Finding Buried Treasure

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I’ve been worried about my hens lately. Their egg production has been so sporadic that I knew something was wrong. Some days I would get 6 good sized eggs, other day’s one or two small ones and still other days I would go to the coop only to find empty nesting boxes. The water trough always had enough water, but just to be safe I added another one. The hanging feeder had plenty of mash. Every few days they would get a treat of lettuce, carrot or beet tops, old bread or even a bit of fruit past its prime.

Everything seemed fine, but still I couldn’t figure out what could be causing such erratic egg laying.

Not until this morning that is. While getting dressed a couple of black crows frolicking in the yard caught my eye. They weren’t doing anything special just pecking at the ground. As I stood there watching, they kept dipping their beaks towards the ground then raising the heads high into the air, like birds do when they drink.

Pecking around the ground for a few moments more suddenly one of the crows hopped over to the flowerbed and disappeared into the low growing branches of a sweet pea bush. When he emerged he had a brown egg clutched between his beaks.

That was it! One of the girls had found a new hiding place and made it into a nest. After I finished getting dressed I walked outside to the flowerbed where I had seen the thieving crow, climbing over the scabiosa and coreopsis I moved the branches of the sweet pea bush out of my way and there tucked in the underbrush of plants and weeds was a small nest with three more eggs. One of the banty’s must have decided she preferred the quiet of the garden to the chaos of the coop.

All told I lost 5 eggs today—2 to the crows and three to the compost pile. I couldn’t keep the eggs I found because hard telling how long they had been buried.

I guess the crows are the only one’s to enjoy the bounty of finding buried treasure this clear spring morning.

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