For those of you who grew up on a farm, the following story may be commonplace. But for an urban boy born and raised, the only chickens I knew about where the ones in the pan or in the oven.
Since moving out into the country and living with animals, I’ve learned a few things about our chickens. For example, like most animals, they communicate with each other. Chickens can make a variety of sounds and I’ve noticed they make the same sounds in similar situations, which means these sounds have meaning.
Somehow a rooster knows when a hen wants to lay an egg, and he’ll help her find a place to lay. They’ll walk around, sometimes into the house, and when the rooster finds a likely place, he’ll show the hen. He’ll get into the corner or box and demonstrate to the hen where she should lay, all the while singing a soft, continuous cackle – almost like a chicken purring, if you can imagine that.
Then the hen will get into the assigned place, sit for a while – 15 to 25 minutes – and once she lays the egg she’ll jump up squawking, and the rooster crows, and nearly chickens holler and screech – a five minute congratulatory cluck fest for the new egg.
And if the box happens to be in the house, or in the kitchen, I only have to pick up the egg and crack it over the pan. It’s a good system. Special delivery, you might say . . . .