Farmer's Note: The Case of the Egg Sting

The Case of the Egg Sting

The background: You all know that we have laying hens out on pasture. They start laying eggs around 10 a.m. and continue to about 4 p.m.-ish. We average around 325 per day at this time of year. Every night our closing shift person starts at about 7 p.m. to collect and count the eggs.  That person writes down the number collected so we can forecast what is available for the members. 

One random night the egg count dropped to 109. Hens don’t decide to just “take a night off." Then it happened again, twice, the following week. We had to take action….

The Set Up: Clearly the culprits were coming between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. when the staff was ending its day (other than the person closing). We needed some fencing done so we sent a guy up on the hill where this particular house was residing. He was in the wooded area, truck hidden by trees, working on the fencing. The wood gave him cover and allowed him to keep an eye out for the felon.

Nights passed. No one showed. The fence was fixed. Hating to waste time, the post was abandoned. The next day the egg count dropped again.

The Hook: Speculation with the staff was wild. Who would know the times to steal? Who would have the “cojones” to drive onto the property (no one could walk and carry that many) in broad daylight? We put up a video camera with time-lapse photography. 

The Double Cross: After five days we experienced another drop in egg count. Viewing the tape we found nothing out of the ordinary. We saw the staff to opened the house in the a.m., then Kim taking the school tours around to see all the animals, followed by the closer that discovers the ‘lack’ of eggs. However, we’d been robbed again!

The Sting:  Really? This is crossing the line. Stealing from us, from our members.  Not okay. I took my laptop out and sat under a tree working all day. I watched Kim bring a bunch of kids on tour around 1 p.m., then a few members bring their kids up. I waived at everyone but stayed secluded otherwise. By closing time we again had been robbed. I swear the nap I took was only for a minute. How could this be happening? Someone was playing us and we had been stung again.

The Tale:  A week passed. No culprit was apprehended. Egg count remained high. As I was looking at my event calendar I had been adding a notation to it showing the days we had been robbed.  There in broad daylight I saw a pattern. To test my theory, I went along on a tour Kim was leading that day with 60 kids and parents. Out to the hen house they went, picked all the eggs, put them in a basket and walked to the store to put them in cartons. Every time there was a tour with kids, we lost egg count.

With the mystery solved and my confidence restored in humanity, we gave Kim a black and white striped shirt and put her picture up in the store as “most wanted” by the farm anyway.

As Sherlock always said “deduction, my dear Watson, deduction”.