I have been anxiously awaiting eggs since I bought new chicks in July. We only had three hens, and we desperately needed new layers. In fact, this March will make our three older hens, three years old. They lay occasionally, but not like they should. I know many farmers would cull out those who are not laying, but I don’t plan to. These three ladies have been with me since the beginning, they’ve provided fresh eggs for the last three years, and now they can look forwards to a safe retirement. I hope to always be able to let my older hens retire versus going into the stock pot. (It may be different if I have a whole bunch of non layers, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.) So, as you can imagine, I’ve been excitedly checking nest boxes for weeks hoping for someone's first egg. I knew, without a doubt, it should be any day. In fact, I was thinking that last month, as they were officially over 20 weeks old. I also noticed redder combs and wattles. So every day, I’ve waited, and watched. And then it happened! January 7th, I found our very first, totally tiny, adorable white pullet egg!
I was so excited. I thanked the little ladies, unsure of who exactly it was. So, each day I quickly checked the next boxes, I got an egg the next day, and the next, and then no egg. The next day there was an egg, and then nothing. I wasn’t too alarmed, I mean, I can imagine it could take some time to get regulated. But I wasn’t seeing any new little white eggs in the nest box. I decided to just wait, the days are darker, the weather cold, I understood. A week went by, then two, and then three! I was starting to get concerned.
On the 24th, almost three weeks since the first egg was found, I did chores as normally. I put the chickens up, no eggs, and walked the goats down to their pen. When we got Ethel (New Goat), we drug the chickens old hoop house down and put it in the goat shed. Ethel had spring feet, and we could NOT keep her in a pen. We thought the totally enclosed hoop house would be the perfect solution. Lucy and Ethel have loved it, I give them hay in the old nest boxes each evening, and Ethel jumps on top of the nest boxes and eats. By the time I put the goats in the hoop house it’s usually dark. I’ve gone in there so many times I don’t need light. The night before as I put hay in I thought I saw something, but quickly pushed the thought aside. The next night I saw it again, just a glint of white. At about that time, I thought, eggs!!! I bet the chicken is laying her cute little white eggs in here! Well, I was half right, apparently she was enjoying it, and so was someone else! There were also rich, dark brown eggs along with the white ones. It confirmed my hopes, that black chicken with the golden neck was indeed a Black Copper Marans!!!!
I felt so much better after finding their hidden nest. I thought it was perfect, if they wanted to lay eggs there that was fine by me. As long as I know the place that is all that matters. The next day I didn’t find eggs in the nest box in the coop, but I knew I’d find them in the hoop house. Alas! No eggs! I thought it was a fluke, they took a break that day. But the next day no eggs, and the next. I was starting to wonder what in the world was going on! I did chores the next morning, knowing full well there would be no eggs in the nest box and I was right. As I was leaving our older white chicken jumped off the roost and the roosters attacked her. She scuttled under the nest box. I felt so bad for the old gal, I moved the nest box to grab her. I moved it, and grabbed her, and lo! Another secret laying spot!
Another nine eggs! They were only white, which I thought kind of odd. That evening there was another white egg, and then a dark brown one. Naively, I thought that I had found all the nests. But then I cleaned the goat pens, and I found another nest on the ground!! I didn’t get a picture of that one, but I think there were about 5 eggs. This weekend it’s supposed to snow, and our chickens hate the snow. I’m thinking of locking them up while the snow is on the ground so they will maybe realize the coop is where they should lay. Until then, every day I get to have an easter egg hunt!!
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My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.