At 10:00 last night, Emma and I crept out to the hangar with a cage, an egg basket, and two heavy flashlights. Emma grabbed some hay and made a nest in the cage, then carried it to the front of the tractor where Zsa Zsa sat on her nest in the front end loader.
We had high hopes of snatching Zsa Zsa and locking her in the cage. Then Emma dropped the flashlight on her right big toe and squealed. Zsa Zsa knew something was up. Emma recovered herself and edged close to Zsa Zsa. She got her hands on her; there was a scuffle, and Zsa Zsa scurried away screaming with terror, bumping into the zero-turn mower as she escaped into the moonlight.
We went to Plan B: Procure and count the eggs. Emma counted 25 as she put them in the basket. That was probably about 15 too many, since only two of them were Zsa Zsa's. The rest were huge ones from the heavy birds. Some of the eggs were cold and that made Emma sad. Poor little Zsa Zsa had tried so hard to keep them all covered.
As we crossed the back yard toward the house, we saw Zsa Zsa run under my mom and dad's house. I worried about possums getting her, but I didn't dare mention it to Emma.
Back in the house, Emma retreated with the eggs to her candling room. Very few of the eggs, maybe four, appeared to have living chicks in them. All of those four were green eggs. Emma told me that it looked like some of those chicks may be stuck to the side of the egg from not getting turned properly.
She added all of the eggs to the incubator, just in case. She will cull in a few days.
We are waiting for daylight to look for Zsa Zsa. Maybe today we'll be able to catch her, lock her in a cage, and set her up with a manageable number of eggs, safe from the big hens.