First thing in the morning they all charge out - and last thing at night they all congregate ready for their evening meal - and we see them during the day too of course.
Zola stopped turning up in the evening for her night time meal - but would appear in the morning before we got up. The egg count went down - so it meant that she had 'gone native' again and was hiding someone laying her eggs and sitting on them.
I hunted in all the usual places but couldn't find her. Under the hedges, and pots, in sneaky hideaway places like behind the compost bins - without any luck.
Then yesterday, after spying on her having her breakfast - she sneakily looked around to see if anyone was looking, then jumped up on the wall and disappeared!
I kept meaning to clear out this corner - and now was the time to do it!
I pulled away all the compost sacks and weeding bags
Then I got down to the stacked garden tools (we are awaiting help to put up a shed). Nothing could possibly get into this corner - there's a tray and an empty cage.
Or could it?
She was hard to see with the naked eye - but by enlarging the photo I could just make her out underneathe the cage!
How she managed to get through all those bags and sacks and squeeze herself under there I do not know!
Once I had carefully removed gardening shears, spades, forks, brooms, bags, sacks, and finally the cage she was exposed - and not best pleased I can tell you. She pecked me like a demon - but as she is so little her pecks did not hurt in the slightest!
She was sitting on 9 eggs!
I did the float test - they all sank, so were all fresh - the result of going awol for ten days!
We had them for lunch with potato wedges - yes we are still eating the spuds I grew last year - and they were delicious!
I had a really good sort out under there and found another egg behind the big metal chest - it had been there for so long that is was as light as a feather! So it was composted.
Zola has decided not to bother going broody now that I have found her hiding place, bless her, and she is much happier for it too!
Oh, talking about composting, I must make the time to tell you about my new pets