I call him Buster. He is the sole remaining rooster for our flock, and I love his fluffy thighs. He has never threatened us with violence. We appreciate that and bless his life in return. He may also be the progenitor of birds unknown, but this is yet to be seen.
I heard from Edmund that if you want uniform fertilization for your eggs, you need to keep one rooster for every 10 hens. We have 22 hens right now, more than double what is advised. This would not be an issue if our hens were entirely disinterested in their own production.
But this is not the case. This hen went broody at the tail end of March. I went into the egg mobile one day and noticed that her head was unusually low, like you see it here. The Dark Cornish hens are very sleek when on their feet. Their feathers lie close to their bodies, making them look more like dinosaurs than the typical plump backyard hen. The day I noticed something was different, she had fluffed her plumage to fill the entire space of the nesting box.
A hen hatching out a bunch of adorable mutt-chicks sounds lovely to me (and sustainable, for that matter). But what doesn't sound as precious is the idea of her heating a bunch of unfertilized eggs for three weeks (or more) and then cleaning up a filthy mess while she, now disenfranchised, protests. There is just no way to know until one or the other happens. Oh well. We'll see.
So aside from going broody, the hens have taken to laying in unconventional places. Mostly they lay here in the hay.
While collecting these eggs, I heard a hen squawking from above the housing for the well in the red barn. I took out the ladder and found 9 eggs proceeding down the crevice by the wall.
I used them in a quiche with the only other thing we are producing on the farm right now - dandelion greens. It was wonderful. If you are reading this, and are in a climate similar to our own, now is the time! Bring in your dandelion greens before they become bitter!
So, beyond laying in unknown locations, or refusing me access, one hen surpassed the rest and forewent the shell entirely, laying an egg cloaked only in a membrane.
I didn't make anything with that. But I should have, because aside from being particularly naked, it looked perfectly good... when I got rid of it.