of the hoophouses provides for some awesome looking weeds. While it is an ongoing battle, it does provide the hens with an enormous amount of fresh greens.

The hens truly appreciate all this green matter, and have “learned” that when the lawn tractor heads out, they are in for a treat.  They will follow its progress by walking along the fenceline toward the work area. Often, we will look up to see them staring intently into the hoophouse.  I must admit, all those little chicken eyes staring at me gets more than a little unnerving.

As I worked (and tried to ignore the chicken stares) I became aware of a ruckus at the front of the chicken house.  Two hens were squabbling over roosting rights on this little box on the tongue of the trailer.  When the chicken house started life as a horse trailer, it had electric brakes.  A small plastic box attached to the trailer housed the battery that powered this unit.  In the big renovation project, (you can read about it HERE) The Boss saw no need to remove the box, so it stayed. 

The Boss assumed he thought of everything…nice, new nestboxes and an electric door. But, since the Boss has never laid an egg, he gave no thought to the thought of egg laying al fresco.

The commotion got a good deal rowdier, so I went to investigate.  I took my camera along, as the little hen head sticking out the box looked rather photogenic.  I wondered if there were eggs under the setting hen. She squawked angrily when I pulled her out of the box.

Eggs?  Oh, Yeah!  There were EGGS alright!  She was setting 33 eggs!   (For the record, she could have set these eggs forever, but they never would have hatched because we have no rooster.) Since egg production hasn’t seemed off, some of these were probably very old and their disposal fell to me.  Ewww!  The Boss advised caution as I emptied the box and disposed of the eggs under the bushes at the property edge. I encountered no horrible odors, and I suppose that the broken eggs will grant the little wild critters some free protein.

The Boss saw no reason to leave the little box attached to the trailer.Without another thought, he ripped the box from the trailer, thus preventing a repeat performance.

This only served to prove that chickens don’t think like the Boss.  Or maybe the Boss doesn’t think like a chicken.  Those hens were out there the next day, looking for their little nestbox.  Maybe they like laying eggs in the open air, enjoying the bright blue sky and fresh air.  Maybe they don’t like waiting in line with all the other hens to lay their eggs. Maybe when a hen has to lay an egg…she REALLY has to lay an egg without delay!
phone pic of hens
That hen hopped up on the trailer, looked around for her little box, and began to cluck frantically.  A couple other hens came to investigate…nope, no box. Some sort of chicken discussion followed.  They eventually returned to their usual chicken activities.

We got busy with other things and gave little thought to the hens and their missing box. It wasn’t until choretime that we noticed the eggs.  Was it a gesture of defiance or desperation that caused two hens to lay their eggs right next to the trailer where the little box used to be?  Or was it yet more proof that the Boss just doesn’t get it…that he’s NOT chicken-minded?

Whatever the case, it granted us more than a few much-needed chuckles.

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