So here is where I found today's clutch of eight eggs: inside the barn, on top of our leaf pile, behind a wall of hay. The hens had scooped a little bowl-shaped hole out of the leaves so that the eggs were hard to see if you just glance at the leaf pile. But since none of our hens are broody, the eggs did not have a chance to develop. A hen has to sit on the eggs for a number of days before they can grow and hatch into chicks. (Since broodiness has been bred out of a lot of chickens, this is not very common.) Since we moved here, we have only had one naturally hatched chick, which we named Little Shadow.
Then one day in the spring of 2013, one of our five rare Chantecler hens, Flair, disappeared. Was she eaten by a predator? Struck by a car? Nope...after 21 days she reappeared, with her one chick in tow. Little Shadow doesn't look much like her mother (in fact she takes after her dad, our Cuckoo Maran rooster), but that didn't interfere with the bond between Flair and Little Shadow. Even when she was really too big to fit, Little Shadow still liked to sleep under her mother's wing. And her mother seemed to like this closeness as well. Little Shadow was the first animal "born" (well, hatched) at Claret Farm, so she'll always be special to us. ...There were other eggs in her clutch that didn't hatch. But Little Shadow has produced far more eggs than the ones we didn't get a chance to eat.