Today is a seminal day in the hen run. Fluffy, doyenne of the flock, failed to appear at breakfast and was instead discovered deep in the hen house, crouched possessively over a pile of eggs telling her sisters to back off, right, and leave her alone. Fluffy is triumphantly broody, and Fluffy has form in this area. Last year she raised a brood of chicks that included Beatrice and Eugenie (the pair with the inbuilt fascinators) and she was the perfect mum. She sat on the eggs as tightly as if she’d been attached with super glue, she made like a warm, motherly tea cosy when the chicks were babies, and then when they were teenagers she pushed them out into the world to make their own way and went back to laying eggs. There was nothing more she could have done as a broody hen, so – this year she’s got the job again.
I’ve sorted out 6 nice little eggs (Fluffy is a fine character but a very small bantam, she can manage 6 eggs but when I tried 8 they kept sliding out at the sides) and put them underneath her. When I checked her at lunchtime she was happily counting them, and snarling at Wenceslas (Polish frizzle cockerel) who was worried about her and peeked into the henhouse to see if she needed grapes, or a good book or something.
The interesting bit will be in a week, when I will shine a torch through them to check if there are chicks inside. Wenceslas has been fairly hopeless as lord and master of the hen run to date. This is partly because he can’t see where his hens are due to his feathery hairstyle, which forms quickly into blackout curtains in times of stress, and partly because when he can see out he loves only Precious who is a guinea fowl and doesn’t/shouldn’t reciprocate. The hens know he is confused and play him up dreadfully. So in a week I will know whether he has caught up with them at any point, or not. It will be most interesting to find out.