We have been enjoying days that are so much like spring that we even begin to imagine summer. Now, that's really getting ahead of ourselves! Our chickens are laying, and lately, I cannot decide which is prettier... their eggs, or their nest. We aren't buying rice hulls, or straw, or sand, or pine shavings, and instead we are using all of the fallen leaves, pine needles, and garden sweepings. What was once "yard waste" and hauled to the curb is now the ground covering in the run, bedding for goats, and lining for nests. It seems to suit everyone fine. The hens come running when I freshen things up, taking keen interest in the variety and choices that they scratch, and rummage through. The goats nibble, too. We don't spray anything in our yard, so there are no worries about poisons or toxins. The clipped herbs, like rosemary and lavender are natural pesticides, and beneficial to the animals. After a time, when everything is raked out, we have broken down, fertile mulch to return to the garden, or add to the compost. And it makes such a pretty backdrop for those beautiful eggs.
It's looking so much like spring, the barn beckons. Warmer nights, longer days tempt us to sweep and dust our favorite bunkhouse, and sink into a good book, collect more herbs, plan the next adventure. Soon, maybe, there will be bonfires, sleepovers, and CandleLight. It's nice just thinking of such pleasures.
Our chicas have finally settled on one spot for laying their eggs, and have at last given up on laying their eggs in the goats' hay feeder, or the goats' cottage. Instead, all the hens are laying in the old rabbit hutch I dragged home from a neighbor's curb. This creates a bit of a traffic jam, and since the hutch has two sections, I decided to make a curtain, in hopes of making the first room more appealing to the hens. Hens appreciate a little privacy, less light, a hint of secrecy, when laying their eggs.
Fiona was on the nest, and Lady Thompson was in the waiting room, and two more hens were clucking impatiently, waiting in line. Fiona nodded politely, before heading out.
It's a busy morning.
And there's still a line.
Sometimes they don't even take turns. Sometimes one hen will just walk over the other, sitting on the nesting hen until she's literally forced out. The solution might seem obvious: We need more nest boxes. There are at least four other places where they could, and have, laid eggs... but when a nest becomes popular, there's no stopping the traffic!