Surrender, Dorothy!

(I dedicate the title of today’s post to my darling misterproperty, who, like me, appreciates the vital importance of proper punctuation. Yes, gentle reader, it’s joke made with a single piece of punctuation! Sticklers, unite!)

Those of you who follow the Heedley’s Hens Facebook page will know that I am having an issue with Dorothy’s eggs. She was the very last of 2.0 to lay, at the ripe old age of 35 weeks-ish, but, to give the girl her due, she started with larges, right off. Her eggs have a unique quality, a thick, opaque bloom, that make her light brown eggs look frosted. I’ve been looking forward to adding them to our cartons.

Here’s the thing: her eggs are poopy. Consistently. She’s laid, I’d say, 8-10 eggs so far, and they’ve all had pea-sized dollops of poo on them. No big; I don’t usually wash eggs, but I do for hers. This, of course, washes away the bloom, the very thing that makes her eggs unique and pretty.

Now, Dorothy likes to lay in The Nest Which Is Not A Nest, on The Man’s tool bench. She doesn’t seem to care that it’s not a nest, or that many other comfortable nests have been provided for her use, She would much rather scratch aside the bolts and years-old receipts and lay on the bare wood.

0113 Dorothy Work Bench

She is not the first. Trixie, Maisie and Hermione have all done this, but it was a passing fancy, a fling. Dorothy is faithful. Dorothy will no be move.

This was amusing, until yesterday. Because, yesterday, Dorothy laid a perfect egg. It was large, it was frosted, it was clean. I was writing her name, the date, and the size (XL!) on it, when I noticed something amiss. At the pointy end…there was a tiny crack in the shell. The egg had broken on the way down to the tool bench surface. A tiny crack, almost imperceptible, but a crack.

The gorgeous egg was immediately cooked for the chickens.

Something in me snapped. Clearly, Dorothy was not going to give up The Nest Which Is Not A Nest, as her older sisters had. Clearly, she doesn’t care that it’s hard and dirty and gross and drafty. One of us had to surrender, and it wasn’t going to be her.

We don’t throw out old towels or sheets or blankets around here. Between the nests and the chicken hospital and the graveyard and Billie’s crate and the cats, and turkeys and goats around the corner, we always need something soft and clean. In fact, supplies are getting low, and I’m going to send out the word to our immediate circle that we’ll take those of other people, as well.

When it came time to line Dorothy’s Yes It IS A Nest, what I had to hand was this:

photo 1-1

Now, Stepdaughter the Younger is fully nine years of age, so this little treasure has been around for a while, as you might imagine. It’s served a variety of purposes, but I fear this will be its last. You just don’t come back from being nest lining.

I brought it out to the barn on this unbelievably cold day, to find Dorothy nesting. She squatted when I approached (that’s new!), and grumbled as I moved her to get Pooh in place. She grumbled again when I put her back, but…I think she approves:

photo 2-1

And, who knows? Maybe with the nest covered with Pooh, the eggs won’t be.

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4 thoughts on “Surrender, Dorothy!

  1. You’re chickens are so strange, laying in all these odd places. Why don’t I ever get any layers like this? I have enough of them! :P

    Good idea on the blanket!

    How do you collect eggs before they freeze? I lost 6 yesterday to freezing :(

    • Yes! As soon as I posted, I went to check on her, and found an intact, CLEAN, XL. Go, Dorothy! She just needed a little Pooh.

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