On Liz’s 17th birthday, while playing games at the dining room table, kids running up and down the deck, swimming, and making all manner of chaos, I saw one of our Barred Rocks slip behind the barbeque and hop in the bottom where the propane tank sits, through a rear opening. One of our guests saw it too, making some sort of “Guess she doesn’t know how fond people are of a good chicken barbeque!” comment. I decided to wait it out a bit and see what happened.
After a fairly long wait, I mentioned the situation to my husband. He was not too terribly interested in having a chicken turn his barbeque into a nesting box and asked me to get her out. I took my camera (because it was kind of funny)
but barely caught a pic of her backside as she skeedaddled out the back! Blondie! (I know, not a blonde speck of feather on her, but for a while she had yellow paint on her head!)
The next few days, all three of our Barred Rock girls were making trips up on the deck, scoping out various corners, even collecting a random pine needle that had fallen here and there. Thankfully the dog houses got the “No” vote from the trio -probably a smell thing – but I could tell they were not going to be satisfied laying eggs in their proper nesting boxes.
So, in a weaker moment, I found a shipping box, filled it with hay, and placed it where Esme had been collecting pine needles.
Suddenly, that box was the most interesting place in all our little farm! Every bird had to come up (even the non-layers) to try it out. It was especially attractive to our trio of black and white deck girls, so it was no surprise, one afternoon, to see Blondie hop in and make a thorough inspection. I went about my normal business, when suddenly I heard the “I just laid an egg!” call (not to be confused with, “I want to lay an egg, but somebody’s in my favorite box!” which is very similar, but with a distinctly edgy quality).
I went out on the deck, expecting to see a proud little hen coming out of the box. But, there was no bird, and there was no egg in the box. The egg call was coming from the barbeque! The sneaky little creature had switched laying areas! When I opened up the door, she scrambled out the back again – but she left evidence behind:
slightly sooty, yet perfect little light brown egg! “Blondie! You sneaky little thing, you!”
Needless to say, after that day, we made sure to check the barbeque for eggs. I thought how funny it might sound to other people when Liz comes in from egg collecting and I ask , “Did you check the Barbeque?”
It does seem like this may have just been one of those isolated “fluke” incidents, because she has faithfully used the box ever since. But every now and then, we still check…