Friday, October 12, 2012

Lessons in Laying

Our first egg!

Ever since we got our first egg on Monday morning, one of our chickens has been laying steadily - an egg a day, right around 9:00AM. (I know because I check the coop as I'm leaving for my morning walk with the dogs at 8:30, and there is no egg. When we get back 30 or so minutes later - an egg! Like magic!) I am 90% sure Georgia is the lady currently laying - she's the biggest of our girls, a day older than Polly and Alice, and spends more time upstairs in the coop during prime egg-laying time. I hope Alice and Polly will catch up soon. I get so excited over one egg - I can't imagine the thrill that two or more will cause!

The ladies enjoy free range time.

Every time I find an egg in the coop, it feels like a small miracle. I sort of forgot that eggs were the main reason we decided to keep chickens - I got attached to the ladies and started to think of them as pets, not as a source of food. But you better believe I'm going to eat those eggs. We currently have four of them in the refrigerator, patiently awaiting a fancy weekend breakfast. Yum.  

It hasn't been all miracles and meal planning, though. The second egg we found in the coop had a hole in it. At first, I thought it had cracked when it was laid (they still aren't using the nesting boxes, preferring instead to drop their eggs on the floor). When I posted a photo of the egg on Facebook, a friend told me it looked like the chicken had pecked the egg. Apparently, this is a thing - chickens are not the brightest, and sometimes they curiously peck at and even eat their own eggs! It's a bad habit (obviously) and one that needs to be fixed ASAP.


Naturally, I consulted Google, and learned that it might be possible to fix two problems (not using nesting boxes, and curbing egg-eating) with one solution: golf balls.

Apparently, placing a golf ball in the nesting boxes will 1. show the chickens what those boxes are for ("Oh, look. That round thing looks like the round things that keep coming out of me. Maybe I should put mine in the box with that other one.") and 2. trick the chickens into thinking all round things are hard and plastic and not at all tasty ("I will peck that round thing and try to eat it. Ouch! That round thing is bad! All round things are bad! I will never peck round things again!") 

While this plan seemed a little simplistic, I am not one to argue with the wisdom of chicken experts on the Internet. I found a golf ball and promptly placed it in a nesting box.

Georgia doubts this plan.

While I am still finding eggs next to the nesting boxes rather than in them, the egg-eating seems to have stopped, which is success enough for now. I'm not going to lie - finding an egg a day in the chicken coop is pretty much the most exciting thing that has happened lately, and I don't think that means my life is boring. I think it just means that chickens are far more thrilling than I ever expected.

Keep up the good work, ladies!

Check out more chicken posts on the Clever Chick Blog Hop!