The Great Eggscape

Katie Maier

“It’s definitely an unsolved mystery,” Ms. Varner reports, “but at least we know that the chickens are okay."

It was a dark and stormy night–or rather, a partly-cloudy middle of the day–when college counselor Ms. Sarah Varner arrived at the Lovett chicken coop to find another empty nest. The thief had once again made his great eggscape. 

Lovett’s chicken coop program restarted just this school year. After the former egg-keeper, a lower school teacher, flew the coop two years ago, nobody took over the eggstensive responsibility of caring for the chickens. So, the chickens found a new home, leaving behind an empty henhouse. 

A few months ago, however, upper school teacher Ms. Switzer sent out an email to faculty to see if anyone wanted to bring back the chickens, and both Ms. Vicki Greenberg and Ms. Katie Vernon took charge of the coop. This summer, the chickens returned to the riverbank as part of a new program in which Lovett faculty can sign up to look after the chickens in week-long intervals. 

The eggspectations of Lovett chicken-sitters include checking in on the chickens a few times a week, making sure they have enough food and water, and letting them out of the coop to spread their wings. As a reward, the chicken-sitters get to take home the farm-fresh eggs that the chickens lay...usually.

Ms. Varner was eggcited to start her week of chicken-sitting in August. “I grew up with next door neighbors who had chickens,” she recalls, “so I thought it would be a fun, nostalgic throwback to when I was little and used to visit chickens next door.”

Her experience at the coop, however, proved to be more mysterious than nostalgic when she couldn’t find any eggs. Ms. Greenberg and Ms. Vernon like to monitor egg production because it can be an indicator of chicken health. The chickens lay eggs most days, so when, by Thursday, the coop was still eggless, Ms. Varner sensed that something was going on and informed the coop coordinators of the situation. 

Ms. Greenberg and Ms. Vernon got to work on the investigation only to find that, the very next week, the chickens started laying eggs again at their usual rate. It suddenly became clear that the prior week’s missing eggs had not been a matter of chicken health but instead of egg-napping. 

Now, weeks later, the chickens remain at the crime scene under the regular security of the Lovett chicken-sitters, and though there have been no further incidents, the case remains open. The chickens have readjusted well to life on the riverbank. Students and faculty alike enjoy their presence on campus, often visiting the coup to catch up with the birds before and after school while keeping an eye out for potential criminal eggtivity. 

“It’s definitely an unsolved mystery,” Ms. Varner reports, “but at least we know that the chickens are okay, and that we just have an egg-napper on the loose.”

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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