We have eggs!!
On Wednesday morning I heard the chickens making a bit more noise than usual in the chicken coop. There was some loud “bawk, bawk, BAWK”-ing going on, much different from their usual noises I showed you in last week’s video. I suspected what might have been going on, but didn’t go and check until the afternoon. I found two eggs! One egg was laid on the shelf below the chicken’s roosting poles in the coop:
Sorry about all of the poop…. but it is a chicken coop, after all. The other egg was laid on the floor under the shelf. Can you spot it??
It’s kind of hard to see:
Chickens usually start laying eggs between 18-20 weeks of age, so ours are a little early. We’re not for sure who laid the eggs, but we have our suspicions (which were later confirmed). Agnes and one of the other chickens (one of the three I can’t tell apart) have the largest combs and wattles, so they’re the most likely culprits.
And because one picture of the two chickens with the largest combs wasn’t enough, here’s a “close up” of each:
We moved the eggs to their nesting box to try and give them the right idea. This will help them learn to lay their eggs in the boxes instead of on the floor.
|Eggs in the nesting boxes and Agnes checking the empty box out on Wednesday afternoon|
It turns out Agnes is the smartest/fastest learner. I checked the coop Thursday morning and found that someone had laid an egg on the shelf below the roosting poles again….
As I was moving the egg to the nesting box, Agnes comes running past me and jumps up into the left box, which was empty. She then proceeded to scratch around a bit and settle herself in:
I wished her well and left her to it:
When I got home from work that evening I checked the box and found that Agnes had indeed laid another egg. That’s two eggs in two days.
|The box on the left of the picture has two eggs in it because I put the other egg from Thursday morning in there.|
Hopefully all of the other chickens will learn by Agnes’ example. It wouldn’t surprise me, since it looks like they all stood around and watched her on Thursday morning:
Everyone’s watching. No pressure.
Usually you will get one egg per chicken per day. When they first start laying, it may be a bit sporadic, but once they get into a routine we can expect 42 eggs per week. They typically lay in the morning and will usually lay around the same time each day. The eggs should be collected daily to keep them from getting broken or eaten and to keep the chickens from getting broody and trying to hatch them. They can be wiped off with a dry cloth or washed if needed. Then they get stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep up to 8 1/2 weeks.
On Friday I checked the nests in the morning and found two chickens in the nesting box. I left them alone and closed the hatch door. I checked again in the afternoon and there was an egg in each of the nests the chickens had been in that morning. I didn’t find any other eggs in the coop. Looks like we have just two laying so far. Here’s a picture of Friday’s eggs in my hand, so you see their size more clearly:
They’re pretty decent-sized eggs, larger than some I’ve seen offered for sale at the farmer’s market. I was surprised because I had read when they first start laying the eggs may be very small or even have soft shells. Not our chickens!
Since they are now laying eggs, we have started transitioning them over to laying feed. You can get pellets or crumbles, but we went with pellets. The chickens currently eat chick feed crumbles and they have a tendency to spread it out all over the place. Hopefully we will have less waste with the pellets. We are transitioning them by slowly mixing in the laying feed with their current chick feed. The chickens also got a new special treat this week: cracked corn!
They scratch at it with their feet and peck the ground as they eat it. As they were pecking I told Barry “now they look like chickens” and he replied “yea, because they didn’t before.”