About a year ago, I went to put the chickens up for the night, and, upon counting them, discovered that one was missing.

Silver_Ameraucana_Pullet

Courtesy wikipedia

She looks like this, but with the fluffiest bum you ever saw.

Anyhow, Miss Fluffybum was not in the hen house. Nor could my husband or I find her in the hen yard (though it was 10 pm, dark, and we only had flashlights). I remembered at this point that a few nights previously I had heard a squawk outside my back door, but had seen nothing when I went to check. I thus decided that Miss Fluffybum had met a cruel fate at the paws of a predator. The next day I checked more thoroughly, not finding any feathers or remains. I did, however, find Miss Fluffybum pecking contentedly with the flock.

Flabbergasted, I grabbed my husband as soon as he was home to show him. But when I took him out to the flock, Miss Fluffybum was nowhere to be seen. He thought I was miscounting my birds. But the next day I saw her again with the flock. That night I decided to get to the bottom of the mystery.

When it  was twilight, dark enough that the flock had gone to roost, but light enough I could search easily for a missing hen, I went out and shut up the flock. Miss Fluffybum was not in the coop with the rest, nor was she anywhere visible.

I would like to say that I was able to find her by myself, but my son actually led to the break in the case. He said he had seen a chicken fly over the fence and run to the house earlier. We walked over to investigate. By the house, behind old tomato cages, and leftover wire fencing, we found her. Can you guess her secret?

fluffybuttnest

Experienced flock owners probably had guessed the answer from the title, but at the time I was surprised to find a lovely little nest that she had stolen away. It really was the cutest thing, with twenty or so eggs in it. I tried to get a picture with her on it, but our discovery had greatly upset her, and she flew back to the hen yard to sulk.

missfluffybum

I locked her up in the coop with the other hens for the night, and the next day her brood was completely broken. I felt a little bad, except for the fact that: a) it was too late in the season to hatch out chicks, b) we didn’t want any more chicks and c) we didn’t (and don’t) have a rooster in the first place! Those eggs were never fertile.

I have since had a couple of hens go broody in our nest boxes, and I routinely root them out and turn the boxes around. We have also found a couple of nests outside the coop in the henyard, and one other hen hiding away with a nest. It almost makes me want to get a rooster to fulfill these poor dears maternal desires.