First Eggs

I’ve been really having a time of it with my chickens. I am really starting to resent them. They are just not laying eggs. I put in two nice brooder boxes for them, and every time I filled them with straw, the chickens pulled it all out. I thought they might want the boxes higher, so I stacked them. Mostly I just let them range and kept an eye out anywhere chickens might lay eggs.

Blackie, the last remaining Silver-laced Wyandotte, runs over every morning to the neighbor’s barn, where she lays her egg if she has one to lay, and where she hangs out with her friend “Old Red” until evening. We often see her ambling home across the Commons while we’re having dinner on the porch. At least she is entertaining.

My niece Dale came for a 3-day visit and we looked around for possible caches of eggs. I expected the four young chickens to start laying mid-July. That’s six weeks of frustration that has built up.

She left Tuesday, having made salsa and picked tomatoes and dug up one of the potato bags, and having eaten very nice eggs– from someone else’s farm. The chickens themselves didn’t come around and let her inspect them, either. They mostly hid beneath the pine tree by the pond.

But let’s back up. Everything was fine back when I had six lovely chickens, so adorable, often lining up on the garden cart. See how those Wyandottes all look alike??

The trouble began when we started hearing crowing. Definitely crowing. Starting at 5 am and continuing through the morning, afternoon, and into the evening. It bounced off the other houses back at us. But I couldn’t tell which of the Wyandottes (it had to be them) was the rooster.

Until I got a closer look at the tail feathers. And realized if one of these was a rooster, so was her sister. A few weeks ago we dispatched both of them while they were still tender.

I thought the hens might perk up and lay after that, but as of Tuesday, no eggs anywhere to be found. Then on Friday, I looked down next to the front door, behind the arbor vitae, where many things seem to fall, and found EIGHT green eggs!

Steve and I celebrated immediately by making a good veggie scramble as a side dish to the Friday ribs and although ribs are my favorite meal, the eggs were better.

Now, poor things, they are spending the weekend in chicken prison. And I am a fierce warden. Water and feed, well, and when I’m feeling bad for them a sleeve of very stale Ritz crackers, and this pumpkin they had already started eating when it was on the porch.

The idea is to get them to bond or at least accept that they must lay their eggs in the new brooder box. I had to do a lot of whining to get this thing, and Steve worked hard on it. Look at this deluxe piece of construction. Rain roof even. Cozy spots.

But so far they are avoiding it. No one has even gone inside to press down the straw. They’re busy dining on crackers. And when two finally broke down after 36 hours and lay their green eggs, they did so in the coop.

So that’s two eggs of the three Americaunas. I’ve yet to see a brown one from the remaining Wyandotte, and Blackie, well, she can just get to know these girls better. Wouldn’t hurt her to be a good example and lay in the brooder box. But I’m not holding my breath on that account.


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