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Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Curious Case of the Egg Missing in Daylight...

I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about that egg, one of those little mysteries that should make life interesting, but not so interesting it   keeps one from a good night's sleep. The mystery started out not as a mystery at all, an anomaly, rather: a single egg beneath the chicken coop, not in one of the two nest boxes where the girls usually leave payment for their room and board. Accidents happen, I thought. Maybe one of the ladies was taken short: the egg was on its way and the nest box too distant for deposit. Like on the evening news: those roadside freeway birthing events where impatient baby declines hospital and delivery room and opts for an impromptu roadside "coming o". There was precedent for a mislaid egg: when the girls were pullets, one of them laid the first egg under the coop, a "pullet surprise," you might say. But if memory serves, that first effort was the only "extra-coop" deposit for the two-year olds.

I passed by the chicken coop in mid-afternoon and noticed the egg lying all by its lonesome next to one of the coop post supports, thought it a bit odd, but an egg's an egg, right? I would have to enter the chicken run to retrieve it and thought I'd wait until I let the girls out in late afternoon for their daily free ranging.

Later that evening I went to gather the eggs, fully prepared first to enter the run, hunker under the protective netting and scoop up the errant egg. To my surprise, the egg was gone, nowhere to be seen. No trace that it was ever there. No eggshell debris field. Nothing. Vanished. Thus the mystery of the missing egg. It had so disappeared I began to question my sanity. Had I ever seen the egg in the first place? Yes, I had: twice at least, its presence so real, I even hatched a little plan to retrieve it. But as the old saw states: the best laid plans of mice and men....

The little mystery was too big to keep to myself, so I shared it with my wife and we became team Sherlock Holmes/Dr.Watson of the Valley, bent on solving the case. Motive, of course, would be food, hunger, sustenance. That's what the chicken scenario is all about, right? Heretofore we had been the only principals in this arena. Now, however, it appeared we had competition. But we were clueless: no yolk spatter, no shell casings left scattered about. Footprints? Obliterated by chicken feet. The crime scene had been sanitized. And this was not just some thief that came and went in the night, but a brazen act perpetrated in broad daylight.

No suspects in custody, so we conducted a virtual lineup. Topping the "most wanted" list were rats. Unlikely, we thought, a rat could carry an egg out of the run. Weasels are egg suckers, leave shell behind. Skunk? A striped kitty leaves a dis-stinky calling card. 'Possums...not likely because of their size and the secure construction of coop and run. Crows and jays are human-wary, and we're around the place most of the day. Squirrels? They're nut marauders and vegetarians as far as we know, and how could they roll an egg down the coop ramp without breaking it?

The investigation is on-going. As of this post none of the above are beyond suspicion. And given the   season, even the Easter bunny has not been ruled out.

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  1. I thought I saw a couple nights ago a big eared white fluffy creature that was sneakthieving our chicken eggs and heading over to hide them under bridge 155 for hatching later . . . ?

    1. The Easter bunny has come and gone, not like the squirrel I saw coming and going, coming and going from the chicken run to the woodpile--with egg on its face, most likely. TMJ

  2. You know chickens eat their own eggs right? I've seen it and if you get one it's hard to break the habit. Yeah I'm really behind on blog post reading!

    1. Yep, knew about cannibal chickens and have been careful to have enough bedding in their nest boxes so the eggs won't get broken. Kinda like an egg suckin' dog, I guess, eh? No more problems after the squirrel was deported. Thanks for reading...TMJ