Lightly Poached

When I decided to try my hand at raising laying hens from day-olds, you can be sure I read everything I could lay my hands on about egg production and caring for the flock. Hence, I was prepared for the drop in production during the cold, short days of winter. Still, even in winter the girls managed to put out eight or nine of their wonderful café-au-lait ovals every day, seeming almost anxious and apologetic when I came to collect. Nevermind I assured them, armed with my recently acquired knowledge of all things poultry, soon the days will be longer and you’ll be able to venture outside and get some sunshine. Sure enough, February provided a good number of mild days and the girls trampled a path from the barn to the south facing lean-to where they scratched in the dirt and sunworshipped for several afternoons. But still the egg count remained on the light side. In fact, it continued to diminish. Once again I hauled out my books, cosily curled up on the loveseat with my glossy black dog at my feet. Really, he was quite glossy considering the little grooming he gets. As I flipped through the pages, seeking out advice on moulting and other impediments to laying, I couldn’t help but remark on how the sun reflected off that dog’s coat. A niggling suspicion took hold in the back of my brain…

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