I am now convinced that it is not Frodo who is the egg-layer, but my rotund Orpington, Sam. It appears that Frodo is just a slowpoke. When moving the chickens back and forth between their run and the vege pen I have to make sure that Frodo can always see one of the others. If they turn a corner, even if she can still hear them, she becomes “lost” and just doesn’t want to go anywhere. Poor little slowpoke. I can relate. It must be like going on a walk with me and my camera or anywhere else where I’m taking lots of photos or admiring plants. People have to wait for me too…
But Sam, well. The second day there was no egg but on the third day I put them in the vege pen later in the morning only to discover shortly after that Sam had gotten out through a hole and was squawking around in the orchard. She took off, straight past the paddock fence and back into the run. Oi! With much difficulty I tried and failed to herd her back into the vege pen with the others so I caught her and put her in there, but she continued to squawk loudly while pacing up and down the fence. She was obviously stressed and this is when I figured she might be the egg-layer and was just wanting to get back to the hen house. So I let them all out and Sam promptly waddled straight back to the run again like a moth to a flame. She definitely has a good sense of direction! I felt a bit sorry for the others having to cut short their foraging but I wasn’t going to leave Sam by herself as that would be stressful too. She squawked in the run for a little longer then disappeared into the hen house and went quiet, so I left her to it. I wonder if the other two think she’s gone nuts. When I checked a couple of hours later there was a lovely little egg. All chickens were quite happy to go back into the vege pen after this.
The fourth day there was another egg by late morning. Today I put them into the vege pen around 12:30pm, although there was no egg. I thought that was enough time for one to appear if it was going to. After a little while Sam started her squawking and pacing again, so back in the run they went and there was an egg when I came to check later on. I am learning! It is hard to predict when she’s going to lay an egg and so when to let them into the vege pen. But at least I can understand her behaviour so I just have to be alert. It is quite handy being at home at this time so I can see how this little egg-laying adventure is unfolding. Hopefully one of the others will start laying soon so she won’t have to go through it alone.
On another note, Strider will now let us pat her, which is very pleasing. She has a very small personal bubble. I love my chickens!