Monday, July 4, 2016

First Egg!

Yesterday we found our first egg! You wouldn't believe the excitement in our house :-)

Our birds are mostly free range. We tuck them in every night for bed, but from sun up until sun down they roam the yard searching for bugs and forage. They have continuous access to feed and water, but seem to prefer to scavenge. I built their nesting boxes a few weeks ago, but we haven't finished the portion of the coop that they will go into yet. So for now they are resting on a dresser we have on our patio. I found a great tutorial here and made two sets. (Now that my chickens have started to lay eggs I'm noticing that these boxes seem just a little small? They are plenty deep, but the girls seem like they could use an inch or two more in the width. Errrrg! I don't want to make new ones, but I'm sure it is going to bother me until I do!)

I was nervous that they wouldn't use the nesting boxes because they weren't in the coop, they spend most of their time hiding out in our bushes along our property line, but I placed the fake eggs in the nesting boxes hoping they would do their job.

They did! We found Phoebe's egg right next to the fake ones :-) She is our Marans and is the only one that will lay chocolate colored eggs.

Here's a picture next to a penny for size and color reference. Her first egg was fairly small, but I expect they will get larger as she goes.

Can you tell I'm a proud chick mamma? If they're going to remain free range and they continue to lay eggs in the nesting boxes I'm wondering if I should just leave them where they are? It's kinda nice to not have to go through the coop to collect the eggs. Also they stay pretty clean where they are. They don't spend time in them other than to lay eggs, so I don't have to worry so much about dirt and waste getting on the eggs. Watching them first find the fake eggs was hysterical! They were out there for a few weeks with no notice before they found them. When they did, I went running outside to see what was going on because it was so noisy! Each of the birds took turns hopping up into the box and checking them out. Rooster was the funniest. He stood on the perch making the loudest noises while all of the hens stood on the ground cackling underneath him. It was as if he was shouting "Who's your daddy!" :-).

He even takes a turn showing the ladies how it's done!

Most of our hens are normal sized hens. Our rooster (affectionately named Rooster) is a bantam and then we have two bantam hens. I bought my bantams as a Straight run mixed batch and haven't been able to identify the grey one's breed. Does anyone have a clue?

What am I?

I'm guessing a blue or lavender ...... something? What color eggs will she lay? If you know, let me know :-) (I finally figured out what breed penny is! She is a true bantam breed which means she doesn't have a larger counterpart. She is a Self Blue (or Lavender) Belgian d'Uccle Bantam. This is so cool! I grew up in Belgium so I am even more in love with Penny now. She will lay tiny white eggs. I'm learning so much! Self blue means that the plumage color is evenly distributed over the entire birds body. There are no secondary colors such as in lacing. Now I'm wondering what will happen when I cross my white leghorn rooster with penny? Any takers?

As part of our mixed flock, I also keep a couple Ameraucanas. Sage is a beautiful Blue/Wheaten.

Yesterday she laid the most beautiful turquoise egg! I'm so in love with the color. First eggs are so much fun.

Here it is next to the Marans' chocolate egg. It was just a little bit bigger. First eggs are supposed to be quite a lot smaller than the later eggs so it will be fun to see the difference.

I had no idea that getting an egg out was so hard. I was out in the back yard working on the floor of our shed/coop section of my coop. right now they are just using the run portion of the coop during the night.

Anyhow, Sage was acting very strangely. She kept hopping up on my lap wanting to be held. which was strange because I was using loud tools like the sander and the drill. But the noise didn't stop her. She was also going in and out of the nesting boxes as if simply being in them would make the egg come out. In between hopping up on my lap and in and out of the nesting boxes she was wondering the yard like a crazed chicken. For the most part the chickens stick to the shade. They follow it all day long. Especially in this triple digit weather we've been having, but she was wondering out in the sun looking dazed. Right before she laid her egg I held her for about an hour. She then hopped up in the nesting boxes and I heard her egg drop. She also chose to lay her egg right next to the fake egg :-) Good job Sage!

I was happy to be there because I am trying really hard to identify which eggs are coming from which chickens. I have several varieties, but I have 2 of each. Some of the varieties lay similarly colored eggs, but even within the same breed there can be a difference in color, so I am trying hard to keep up with who is laying what ;-) Who'd a thought having chickens could be so much fun!

First eggs are so much fun!

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