Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Golden Egg

I remember well our first egg, we had all been watching for it, knowing it would be any day that our young chickens, called pullets would begin laying their first highly anticipated eggs.  This was a year and a half ago, and the hens were still in the basement of the coop, since the upper floor had yet to be finished.  We created a couple spots for them to be comfortable enough to lay an egg. 

It takes a hen about 5 months to begin laying, so when you get day old chicks in the Spring, you'll begin to get eggs around the first part of September.   The first egg your hens lay is really special, there has likely been a lot of money spent with no return, until now.  Those first five months, I remember well all the hard chickens lessons we learned.  No one can quite prepare you for it, as every situation is different.   Because we went through losing some right before they began laying, I was extra careful to make sure the 7 we had left were guarded closely.   

Raising chickens makes you aware of their vulnerability, and total reliance on your care.   They need to be fed, watered, and cleaned up after.  They also need to be guarded when you let them out to eat grass and free range.  They need a safe place to sleep on perches, and a good place to lay eggs and  make a nest.  If you have broody hens, they need a quiet corner to sit for several weeks, and baby chicks need to be protected from rodents, and kept extra safe at night.

That first year, we had to crawl under and look for eggs in the basement, we always kept it clean with fresh shavings or straw.  This is Tessa that first day she found an egg.

Ruby getting ready to lay an egg, in her nest box.

Kaley with our first egg, we were all so proud that day of our chickens, and that we had managed to keep some alive through those first 5 months to actually lay an egg.

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