CLUTCHING what seemed like a bundle of old newspapers, friends arrived for supper last night with a very welcome gift. Goose eggs.

We now have a goose egg production system in place. As yet another one of my hens goes broody, John knocks together a nest box for her, and pops three eggs in to incubate.

So far nearly every hen has cooperated, delighted to settle down onto three, I would have thought, uncomfortably large imposters.

My broody hens have already thoughtfully denuded their tummies of feathers so that the eggs will receive a maximum heat to egg ratio.

Nature is so clever. The first candidate for sitting eggs was outed as an imposter because her belly was still fully feathered.

With egg production in full swing, the only members of my flock not apparently cooperating are the guinea fowl. As usual. I had tried to allocate time in the day to track their movements so I could find out where they were laying. d tracker systems to the darn birds.

Never mind this free range ideal. These birds were going to be incarcerated so I least knew their whereabouts.

They had foolishly started to use an old hen house to roost in, so as the run for this potential guinea fowl prison was netted over from the time of the avian flu threat, their free range days have been cut short.

For two days I found guinea fowl eggs laid in the straw of the hut. But after that, and it has been nearly a week now, zilch.

Half-way through the week in my frustrated search through the straw for their eggs, I found a large hole, beautifully chewed through the hen hut floor by an apparently very purposeful rat.

A large brick is now plonked over that particular hole and some vicious looking rat traps set. But still no eggs.

I wondered if the frisky lambs in the adjoining paddock were upsetting the job. Their favourite game had been to hide under the hut which is set off the ground on railway sleepers.

Which also begs the question of how the rats had been able to actually get up high enough to chew through the hen hut floor.

Were they far more intelligent than even scientists have given them credit for, and have they found a way of balancing on each other’s shoulders to chew their way in.

Next step clearly some security cameras. I’ll solve this mystery yet.