Crosstown Traffic

A math problem for you: if there are five hens and three available nest boxes, how many hens can lay eggs at one time? The answer is, all five. The general rule of physics that only so much matter can occupy so much space at any given time does not apply to hens who have ended up on the same laying schedule. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

Only one of our three nest boxes is acceptable to the ladies; the others they avoid at all costs unless they are desperate. Usually if the hen in the favored nest is deemed to be taking too long over her egg, whoever wants it next will hop up and stare at her until she gives it up. This usually has the same effect as staring at someone on the subway to make them give up their seat: it only works if the seated hen/person is ready to get up anyway. Pumpkin and Jenny have abandoned staring altogether and generally resort to haranguing and whining. While immensely irritating, this strategy is also ineffective. Ultimately everyone just has to wait her turn.

Except for yesterday. Patience was not in anyone’s vocabulary yesterday. Alice and Sally started it all off by quietly sitting on their nests, minding their own business, while Nutmeg waited hopefully (since using the empty nest box apparently wasn’t an option):

"Excuse me, ladies, are you almost finished?"

“Excuse me, ladies, are you almost finished?”

Then Pumpkin joined the queue:

Alice (in the nest at left) demonstrates a classic NYC-style stare-ignoring move.

Alice (in the nest at left) demonstrates a classic NYC-style stare-ignoring move.

The pressure tactics worked with Sally because she hopped off the nest and re-joined the queue. Note the two open nest boxes:

20150517_083042

Staring at Alice was not working, so Pumpkin and Jenny resorted to loud hectoring. Jenny flew up to the barn rafters so her complaints would be properly amplified:

"Can't you ladies hurry up?!?!?"

“Can’t you ladies hurry up?!?!?”

At some point, Sally got back in there but Nutmeg lost her place and had to start all over again:

The waiting is the hardest part.

The waiting is the hardest part.

Eventually, there were four hens in three nests:

You have to give Alice credit. She has not budged!

You have to give Alice credit. She has not budged!

(Nutmeg is an expert at cramming herself into the favorite nest box. You can see how much Sally appreciated that one day last week:)

"I'm laying here!"

Sally: “I’m laying here!” Nutmeg: “Sharing is caring!”

Meanwhile, Jenny refused to cram herself into a nest and continued to harangue from the rafters until a spot opened up.

All the fuss in the coop was just as well, since it meant the little dinos were unable to bother this visitor, who was passing through the back field:

"Coming through! Box turtle on the move!"

“Coming through! Box turtle on the move!”

His defense strategy probably wouldn’t have been as effective as the attempted strike of this garter snake, whom the ladies encountered last week:

"Hello, snake! Are you tasty?"

“Hello, snake! Are you tasty?”

"Yikes!! What was that?"

“Yikes!! What was that?”

Ladies, you’re like crosstown traffic, so hard to get through to you. Sheesh!

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