Return of the Machine?

July 9, 2008 § Leave a comment

After a long break (over four months – last egg 29th Feb!!) Venus has rejoined the laying! 

She gave plenty of warning – a typical “I’ve got an egg! I’ve laid an egg! I’ve laid a– oh, hang on, no I haven’t.” cackle at about 8:30. I dutifully trekked out, but there was nothing to see. I put a nestegg in one side, just to reassure her that this was the right place (she’s never used the nestbox in the Summer Palace/Winter Garden, and getting her to use a nestbox the first time around in the Tractor was quite a saga).

Then there was another cackle (same sort) about half an hour later. No, still no egg. But I could tell that she’d been in the nestbox – she’d buried the nestegg. Sigh! Back inside.

I think this went on about twice more. Each time, she’d disappear into the house for about ten minutes, before coming out and suffering the embarrassment (hah!) of premature cackleation. So when she went in at around ten o’clock, and stayed quiet for quite a while … I was hopeful.

Just on 11 am she came out and cackled her head off. Hooray! I thought, and toddle out. By the time I got to the Winter Garden she was looking a bit shifty, so I was suspicious. She’d started hoeing in to the pellets though (the usual sign of having just laid). Opened the nestbox … no egg.

So I knew what was coming next. The rotten thing went and stood with her bum over one of the beams in the middle of the run, looked confused, squatted, and popped out her egg.

If I’d been a bit faster I could have caught it.

Fortunately it missed the timber, so I scrambled in and collected it before she or Ella could put their great feet on it and puncture it (unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence, which is why you want them to lay it in the nestbox). 74 grams, and actually a fairly pale brown, compared to last year. Although, given the amount of pigment she seems to be losing (see ‘Venus is an AustraWhat?‘), it wouldn’t have surprised me much if it had been white!

So, it remains to be seen how quickly she gets back into the swing of it all. Last year she started laying on June 21st, and had laid a baker’s dozen (not including one, possibly two, shell-less) by July 7th!

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