And I mean, actually, literally BUST.
Annex Girls are committed. Once you go Annex, you never go back. Two days ago, Maisie settled into The Annex at around 2:30, half an hour before lock up. At 3, she still hadn’t laid, so I picked her up and put her in the closed coop. She was unamused.
When I went to put Tallulah up on the roost at dusk, I found myself one black hen short when it came time to leave the coop. Maisie had snuck out on me, and was in The Annex. Nuh-unh, little missy; back to bed!
I knew one of three things would happen: she’d break down and lay in the coop nests, even though night was falling and chickens don’t lay in the dark; she’d try to hold it to morning but a night egg would slip out; or, she’d make it through the night, and lay in The Annex first thing in the morning. When I cleaned the coop the next morning, I found a stone-cold Maisie egg in the coop nesting box. Door #1, then.
Then, there was yesterday. I have a strong suspicion Maisie is currently Head Hen. She butted ahead in line yesterday morning, ahead of Coraline, who was due to lay first. (Yes, Coraline now lays in The Annex. All the cool girls are doing it.) What would sweet, gentle Coraline do if she couldn’t wait for Maisie to relinquish The Annex? Would she give in to Maisie’s bullying, and lay in the coop nests?
When I returned half an hour later, Coraline was ensconced in The Annex. I had to do a double take. Yup…comb bending over to her right, not sticking straight up. Coraline, not Maisie. And there was Maisie on the sidelines…SCREAMING. She was really letting Coraline have it, in full Wagnerian soprano. Seven sharps.
But, Coraline would not be moved. She held her ground and just kept responding to Maisie’s tantrum with her cute little, boop, boop, boop. I was IMPRESSED. Is she an expert on passive disobedience, our own little Gandhi? Or is she the REAL Head Hen…? Hmmm…this bears watching…
Which brings me to this evening.
At 3 this afternoon, I heard hearty, full-throated protestations from the barn. Haley was in The Annex, and Trixie wanted her out. Too bad, girls; you’re both going into the coop. I carried them to the coop, one at a time. UNAMUSED. When I took our dog out to play half an hour later, Trixie hurled obscenities at me from the run.
At 4:30, the sun had gone down, and I went to the coop to give Tallulah her leg up onto the roost. While I had both hands full with a very large, white chicken, Trixie ran out of the coop for The Annex. Like, SPRINTED. Clearly, she had to go.
With a sigh, I closed up the rest of the girls for the night, and decided to let Trixie have her way. I’d let her lay in The Annex, in the dark. Which chickens don’t do. Supposedly. Here’s the rub: the second she finished laying, she was going to be stuck outside the coop, in the dark, alone. Clearly, she hadn’t thought this through.
So, I had to keep checking on her, every few minutes. In the house, in the barn. In the house, in the barn. I even checked to see if she was faking, but her little butt was going through very-noticeable contractions. I resigned myself that this egg would have to be midwifed. (Midwiffed? Midwived? Midwove?)
The flash used to take the photo below conceals the fact that it was pitch dark in the barn. I had to take several shots to get her properly in frame, because I couldn’t see her at all.
I kept this up for almost an hour, and it got old fast. Come ON, Trixie! Squeeze out that egg!
Then she just got up, perched on the lip of the bucket, and hopped out of The Annex. All done. I shone a flashlight into the nest. No egg.
Apparently, the moment had passed. The whole, stupid ordeal over with, I carried her into the completely dark coop, and placed her up with her sleepy sisters, holding the flashlight in my mouth as I did so.
You may now proceed to ridicule me.