Generally, chickens don't appear to be terribly intelligent, but I've gotta hand it to them because they do have their moments.
Tom accidently locked our chickens out of the coop today so they had to find another place to lay their eggs. I don't know where that place was, but I hope they forget by tomorrow and return to depositing their eggs in the nesting boxes.
In my search for the missing eggs, I took a peek in the stall where sitting chicken is. There was an egg on the floor. I thought that maybe one of the hens had found her way in there and thought it was a nice place to leave an egg, so I went in to get it. But it had gunk on it and smelled a bit funky. So, I took it far out in the field and threw it down. Now, remember, just a few weeks ago a reader warned me that rotten eggs will explode. But, did I think of that at all? Nope. Totally gone from my mind, that warning was.
Anyway, the egg did not break as I expected (I wanted to see if there was a partially developed chick in it). Since it didn't break on it's own, I poked it with a stick once, twice, thrice "POW!" Stinky rotten egg splatted everywhere. Oh, the stink.
I don't think any of it got on me, but I still smell it an hour later. It must be in my sinuses.
Rotten egg and my not-genuis-poking-of-the-egg aside, the main event here is that the sitting hen knew that egg was bad and she somehow got it out of that nest and onto the floor of the stall without breaking it. I assumed she rolled it - out of the nest, up over the lip of the cage, letting it drop to the wooden platform, then rolling it off of the platform and several feet away. Even if the egg had rolled and dropped off of the platform by itself, it would not have rolled on that sandy floor, so she would have to have rolled it some more. She didn't want that stinky egg to explode anywhere near her.
Tom suggested she might have tucked it up under her wing and carried it out, which, I suppose, is a possibility, since she does sometimes hold the eggs up under her wings.
To be sure it was one of hers, I took her off her nest (with much protestation and hen growling) to count (and smell) her eggs. There were eight and there used to be nine. One of the others smelled a bit funky. I don't know if it's because it's going bad or because it had a bit of gunk on it. I guess I'll know in a couple of days if the hen discards another egg.
In the meantime, I haven't lost any of my incubator eggs to rot and today is the last day to turn them. Pipping day in three days.