Three have a mystery to solve..

Three have a mystery to solve..

And it’s…

The mystery of the missing egg.

Our first egg was a precious find, nestled at the entrance of our home made hen house. But then weeks went by without us finding any more, was it a one off? Or were the eggs scattered about the 2 acres of hillside that Big Beak, Hen Solo, Eggy Izzard and Henrietta roamed around, happily, defining free range.

We just didn’t know, until one day, whilst pottering around the garden we accidentally noticed a massive crop of eggs – whoop, whoop! Our hens had been laying all along. We excitedly collected our first clutch of eggs – from a beautiful ‘cave’ tucked into the stone wall of the flowering terrace in front of our traditional farm cottage. We were quite frankly thrilled to finally get to use the egg basket we’d brought with us from England for this very purpose. After some now obligatory selfies with our eggs we rushed off to social media to tell the world and to publish the pictures and also to think about and munch on some egg based dishes.

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We then remembered we were supposed to leave one in the ‘nest’ to encourage the hens to keep laying in that spot. So, we marked one of the eggs with a cross and put it back in the same place. Next morning, eager with anticipation we checked our treasure cave for fresh eggs, how many would there be??

None. That’s how many. Not 4 extras and a forlorn egg called x. No eggs, a blank space with no ‘X’ marking it. An empty nest. We were sad, our lonely ‘x’ marked egg far from encouraging our hens to keep laying in the spot we had finally discovered, had been stolen from us.

But, who or what had taken our egg? We had to find out, so that evening we placed another one of our eggs in the spot, we angled our camera trap to focus in on the cave and the egg bait and we went to bed.

Dawn broke, time to check, and yes again the egg was gone. Time to see what had happened, we switched off our camera, took out the SD card and popped it into the laptop where after several visits by Big Beak the hen by day we see a night-time video..

You’ll have to follow this link to see it in action.. This gorgeous little marten, her mouth stuffed full with a hen’s egg was our thief, presumably either pregnant or feeding her young, she must have taken it all the way back down the hill to her nest in the valley where we have watched her, alone, with her partner and with young for the last year.

DSC_2654-001The hens have now stopped laying in that spot, whether it’s the surveillance or the furry thief that put them off we just don’t know, but we have discovered another 21 eggs in another clutch and 5 in yet another. And for now we know where they are laying (and it is conveniently close to the kitchen!) so we are collecting 4 warm – literally just laid eggs each morning. #smuggoodlifers. For now.


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