October 4, 2014 – I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I miss laying eggs. It’s been a couple of weeks since I dutifully ambled into the second nest box on the left to shoot out my lady parts a perfectly oval, lightly speckled, brown breakfast delight. We all know that during molting season, the production department shuts down for a mandatory vacation. So today, as I hang out under the smelly bush with a few of the others, and patiently wait for the new feathers to grow in, I’m dreaming of the moment when I can once again have a few quiet minutes to myself.
Sometimes I’m in and out of the nest box in record speed, especially when I have plans for the day. But on other occasions, I linger, mulling over a kernel of brilliance. Unless of course, it’s a morning when someone is on the same laying schedule as me. Then it’s chatter, chatter, chatter. It’s an unspoken rule among chickens that you don’t look at another hen while she’s laying or speak to her while she’s focused on expelling a fragile blossom of cholesterol, but we never follow that rule in our henhouse.
Not everyone can lay an egg. Just ask the dog. He let’s out a toot and then spins around to see who’s behind him.
Nope, egg laying is an art set aside for the chosen few. Think about it. In spite of illusions of composed sophistication, a cat would take to sniffing aerosol spray cans behind the Jiffy Lube if it were expected to eject a hard-shelled elliptical each day from its cat chute.
Yes, it’s a burden and a great honor. On the days when I’m not in a hurry, I like to nestle into my nest box and picture myself a feathered cannon, shooting one grapeshot into a soft cloud of pine shavings. Other days, I take the time to read through a celebrity magazine or enter into a state of divine meditation. This usually ends in me falling asleep and being pecked in the head by whomever is waiting in line to use the nest box after me.
Most of the time, I have a particular nest all to myself. Everyone knows it’s my box. I like to bring items of comfort with me while I’m waiting and the others don’t like having to nestle in around them. Currently, this nest box is where I store my piccolo, my mason jar bug collection, my infrared binoculars and my Wooly Willie, the cartoon face toy where I can use a magnetic wand to move metal filings about and give Willie a full beard and Sonny Bono bangs. He was a great Trash Day Friday find from a couple of years ago.
I suppose what I’m really missing is the continuity. Sure, I like being unpredictable and adventuresome, but I also like our traditions. The Happy Chicken Brewing Company is bottling on an incoming-orders-only status until the molt is over and the next still of white lightning won’t get cooking until the full moon gets here. No eggs, very little beer crafting, and no shine. What’s a curious hen like me supposed to do in the meantime?