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This morning brought both welcome and unwelcome surprises. The welcome surprise were the first of our eggs, of which there were two. The unwelcome surprise was that the chickens did not lay them in the lovingly crafted* nest boxes that my amazing co-pilot installed this past weekend.

No, my darling girls apparently chose to lay their very first eggs on the trapdoor that leads out of the coop, which meant that when I opened it, the eggs fell down into the run. The two-foot-high run. The two-foot-high run that I was not going to crawl into after the egg that rolled almost all the way down to the other end. (I ended up easing it onto the blade of a shovel and dragging it gently out of the run. It still ended up with a cracked shell. I don’t know if it happened due to the shovel or if it happened when it fell into the run.)

So now I’m about to start studying up on ways to get chickens to lay eggs in nest boxes. I knew there would be a learning curve with all of this. I just never thought the chickens would be on that curve with me.

*translation: slapped together out of scrap wood and adding that final and oh-so special touch of scavenger chic to my post-apocalyptic looking chicken coop.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that my chickens are the most contrary chickens on Earth.   After weeks of trying to coax them out of their coop and into their run, they’ve gotten into the habit of going in, coming out, going in, etc, thus demonstrating the old cliche about chickens coming home to roost in a literal sense.   All was well in my little corner of the world, until there came a fine evening at the end of a fine day, and the weather being so very fine that the chickens absolutely refused to go home to roost.  Or they decided that since their run was officially part of their home, they were home to roost already.

Anyway.  They refused to go upstairs to bed, instead choosing to mob up in the corner of the run, fluff their feathers, and try to get some sleep.   And sleep they would, except for that crazy lady who:  banged on the side of the run with a broomstick, let the dogs out to bark at them (and then hastily dragged the dogs back into the house so they wouldn’t wake up the kids), and finally grabbed a spray bottle and let ‘er rip with it, until the chickens went up their ramp.

You’d think, however, that after just a couple squirts, a chicken would give it up and head inside.  Not my the Wyandottes, though.  They ran back and forth in front of the ramp for almost an entire bottle’s worth of squirts before getting a clue and heading upstairs.  It reminded me of that carnival game where you had to shoot a picture of a duck with a water gun as it moved back and forth, except the only prize was being able to sleep that night without having to worry about the chickens.  Just as well, since with three kids, we already have enough stuffed animals.

And now, the dogs actually get to show their usefulness.  I let them out earlier, they scare the chickens back into their coop, and everyone is happy.  (Except maybe for the chickens.  But there’s no pleasing them, anyway, contrarians that they are.)

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