So there seems to be this chicken....

cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)July 2, 2005

...laying an egg a day in a "nest" under my giant, 'Bressingham Blue' hosta.

No kidding.

First, this gorgeous rooster haunted my yard for about a month. We call him Buster. He is colored like a fabulous, iradescent Japanese water color rooster. He crowed and crowed and ate bugs. I love him.

For the past week, although we can hear him over where he actually lives, he hasn't been around.

However, in this last week, in this hollowed-out depression in my shade garden, someone has been laying eggs.

Now... do female chickens crow? Is Buster actually a girl? Was Buster scouting for a girlfriend? Are the eggs going to hatch without someone sitting on them? (My husbund volunteered...) What do I do about snakes or fox eating them? I'm worried about that.

Most.. how many eggs will a chicken lay in the same place?

What the heck should I do?


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PaulaW(z7 MD)

Females can crow, but not usually. They will only hatch if she comes back for them, most chickens are bred to be bad mothers. How many in one place really depends - if she is broody she will stop laying and sit on the eggs, otherwise she will lay one egg every 20 hrs until she finds a better place to lay.
You could let the owner know if it bothers you, otherwise I'd say you have free eggs - eat them! lol
If our chickens were laying in someone else's garden we would try to stop them, but we would never expect the eggs back.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 3:46PM
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I agree. Broody hens will rarely leave the nest if they're of a type that are good setters. In fact, many hens that set eggs actually lose condition during the hatching stage because they leave the nest so infrequently to eat/water, etc.

You obviously can't eat the eggs that are out there now, because they're most probably rotten at this point & will soon start to attract vermin. I'd remove them & dispose of them - carefully - because a broken rotten egg is one of the worst-smelling things on the planet.

After removing the eggs that are there now, if new eggs continue to appear, refrigerate them immediately & congratulate yourself on your free-range egg source - lol!!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 4:56PM
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sandykk(z6 MD)

At least you shouldn't have any slugs around that hosta. Chickens are great bug hunters.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 11:19PM
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Larry Kahn(7b)

I can beat that. Today an Eastern Box turtle was digging a nest hole right next to one of my roses in the rose garden. No idea why it would pick an exposed, sunny spot like that, or how it even wandered into the yard. We're several blocks from the nearest woods. I'll have a pic when I download the camera.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 12:30AM
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Last week, we found a bird's nest with a tiny egg nestled in our Carefreee Beauty rose bush after my DH trimmed it. I believe it is a cardinal or some kind of redbird variety. I never noticed the nest, in the mornings when I opened our front door, there was always a redbird flying away from the rosebush. The momma bird has not returned. My DH is concerned. I told him we will just have to let it be, and let mother nature take its course.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 5:16PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Well, the chicken seemed to top out at 6 eggs in 6 days. At least others haven't appeared. I was afraid they'd hatch and a fox or something would get them. I might just bury them if they do go rotten. I know, I'll know!.

This seems to be the year of birds for us. A swallow has build a nest above the light on our screened in porch. The screen has been ripped out since Isabel, so it comes and goes happily. A mourning dove has built about 6' up in the apple tree, and I have a bunch of cat bird nests. No turtles or snakes, which would be very cool.

I like the chicken and I don't mind the eggs. "Buster" gives the cats a run for their money and they deserve it.

Thanks for the thoughts on the eggs. I hope Buster comes back!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 8:19PM
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Larry Kahn(7b)

If a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many eggs will six hens lay in a day?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 9:13PM
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Thanks for the commentary on the "critters"

The weather this year must be good for them. We have more rabbits, squirrels and even deer then ever before. There was a wee spotted fawn in the path just over the fence the other day and we have even seen the piliated woodpecker several times.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 11:11PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

So I caught her!

I thought, "Oh, no! The eggs are gone!" Then I realized I couldn't see them because the chicken was sitting on them!

She's a little Bantam, evidently. Black with a little red comb. She saw me and scuttled away as fast as her little legs could carry her back to the neighbor's.

Since, we've exchanged greetings a few times and she's up to nine eggs. Do I get rid of some of the older ones? Will it make her stop coming if her eggs are fooled with? I love the idea of her coming over...

Cute as can be, I must say!


    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 7:00PM
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If the hen was/is ready to actually hatch (or brood) her eggs she would NOT bolt when you approached. In fact she would more than likely quickly demonstrate exactly what the old saying about a "mother hen" means. My chickens usually lay a clutch of of 12-15 eggs before they start "setting". More than likely the owner of the hen has been gathering her eggs and she is secreting them away to gather enough to hatch. It will take her about 18-21 days to hatch the eggs only getting off the nest to eat and drink and the eggs will sometime actually feel almost cold to the touch during that time. Trust the chicken to know what she is doing and don't remove or move her eggs.
Bantam chickens are usually good brood hens both before and after the hatching. It is great fun to watch them teaching their little ones the ways of the world. Chickens are really quite smart little beasties and learn quickly. The term "bird brain" is not accurate at all.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 10:03PM
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gardengranma(6a/6b MD)

This must be fun, Christine. How is your garden coming along? Long time no see.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 10:05AM
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I soooooooo wish this was happening in my yard.I can watch animals and their behaviors forever and never get bored.

I have a pond in my yard....the best breeding pond in the town I do think. Every year I have to give away dozens of tiny babies to neighbors or friends to keep my pond from going pea-green from so much nitrogen in the water.
I thought this year a heron that I caught on my roof one early spring morning, had eaten them all, one by one since I didn't see hide nor hair of any fish or movement for three weeks solid. I was madder than any hen could think that bird picked off every one of those shubunkin fish I have been nurturing for 5 years. A month later, I saw the first of two dozen babies surfacing for a quick look around for the pellets I feed my fish each year. Sensing the heron was gone... the other fish have now come back up timidly to the surface to eat.
I feel relieved.....needless to say.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:25PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Bonnie, how beautiful! I hadn't thought about a regal heron actually being a bad thing for a gardener! But having a pond, I can certainly see it!

At about 8 eggs she started brooding. She wouldn't budge, just eyed me sideways. I began to get concerned about the fox and black snakes we have, so I talked to her owner. I wanted advice, but he's very concerned about not bothering the neighbors. I couldn't convince him he should let his chicken stay in my garden, so 2 days later he came with a carrier and gathered the eggs into a straw nest. The little hen walked right in and sat down on them again. He took her home and promises to let me know when they begun to hatch. I'd love to see it!

I put a little chicken figurine that always makes me laugh under the hosta. Not quite the same.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 7:06AM
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Awwww - a little figurine under the hosta. Maybe the neighbor will let you have one of the babies. You could trade for a red one :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 6:39PM
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you've got the hen -- i've got the duck. a pair of mallards has been frequenting my woodland stream. why they aren't in the nearby marshes or ponds i cannot say. the momma duck has laid 11 eggs, nesting among the daylilies not 12 feet from the road. to get to the stream, she has to traverse the parking area, skoot under the spruce and cross 30-35 feet of open lawn. she's going to do this with 11 ducklings?

just sunday i was watching the robin fledglings searching for fallen mulberries in the backyard. before you could say "whoa!" a sharp-shinned hawk dropped from the sky, nabbed a young robin and flew off. the ducklings also will face the raccoons, the snapping turtles, the red-tailed hawks, the wastern water snakes, the opposum, the foxes.... oh, mamma duck. why here?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 3:18PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Oh, my God how awful!!! The poor robin. Sometimes nature is mean.

Can they move mama duck and babies once they've hatched? I know nothing about this, except I now miss looking for the little hen. I was so worried about fox and snakes, though, I do feel better that she's in a safer place.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 4:45PM
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