In my previous two posts I described Randa the flying chicken who established a nest containing 15 eggs in the bush and how, after much debate, I relocated Randa and her eggs to the safety of a spare coop. The dilemma was what would I do if say half of the eggs hatched, since I have chicken enough and would wind down rather than expand my chicken operations.
The potential dilemma dematerialized. Although I had prevailed on Randa to sit on her transferred eggs in the new nest box she quickly abandoned both and stared longingly at the rest of the flock lounging in the tree shade outside. I think of the film cameras we used to use – the unexposed film sits in the dark behind the lens shutter and when you press the button the shutter opens for a period of time and light from the outside reaches the negative, and then it is dark again. For 15 days Randa was in the pull of nature – she was not a domesticated chicken but a wild jungle fowl with an established nest in the wild matching wits with roving predators. But once I caught her and moved her and her eggs to the coop the spell was broken, the shutter closed, and she became an ordinary chicken again. She was still broody but did not recognize her eggs or the nest box I had made.
After two days of coop isolation I released her yesterday to the flock and although she and Wanda, the other flying chicken, quickly overflew the paddock fence to the outside, both came willingly to the coop for shutdown in the evening. And the 15 eggs? They have sat untouched for the past few days in the coop and I will bury them beneath a fruit tree to recycle their nutrients.
All of this instructive for me. When we tinker with nature the processes are more complex than we think and the outcomes can be different than imagined.