BOTH incubators in the barn are full of eggs, and any hen that shows the slightest desire to go broody, has had a clutch pushed under her.

I can then offer her a maternity suite from one of several old dog carrier boxes.

I also seem to have been identified as the destination of choice for broody banties discovered on friend's farms who have a nest of eggs laid in unlikely places, such as a bucket and a wheelbarrow.

It has added at least an hour to my evening round up of chores, checking that water bowls and feed trays are full and how close all these eggs are to hatching.

To do that I float the eggs in a bucket of warm water. If the eggs float and then rock I judge how close to hatching time they are. It is by no means a precise science, but at least it gives me a clue as to which eggs are fertile and which are not.

Meanwhile, the pond in our paddock is rapidly drying up, and the ducks and geese are desperate for even a puddle to wallow in. They do have several old paddling pools, but they lack that lovely depth of gloopy mud a puddle has.

The pond has been especially loved by our orphaned greylag goose. Only able to walk/hop on one leg, once on the pond this goose sailed serenely all day long.

In fact, we had to catch and carry her/him at night time to bring it back to its run and bowl of corn. Could take quite a long time if the goose was determined not to swim close enough to the pond’s edge for us to shoo it off.

But last night no goose. Not on the water and not in any corner of the paddock. Over the last few weeks he/she had gained strength in its wings and once out of the run in the morning would flap/fly/flutter straight to the water.

With no rain, however, recently, and over a score of ducks and geese in the pond, the destination had turned into a quagmire. Our wild goose must have thought, time to go. But where?

Through the village WhatsApp group I have traced our escapee's route. Somehow it must have flown over the fence because it has been seen in a neighbour’s paddock, on another neighbour's pond and hitchhiking on the lane though the village.

But the trail has gone cold and for 24 hours no one has seen our greylag. I’m afraid that if a fox was feeling a little peckish, our escapee’s goose was well and truly cooked.