I'd become suspicious of the sudden drop in egg production. So this morning, I trundled out to the South 40 (ft) in my slippers (socially, this means I've given up) to hunt down the Nest. The only clue was a pile of egg shells in the general vicinity of leftover brick and the pack of bikes. Careful inspection yielded a clutch of 20 eggs here:
Not any one of the hens is broody. In fact, I've come to discover a complete lack of maternal instincts throughout the entire flock. If there was a brooding hen, one would have been pictured atop the pile of eggs, glaring as maliciously as a chicken could glare and threatening bodily harm (again, as much as a chicken could incur harm) should one egg be tampered with in anyway. That includes omlets. In this case, a missing hen only means that the flock was actually keeping these for themselves to eat. While there are days I heartily agree with devouring one's young, noshing at ovum stage hardly affords the little fellows a chance. These hens top Medea in child chowing to say the least.
Well, at least the 19 eggs on the left (one broke during washing), add to my present egg cache of 24 which translates into a lot of quiche. In another time, I might have bartering power. Say, 2 dozen eggs for one month's electricity or 1/2 a dozen for some yarn . . . Maybe I could strike a deal with the phone company. They're good eggs.