Egg-napping Marans

I have two black marans setting eggs.

Each hen was in a separate box, sitting on her own clutch of eggs. There are other boxes for the other hens to lay eggs in, too.

I haven’t been finding eggs in the other nests lately, and I suspect there’s a snake in the henhouse somewhere (again).

Suddenly, both hens are on the same nest. Nothing but feathers are left in the box the usurper once occupied.

two maran hens in the same nest
Who’s setting the eggs today?

No eggs in the vacated nest.

I checked underneath both hens.

No eggs under the usurper, who sat in front.

4 eggs under the hen toward the back. That was yesterday evening.

This morning, both hens are still on the same nest.

I checked underneath again.

4 eggs under the usurper.

None under the hen in the back.

What is going on here?

Is one hen kidnapping the other hen’s eggs? Does she give them back the next day?

I’ll have to keep checking. This is social activity I didn’t know about and am still learning, apparently.


First Hunt by Ima ErthwitchPredator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.

Nature Farming


Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.

About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


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