Last week I finally broke up the nest of my Pilgrim goose, K, and smashed the last eggs. As I suspected, they were all rotting. A close examination of the contents showed that embryos had started to develop but had died — a sure result of her on-again, off-again sitting at the beginning of their incubation. Next year I will carry the nest to the chicken house where K won’t be as easily diverted.
It took a day of repeated visits to the lamb stall, now bare of nest, and thoughtful gabbling to herself, before K gave up and accepted the situation. Now she is back to strolling and grazing the pastures with Andy, her mate.
Meanwhile one of my Buff Orpington hens has decided to sit on eggs in the calf stall. I have taken the precaution of numbering the original eggs in pencil (pencil will not bleed through the porous shell as ink will). Quite often other hens will muscle a broody hen off a nest — it must be a desirable location! — and lay another egg. Before you know it, the poor hen will be trying to cover an overwhelming pile.
Seven seems quite enough eggs to incubate. I love to watch the cycle of life but don’t really need more chickens; if I get two or three live chicks I will be pleased. So I lift my Orpington, who is so deeply broody that her legs barely uncurl when I move her aside, and take any new eggs that appear.
This hen’s brooding, too, would profit from the peace and privacy of the little chicken house. Unfortunately the chicken house door blew off in a wind storm last winter and was smashed to kindling.
I have added CHICKEN HOUSE DOOR to my long list.