Saturday, June 7, 2014

Some of the people

We have three hens that lay an indeterminate number of eggs a day (although never more than three). When we collected all the eggs everyday, one of the hens started moving her nest until we couldn't find it. When Dave was feeding hay one morning, he found a cache of 11 eggs under several layers of hay bales. We can't be searching the barn and woods for eggs every day, so Dave ordered a fake egg to trick the chickens into leaving their nest in the same place. If there was an egg in the nest every morning, they wouldn't feel the need to hide their nest, they'd be perfectly happy to set on the fake egg while we removed the fresh eggs.

 We left home for four days before the fake egg arrived. Every breakfast of our trip we had eggs, but they were not our wonderful bright yellow yolked, firm whited farm fresh eggs. They had pale yolks and flat, more liquid whites.

We arrived home late Monday evening with our daughter, Laurel, and her two boys.There was a carton of white eggs on the counter which I assumed that Kate, our animal sitter,  had brought to the house. Although I did wonder why she had brought eggs when she knew all she had to do was go out to the barn for wonderful, fresh, very bright yellow, firm eggs.

The next morning Kieran and I went out to collect eggs. Four eggs in the nest! Kieran picked up two eggs. "These aren't real," he said, "there's no chicken in them." I took the egg. He was right. They looked like eggs, their surface felt like eggs, but they were too light.

We carried the two real eggs into the house and broke them into a bowl to scramble. Since the white eggs on the counter had been out overnight, I decided to use them up. I cracked a white egg against the bowl edge. Nothing happened. I hit it again, harder. Nothing.

Those ten white eggs were all fake eggs. You could have fooled me.

Several days later, two chickens were nesting almost on top of each other in the corner of the barn. We didn't want to disturb them in case they started hiding their nests again, so we decided to pick eggs at night after the hens were in their coop. At ten P.M. they were still nesting.  Afraid that they would become disoriented if we moved them off their nests, we didn't collect eggs.

This morning, we reached under the white hen and retrieved the two fake eggs. We reached under the black hen and found nothing. They had been setting on two fake eggs, not laying anymore of their own. Perhaps they were tired of laying eggs and thought we wouldn't notice that they
were slacking off. Whatever the reason, I think that we have definitely proved, at least when it comes to fake eggs, that you really can fool some of the people (and some of the chickens) all of the time.

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