...it’s another. Especially, with chickens.

We tried to repatriate the broody Alpha a day earlier than we had planned. She seemed so sad. As soon as we sent her back to her back to her crew, she undertook her role as a totally-harassing-bitch to each of her underlings, in turn. We figured we were on the right track–Alpha, back up to speed, and in character.
But, no sooner had she made her appointed rounds (of dominance), she headed right back to the brood coop, hunkering down on a nesting box. Still broody. So, back to the chilling barn for her. If this doesn’t work, I’ll have to try the torturous, cold-dunking. (Once reserved for Witches and heretics.) 

In the meantime, we thought the remaining chickens were fine (if not relieved) in her absence. Not so in chickenland. Egg production dropped precipitously.

At first we thought they were upset by her absence (because, how the hell can you tell with a chicken?) But, that was not the case. I was working in the garden and I heard a chicken ruckus in the wild berry bushes, by the front steps. I didn’t investigate–but did glance over to make sure that we didn’t have one of the cats, harassing a chicken, and thought no more of it.

Later, when Rick mentioned the drop in egg production, I remembered the fuss, and then we investigated. Sure enough, one of the Wyandottes had laid two eggs in a lovely little protected spot, under the bushes.

We didn’t have a production problem, we had an egg location problem, which sent us scouring the chickens’ usual haunts for eggs. In Alpha’s “leadership” vacuum, the rest of the flock had gone rogue! We’re still on the lookout for missing eggs, hoping to locate them before they spoil…and smell.

Now, all chickens are confined to their pen, until such time as they have all done their daily-lay . “No free-range for you, little missies–unless you behave!”

They’re responding to detention by flying up and perching on top of the coop. It’s a threat (if you speak chicken)–because from there, it’s a short hop, over their enclosure fence, to freedom. Rick responded immediately with some wire on the coop peak to discourage them from roosting up there. Sheesh, It’s always something.

We’re hoping to return to normal rhythms, once Alpha returns to her job as top chicken. Assuming she’s not destined for a dunk in the Trough of Truth. (“Waiter, what’s this chicken doing in my soup?”)

At least the bees are behaving.