Odd things can happen on a goat farm. Some things are just normal odd, but others are really odd. Just like the day I stepped out of the barn and saw on the hill leading up to the house, white broken things strewn around, all over the ground. They hadnít been there when I came down the hill a half hour earlier. I went for a closer look.
Stark white, broken egg shells littered the ground. What on earth? Naturally I looked to the sky to see if it was raining egg shells. It wasnít. I studied on it some more and shrugged. Wait for it and the answer eventually appears.
And, it did, in the shape of our two old backyard dogs that had come to help me water and hay the goats. The next time I looked, there they lay, happy as could be, gnawing on eggs. They had found the nest of three of our white leghorn chickens who had gone rogue on us.
Our chickens free range. Nothing stops them where ever they might wander on our place. They go to their chicken house at night to roost, feed and water is always available there, but in the morning they are turned loose to graze where they want. And, the old darlings usually always go back to the chicken house to lay their eggs. Except for three white leghorns who decided they were tired of us stealing their eggs and had decided to lay elsewhere.
From the looks of it, I figured our backyard dogs had got all the eggs, so I shrugged and went off to finish the watering. A little bit later I looked again and it looked like the dogs had doubled the amount of shells that had been on the ground. Alarmed that they might OD on eggs, I went and stood near them and waited for one to go back to the nest for the next snack. And, thatís what happened.
I followed Chester into the hay shed and on the third layer of extremely good second cutting hay, in a crack between two bales, was the biggest pile of eggs Iíd ever seen. If you know white leghorns, youíd know this was very possible for three to do, given a month or so to do it in. Chickens tend to be social layers and if one white leghorn had laid there, then the other two saw it and waited their turn at the now communal nest.
Now, if you ever find a nest of eggs like this and you think youíd like to save some for your own self, get a small bucket of water and put the eggs in it. The ones that float are not for you or anyone else. They are rotten so throw them somewhere the dogs wonít get them and you canít smell them. Be careful in handling rotten eggs, they tend to explode on touch. The only thing that might possibly beat the smell of a buck is rotten eggs, so be careful where you decide to get rid of them, the rotten eggs, I mean.
Well, this pile of eggs smelled. So, some of the eggs had already exploded from being rotten and I was more worried about the wonderful hay in that area getting ruined than about saving eggs. Lee got me some three pound coffee cans from the barn and I started filling the cans up with eggs. Some exploded on touch, so not only was the hay in that area smelling vile, I wasnít exactly the sweetest smelling thing around either.
The backyard dogs were not a bit happy with me taking their cache of richly aged eggs. As many as they had eaten, youíd have thought they would have had their fill of eggs for a long time. Not so. They marched with us as we carried the cans of eggs off, eagerly looking up at the cans, hoping that we might either fall or accidentally drop those cans of seasoned eggs. Oh, Iím sure they had eaten a lot of good eggs on the top of that pile, but those particularly flavorful ones were what they wanted.
Exactly how many those dogs had eaten, I donít know. The hillside looked like a couple of chicken egg farmers had fallen down when carrying their produce and strewn it all over that hillside. Feeding the bucks later found the bucks looking at me with great disapproval. I was putting them off their feed. The ones who regularly hose down their faces and legs found me disgusting, curling their lip up at me as my hands got too close to their face. At least the dogs liked me.
Now I am keeping an eye on that area to see if my three delinquent leghorns go back. Unfortunately, they have moved on to a better nesting ground. After all, that one was starting to smell a bit. So, I watch the dogs and take note of any leghorns wandering around the barn.
I have no desire of a repeat of the day of the egg shell massacre. The backyard dogs were quite jovial about it and are always hopeful, but a hillside covered in egg shells is just too weird, even for the odd goings on of a goat farm.