i've mentioned our chickens before. it's not too long before we'll have had them for a whole year! and what a lot we've learned. i've learned to keep the terrace door closed so that they can't come in and make themselves at home (they also tend to eat the cat food while they're there).
we've not had to buy eggs for months, except for a couple of weeks during the coldest part of the winter when they crossed their little chicken legs and held those eggs inside.
we've had broody hens and tho' we had our doubts, it has resulted in an actual, live chick! the chick is one of the little black swedish ones (no idea yet if it's a boy or a girl), tho' the mama is a brown danish hen. one of the black hens must have slipped it in under her when she was off the nest. we've noticed that they like to do that. in the end, she was sitting on 4 eggs, but only 1 hatched.
tho' our chickens live in a palace of a chicken coop called chez poulet, they run around wherever they want during the day, totally free range. and with three hens currently broody and taking up 3 of our 5 nest boxes, this has meant stashes of eggs here and there, since the laying hens find it too crowded in there. i found one stash of 12 and another one today of 5, but i'm sure there are other locations i haven't found.
husband decided on the weekend to remedy that by building a brooding addition onto the back of chez poulet. when i got home this evening, it was nearly dark and he was putting the finishing touches on it. tomorrow, i will fill it with straw and move the three laying hens and whatever eggs they're sitting on out there. it will also be a good place for them to be with their little ones once they hatch, as our mama above needed to be separated from the others for about a week and they needed a heat lamp. interestingly, she chose herself when to move back into the main coop. those hens are smarter than they look.
and that's probably been the biggest lesson we've learned. chickens aren't as dumb as we thought they were. they're actually quite organized, have a huge vocabulary, take care of their babies and are a great help spreading out horse and rabbit poo in the garden. i don't know how we ever got along with them.