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The Mystery of the Disappearing Eggs

I've been staying in New Zealand on my daughter's small 'Life-style block' near Christchurch.  In the UK it would be called a small-holding.  There's an orchard, an organic garden, paddocks containing two cows and a patch of woodland where chickens and ducks roam free inside a wire 'chicken prison'.

Farming is a thankless business.  My father always maintained that livestock had an intrinsic death wish from the moment they were born and his entire life was devoted to keeping them alive against an army of predators, diseases, the weather and that inbred lack of the will to live. 

My daughter Meredith has a similar struggle on the plains of Canterbury. Chickens and ducks are a particular problem.  One morning when I was there a duck was found mysteriously drowned in the paddling pool (6 inches deep and about 2 feet across!) . Hen harriers circle the air above the chicken run hoping to get lucky.  Another morning one of the small pullets was found to be miss…

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