More pictures here!
All the chicken books and blogs remark on the thrill of finally seeing your first egg; I am here to tell you, it is beyond thrilling. As a matter of fact, I have been searching for the correct word for over two weeks since opening the back of the coop and staring for a good five minutes at our first lovely, brown egg. Unlike what most books led me to believe, there wasn't a lot of commotion on the day I found the first egg. The Ladies all came out of the coop with their normal attention to being the first to get the dried worms.
JJ, the Dominique, was the first to lay and she has put out nearly one a day ever since. Right from the start they were perfect: Oval, evenly colored light brown, and resting quietly in the nesting box. The shells are quite a bit thicker than the store bought eggs: Our ladies have access to oyster shells to meet their calcium requirements; most commercial egg producers limit the amount of calcium provided to chickens to ensure that the shells aren’t too hard for the consumers. But we like our ladies to have what they need when they need it; pounding a little harder on the side of the bowl is not a problem for us.
And pound we did! We have fried them and put them into a quiche and they are marvelous. Such dark golden yokes and so fresh the whites don’t even run all over the pan but sit in a nice oval while popping away in the butter.
Since then, two others have gotten into the game. One for sure is Dom, the Jersey Giant who has laid one perfect dark-brown egg and then one egg without much of a shell. We found another egg without a shell in the run and don’t know whose it was . . . my guess is it belonged to Buffy who has required extra holding and petting lately. These kind of mishaps are common among new layers and we should be seeing more solid eggs soon.
In Pirate news, he spends most of his days outside, either in the tractor or running free, but still comes in for the night. When he is running free, only Goldie Hen really seeks him out to give him a good peck behind the head; that is, when she can catch him. The others appear to be starting to let him in just a tiny bit; and by that I mean they tend to ignore him. It will be another month at least before I am ready to send him into their coop full time. He needs some more fighting weight. Then again, he might just end up with his own condo in the heated garage.
We have upgraded the coop a bit to provide us a little freedom by adding the Pullet Shut Chicken Door. It is an automatic door that opens and closes on a schedule. Alan had discovered this many months ago (perhaps even prior to the Ladies arriving) and I was hesitant wondering what would happen if it closed and someone was locked out. But now that we know their schedule, there is little fear of that: They walk up the ramp every night at the same time and then, within an hour, are almost impossible to move from their roosting spots. So a door on a schedule should work just fine.
PS: Anyone want to place a bet on whether Pirate scores his own indoor condo?