I trudged out to the chicken coop this morning, ready to clean it as I do daily. What a total surprise to find this tiny perfect egg waiting in the nest, next to the golf ball that had been sitting there for a month (supposed to give the hens ideas).
I don't know which hen was the prodigal layer, but they all got a nice plate of porridge and berries to celebrate.
Unfortunately this welcome arrival was counterbalanced by the sad, bedraggled appearance of the one hen the others gang up on. Everyone says she's got to go to the stew pot. This is the one aspect of caring for animals that I've always found so difficult - the death factor. I don't have the same kind of emotional bond with the chickens that I have had with my pets, but that doesn't seem to make the thought of one of them dying, let alone at my hands, any easier.