I’m finding it amusing how many of my little “peeks” involve chickens. We did live pretty far from town. We only drove into town on Sundays or if there was a real need. Our lives revolved around one another, our home, our farm, and our animals. That’s farm life!
Behind Larry’s little shop there was more shed. I remember at least two sections. Each section had a garage door so implements could be easily stored. During the day often our chickens would roam freely through the area around the sheds. They didn’t go far but they were curious and did like to investigate new places to look for bugs.
Larry and I had been in one of the sheds looking for a tool or a car piece. When we found what we wanted we left closing the door behind us. In the evening the chickens would all go back into the coop and we’d close the door. We didn’t count the chickens to be sure they were all in. Counting chickens would be like trying to count bubbles. They move around so quickly it would be very difficult if not impossible.
We didn’t know when we’d been in the shed earlier one of our hens had followed us. She had been busy looking for bugs when we left and we had locked her in the shed. We didn’t miss her when we closed the coop for the night.
We didn’t miss her the next day either. We never missed her. It was about ten days later when we were out by the shop we heard an odd sound. We turned all machines off and walked next to the shed doors. Larry slid the big door open. A very faint “peeping” was coming from the back of the shed. We entered the left side of the doorway very slowly and quietly. A chicken slowly walked from the darkness in back of the garage to the light of the doorway. Once outside she sprinted toward the chicken coop.
We investigated the back of the shed. There was a small dirt nest the chicken had scratched and carved with her feet and beak. It was really just a small indention in the soft dirt. In the nest were ten eggs. My first instinct was to gather them for use. Larry stopped me by saying, “That chicken has been locked in here for ten days. Some of those eggs are old. We don’t want to gather them.”
I started picking the eggs up and putting them in my apron. I was going to dispose of them. As I picked them up I noticed they were all different sizes. Of the ten eggs two were normal size. The remaining eight were all smaller. Of the smaller eggs, some were even smaller than the others. We lined the eggs up on Larry’s workbench from biggest to smallest. The ten eggs made a perfect stair step in size. The biggest ones on the left end were large. They had nice hard shells. The ones in the middle of the row each got smaller. The three on the far right were only about a third of the size as the big ones. Their shells were thin and pliable. The one on the far right was the tiniest of all. Its shell was paper thin.
We felt horrible for our chicken. She had been locked in that shed for at least ten days. She had no food, no water, and no light. Although it was not her choice to do so, she continued to lay an egg a day. It was easy to see how hard the egg laying had been on her. When we got to the coop she was easy to find in the flock of chickens.
The other chickens all stayed away from her because she had lost her familiar smell and now seemed a foreigner to them. Her head and legs were the same as the others but her body was about half the size as of the other chickens.
By the next morning all the chickens were eating together and clucking away. The lost one was again part of the group. Every time I saw her for the next two or three days she was at the feeder or drinking water. She regained her body weight quickly and soon I couldn’t tell her from the others.