Oh…HERMIONE.

Hermione, one of our two Production Red hens, lays the prettiest eggs. Both Production Reds lay the darkest of our eggs, but Hermione’s are darker even than Haley’s, and they have speckles and a lovely rosy tint. They’re very pretty.

She was one of our last hens to begin laying, so each of her eggs is a treasure, to me. Which is why I noticed when they went missing last week.

Now, it’s not unusual for a hen to take a day off here and there; they’re not machines. An egg takes anywhere from 26-36 hours to create and produce, so the odd skipped day is mathematically necessary. But a whole week?!

My concern was amplified by the knowledge that Hermione lays not easy in the nest. She would much rather lay somewhere more interesting, more secluded; preferably, given her druthers, inside the barn. We’ve taken to keeping the barn doors closed while the chickens are out to cut down on the poop on the barn floor. The barn is a chicken magnet: enclosed, safe, interesting. Hermione has been particularly persistent.

So, I searched the barn. I even searched the grass catcher that is pulled behind the tractor when we cut the grass, because she has expressed particular interest in it. I can’t blame her for that; it’s private and comfy.

Nothing in the barn. I searched the outside hang outs. Nothing. Was she just holding out on us? Was she on strike?!

Skip to yesterday afternoon. I was showing the inside of the coop to a friend of my fiance, and I’m actually HOLDING Hermione at the time, and he points to the sand floor of the coop and says, “Is that where they lay their eggs?”. I’m all…what?! Sure enough, in the six-inch gap between the poop pit/roosts and the outer coop wall, lying neatly in the sand, are THREE Hermione eggs.

How did I not see them?! I’m in that coop multiple times a day, and give it a thorough go-over each morning. How did I not see the eggs?!!

When we mucked out the poop pit under the roosts last weekend (a bi-yearly event), I decided to pull it out from the wall a bit, thinking I’d give the girls a little more room up on the roosts. Hermione must have taken advantage of the tiny gap, and wriggled herself in there three times to lay her eggs.

They were perfectly intact, and, thanks to our 40-60 degree weather this past week, entirely edible. I plan to have a fried egg sandwich for lunch, made from pretty, dark, pink eggs.

And the poop pit was pushed back against the wall this morning. Nesting boxes are right over there, Hermione…

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