I witnessed the Tiff of the Uber Femmes in the henhouse this weekend.
Snowball the silky bantam and Treasure the light Sussex have both gone broody. Their steadfast commitment to their chicks-to-be is in no way diminished by the fact that they are sitting on two golf balls and a couple of plastic Easter eggs in attractive shades of green and pink. The fakes aren’t there just to mess with their minds: they were slipped into the coop to thwart the Phantom Egg Eater (golf balls being both hard to break and to the best of my knowledge flavour free).
The other new girls are still sleeping alfresco, but with a dramatic drop in the egg-count we suspect they’ve also been forced by Them Indoors to find some new and obscure location to lay their eggs. Now: documentary evidence of desperate chickens turned out of their coop by feathered home-wreckers. Shy Abbey makes a frantic dash for the nestbox but is thwarted, not once, but twice, by Snowball, the Fluffy Ball of Fury.
There’s a picture burnt into my brain: poor Abbey “crowning”, an egg half out of her cloaca, trying to beat off the rageful Snowball for long enough to drop her bundle. No photo – perhaps a good thing. Having shoved Snowball out the door, I thought Abbey deserved a moment or two of privacy to finish her business. But as soon as the deed was done, Abbey was out of there and the indignant bantam was back in the coop, carefully gathering and nurturing her beloved plastic brood.
I don’t think I could psych myself up to lay under these circumstances either. So this week’s job: stalking the homeless chickens until we figure out where they’ve hidden their egg stash.