I’m tickled to death to announce that one of my chickens has started laying eggs! I found the first adorable, little brown egg four days ago. It was on the ground in the run and was a bit muddied because it spent the night outside in the rain (top photo). Unfortunately, I didn’t discover it until I put the girls in their run the next morning. That didn’t keep me from feeling as giddy as a child on Christmas morning!
Since then, I have found four more pretty brown eggs. Two of them appeared less than 26 hours apart, which is approximately how long it takes a chicken to create and lay an egg. Amazing, isn’t it? That makes me wonder if two of the girls started laying at the same time. Then again, when a hen first starts laying eggs, it takes her a while to get on schedule. Not only that, but first eggs are smaller and sometimes have soft or wrinkled shells. Fortunately, my first eggs have had very hard, flawless shells. I hope the other five girls follow suit.
The chickens recently turned 18 weeks old, which meant they could start laying at any time. Their starter/grower feed ran out last week, so I purchased their first bag of layer feed. I wondered if it was too soon. My worry was put to rest a few days later when an egg appeared. Is that good timing, or what?! In addition to their commercial feed, they free range on bugs and weeds, and snack on treats such as meal worms, watermelon, cooked pasta, frozen peas, apples, lettuce, cornbread, and fresh veggie scraps. I have some well-fed chickens, indeed!
The first three eggs were either muddy or poo covered. Ick. Two were laid in the run and one on the coop floor. So much for the carefully planned nesting boxes in the coop. Perhaps if they had access to the coop during the day, the mystery layer (can’t figure out which one is laying) would have trotted inside and deposited her egg in the designated area. That doesn’t explain the egg I found on the coop floor though. I’m guessing the poor chicken didn’t know what was happening the first few times.
To accommodate Mystery Layer’s early afternoon laying schedule (while outside in the run), I purchased an inexpensive stacking bin with a cover and set it in the outdoor run. The lip at the bottom edge holds the wood shavings in and the lid adds privacy as well as protection from the weather. It’s like the bin was made for this very purpose. At first, the chickens thought it was a cool new piece of playground equipment and a great place to poop (on the lid). Ugh. I wondered if Mystery Layer’s instincts would kick in. Would she understand that this box was an egg depository? It seemed like a long shot, but I hoped for the best. Guess what? The day after I installed the outdoor nesting box, Mystery Layer laid a nice, clean egg in it. Yes! The next day, she laid another egg in the outdoor nesting box. Good chicken.
People really do need to give chickens more credit.
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