Two hens in waiting in the barn. They should hatch June 18th. Both are fenced in to keep the little goats from tromping on them. I'll put the one in the box behind the gate in the loft chicken room, because I can carry that box up the steps. As soon as the one in the hay feeder hatches I'll give her chicks to the hen in the chicken room. Setting hens don't get along when they are put together. They are territorial so they fight, but they don't mind adopting another hen's chicks. I feel lucky to have made it almost three weeks without a raccoon or opossum raiding the barn and stealing these hens. Usually, they would show up about now so I have my fingers crossed (not really) hoping for a safe delivery for both hens.
I love watching the animals and chickens at my place. My observations turn into moments in my books which add realism to the characters' stories. One morning last week I pulled foxtail out of the daylilies and bluebells. I knew about the tunnel through the bluebells, because I saw a hen using it. I'd glanced in the plants as I walked by but didn't see any eggs so I figured the hen was looking for bugs. While I was weeding I found the nest behind the bluebells. The hen is in for a surprise when she comes back to lay again. I made sure the eggs were gone. That was not a good place for a hen to start a family with wild animals roaming across the yard in the night. That afternoon about four PM, as usual, my husband and I were sitting on the front porch, me drinking ice tea and he drinking coffee. A blonde feathered hen with a bright red neck and head eased over to the bluebells and ducked into the tunnel. In a few seconds, she came back out, looking confused, as if she was wondering where she had put her nest. She walked along the bluebells to the clumps of daylilies and entered again to take another look. This time she came out of the bluebell tunnel "mad as a wet hen" and expelled some x-rated caws as she announced whoever took her eggs better bring them back. Then she stalked away. The next afternoon, the hen came back and made a trip into the bluebells to see if her demand had produced the eggs. She came back out right away and quietly left with a subdued sense that this is a hen's fate in life, laying eggs that always mysteriously disappear.
A woman that has worn many hats in my life time. Join me here and find out about those hats.