Back in June we welcomed our first chicks to The Freckled Farm. People generally don’t get chicks in June, but Little B was born in April and we didn’t want to be taking care of chicks with a brand new baby in the house, or expect someone to care for the chicks or chickens while I was in the hospital. So, we waiting a little longer than we would have liked. On average it takes pullets 6 months to reach maturity and start laying. If you get your hens later in the year, like we did, you run the risk of them coming into maturity when the days are short and cold. If this happens the hens may end up waiting until spring to start laying.
Over the last few weeks I could tell that several of our hens had reached maturity, or at least were getting close, but they still weren’t giving us anything. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to buy eggs when you have hens at home that should be laying. I gave up, and resigned to the fact that we wouldn’t get anything until spring and on the 1st (the day the chickens turned 6 months old) I went grocery shopping and bought 2 dozen eggs. I was tired of buying a dozen at a time in hopes that it would the last eggs that I would have to purchase, and then having to run to the corner store to get more. Later that evening I was in the yard doing farm chores, the chickens had been roaming around the yard for several hours, and I was trying to herd them back into their coop. I put my hand over Sophia and she sat/submitted to me as if I were a rooster, which I read was a sign that chickens are ready to lay. I was excited for this new development, but for some reason I didn’t bother to check the nesting boxes at that time.
On Sunday the 2nd when I went to let the chickens out I decided to check the nesting box. I opened it up, and there, nestled in the straw and wood chips were two brown eggs! I can’t describe the feeling to seeing those eggs. I grabbed them add ran to show Big B, who was following the chickens around the yard, then ran to show my husband.
Because I hadn’t checked the box the day before and I didn’t know how many hens where laying, I did a float test (if they sink they’re good, if they float they’ve gone bad) to make sure they were both still good. Both sank so I decided that we would eat them before dinner and celebrate our farm’s growth.
I cracked them open to find these two beautiful yokes. Look how bright they are..
I made scrambled eggs. It was the quickest and easiest thing that I could think to make, that would allow us to taste the egg alone.
For week we got one egg a day from one chicken, Sophia. The rest looked like they were catching up to her, maturity wise, but none were really showing signs of laying. This past Saturday we had a friend over and I let the chickens out so she could see them. She put her hand over Topanga, and like Sophia had done to me the week before, she submitted. I looked in the nesting box to find an egg. An hour or so later we watched Sophia walk back into the coop, go into the nesting box, lay an egg, then go back to scratching for food with her sisters, proving that we now have two hens who are laying.
It’s Big B’s job to collect the egg(s) each day. What could be cuter than a little farm boy in his boots, doing chores?
The nesting box is a little high, so I still have to help him get the eggs out.
It’s so exciting, for us all, to get that egg(s) each day. Collecting eggs will one day lose it’s magic, but I hope he remembers what it was like to experience seeing those eggs for the first time. These are experiences that I want him to hold on to.
Now if everyone else would catch up with Sophia and Topanga…