So the chickies are starting to pay their way in eggs...and I cannot tell you how excited I was to see the first one. Actually, I can because I took a video and posted it on facebook (yes, we are THAT weird) of the first two hens laying eggs. It was quite thrilling let me tell you!
A couple things that amazed me about the eggs...
1. It is incredible to actually watch a hen lay an egg. I don't know what I was expecting...maybe a sweet pastoral scene where the hen rests peacefully on a bed of hay and then walks away leaving a pile of pristine white eggs behind to frolic in the meadow?? In all actuality, the process looks like it is a bit difficult (and reasonably so...) and the little hen actually scwacks her head off for a few minutes before the egg plops out onto the hay. Our chickens are still "teenagers" so perhaps this will change somewhat as they get older? I dunno...but I was fascinated!
2. Speaking of teenagers...the chicken eggs are still rather small. I had read that the first eggs would be small and might not be shaped perfectly, but I was surprised at the size the first eggs were. I guess I was expecting little quail eggs or something, but the first arrivals were just slightly smaller than the "medium" size you find in the store.
3. I was also surprised to be giving away one of our first batches of eggs to the sweet neighbor who helped me capture our chickens that had found his bird feeder...don't ask...ok go ahead and ask. How did your chickens end up being chased around the yard by an adventuresome puppy, flying into fences and trying to run out into the road? Well, simple...the chickens decided that their layer feed, corn scratch, our pasta and meat scraps as well as the 2 acres of bugs, weeds and seeds available to them were not good enough. In fact, the birdseed under OUR bird feeder was not good enough for them either. Those silly birds saw a bunch of birdseed under our neighbor's tree, trotted their little behinds across the road and started chowing down on the dropped seed. Of course our neighbor's dog saw an opportunity to have a little fun, and without mortal intent started chasing the dears around the backyard. Chicken feathers were flying and there was sweet neighbor (the single, middle aged pharmacist) and me (the just out of the shower, wet hair flying and barefoot) trying to herd chickens again. Let me remind you...CHICKENS CANNOT BE HERDED. Disaster. he laughed when I gave them eggs though, so I guess neighbor relations are restored :)
4. Lastly, I expected the eggs to be brown and white according to the respective chicken breeds, but what I didn't realize is that there is variation even among the breeds. For example, Bess is a lighter Rhode Island Red with streaks of pretty tan and ivory on her back. Her eggs? Speckled brown and white. On the other hand, Mac...our first layer lays fully brown eggs. See?
5. Oh and one more....comb size relates to when the chickens will lay for the first time. I was watching the hens pretty closely because I want to make sure they learn to lay in their boxes (and not under trees...rotten eggs are NOT in our future...). I was trying to figure out whose eggs belonged to whom when I took note of the combs. Mac's comb and waddle turned quite red and grew larger overnight (literally). After a few days of that, she laid her first egg. The rest of the chickens followed suit and after asking my Aunt Jill (the queen of farm animals and animal lover extraordinaire), she let me know that even later in their life, the hens with the larger comb and waddle lay more consistently. Interesting, right?
One of the latter mysteries we are trying to figure out is whether the hens lay every 29 hours exactly or if the schedule is slightly different based on the night? They definitely don't lay at night...anybody know for sure?
Anyway, thanks to the chickies for the delicious eggs...I will have to forgive you for going across the street to greener pastures. However, you are now free ranging only within the chain link fence around the pool. Your freedom is cut short teenage girls until you get your act together!!! Lower those hemlines girls!!!