Tag: eggs

The Chicken Chronicles

I knew it was bound to happen.  This is the first week that the ladies have went down in their egg production. Last week the ladies laid 38 eggs, and I had hoped for about 42-44 this week, but they only laid 36.  I am not sure if this was just an off week — they did have two days where the numbers were low, or if the time of year has come where the amounts will begin to decrease.  That said, today was a seven egg day.

OH!  Speaking of today’s eggs – I have long had a suspicion that one of the Easter Eggers is laying a “pink” egg.  I put that in quotes, because it looks quite similar to the brown eggs of the Rhode Island Reds, just lighter in color.  I have been waiting for the day where five brown eggs show up because that would mean that lighter one is indeed a pink egg from an Easter Egger.  That has yet to happen, but today something just about as good happened.  Four brown eggs were laid today and none of them were lighter in color.  This almost certainly means that the lighter colored egg is from an Easter Egger.

I kind of dread the winter with the girls.  Even now, when we don’t get out there as soon as the sun is up, they have their coop in a mess.  We could leave the door to the run open, but I like the added protection it offers.  Even so, come winter we may have to leave it closed some to keep the warmth in with the hens.  Only time will tell, I suppose.

The Chicken Chronicles

My egg-laying ladies have just finished another record-breaking week.  The new record is 38 eggs, or 3.8 eggs a week per bird.  I am expecting an average next spring of about 5-6 eggs per bird, so we are still several eggs a week short of that, but we are getting there.  If things go as they have in past weeks, they should lay a total of 42-44 eggs this week.

Speaking of records, today they once again tied the record for the most eggs in a day with seven!  This was a special day for another reason though.  We have our first green egg!  All of our Easter Eggers have laid blue eggs so far, with the possible exception of a possible pink layer (time will tell if it is a Rhode Island Red with a light-colored egg or not), but we haven’t had a green egg yet.  What that tells me is that we now have a new layer!  Woot!  Let me share a picture:

Seven eggs, including a new green one.

Seven eggs, including a new green one.

The color isn’t perfect in this picture, but the green egg is the second one from the top on the left.

Speaking of that, did you know that a chicken will, more or less, lay the same color egg daily?  I think this is probably most pronounced in Aracanas, Americanas, or Easter Eggers since they lay eggs with more varying degrees of color, but it is true for all birds.  In other words, the pink egg I have mentioned above is laid by one bird, which I have yet to identify.  Since I am not around the house when they are laying, the only way I am going to know for sure, I think, is if I find five reddish brown/pink eggs in one day.  If so, then one of them had to have been laid by one of the Easter Eggers since I only have four Rhode Island Reds.  🙂

I think the egg-laying ladies aren’t sure what to do with the change of the seasons.  We are coming out to let them down to their run a little later than we had been due to the later sunrise, and the last few days they have had the coop in an absolute mess, as if they are chomping at the bit to get downstairs.  I would love to just leave the door open, but I also like the added protection it gives in case a raccoon or an opossum gets into the run during the night somehow.”

One last comment on the eggs for now – last night we had breakfast for supper.  There were enough eggs laid in the last few days to feed my entire family.  Woot!

Oh, one last thing!  Maybe you will enjoy this video as much as I did:

The Chicken Chronicles

The ladies have really stepped it up this week.  Their previous record on eggs was 25 a week, and this week they layed seven more, upping that record to 32!  The most interesting thing is the Easter Eggers are hardly laying at all yet.  They are only averaging 2.3 eggs a week per bird, and once they are laying at full capacity this should be around 5 eggs a week per bird.

Oh, I do have an egg pic to share this week.  This is from their record day of SEVEN EGGS!

Seven eggs!  This is the most we have gotten in a single day to this point.

Seven eggs! This is the most we have gotten in a single day to this point.

Even though the run is secure, we have always locked the ladies in their coop at the end of the day.  I figure that this is an added layer of security if a raccoon or opossum gets into the run during the night.  Well, about a week or so ago we found two birds hanging out below the coop in the run when we went down to let them out in the morning!  These two ladies had presumably suffered all night outside of the coop.  Determined this would never happen again, we have been diligently watching for this at night.  Well, on Saturday night when we went down to shut the door, there were two of the Easter Eggers sleeping on a roosting pole in the run!  Those silly ladies!  We ended up leaving the door open that night, but going forward we will pull that roosting pole out toward the end of the day to prevent this from happening again.

The ladies are getting more brave.  I might have mentioned this last week, but I will say it here again.  In the past, they would stay all together and relatively close to the run when we let them out to stretch their wings and eat some grass.  In fact, let me back up.  In the beginning, we would move them from the run to a dog cage, where they could get fresh grass, but be protected.  As soon as we were confident that they could take care of themselves, we began letting them run in the yard, but what did they do?  They ran to the dog cage!  Finally they got past that, and then they would all hang close to the run together.  Then they started wandering a little further away, but generally together.  Now they are going all over the back yard, and sometimes they are going solo.  It’s nice to see them getting more brave, but it also makes it harder to round them up to go back in the run.

All this typing about them running around the yard is making me long for the proper homestead property even more.  One day …

The Chicken Chronicles

Since the ladies have started laying, I have been tracking the number and the size of the eggs.  It is nice to see both numbers increase a little each week, even though I sure don’t notice it during the week.  Candidly, I am often threatening them that if they don’t provide fresh eggs I will be eating fresh meat.  🙂  Yes, it is nothing but an empty threat, but maybe it will inspire the ladies to lay a little more.

I'm trying to encourage the ladies by showing them their good work.

I’m trying to encourage the ladies by showing them their good work.

We ended up with five eggs each day for three days in a row, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and both Friday and Saturday the Easter Eggers outlayed the Rhode Island Reds, which is unusual.  In fact, it may be the first time this has happened.  The Easter Eggers consistently lay smaller eggs though, but they are getting larger.

Look at the above picture again.  Notice how one of the “brown” eggs is kind of pink?  I am wondering if that is an Easter Egger’s egg.  Supposedly they can lay pink eggs.  Perhaps I have one doing just that.  I’ll have to pay attention and see if I can figure out who is laying those lighter eggs.

I am curious to see how the egg production begins to fall off and when this happens.  I think I mentioned this last week too.  Chickens are typically light sensitive when it comes to laying eggs, though I understand the Rhode Island Reds will lay throughout the winter.  We have decided we aren’t going to supplement with lights, as I think God made them to need that period of rest, which I will give them.

My wife is normally the one that lets the ladies out to “stretch their wings”.  She is beginning to convince me that the birds are not dumb animals as many say.  Most of the time she can say something like, “Time to go back in.” over and over, and the chickens start heading for the chicken run.  Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few stubborn birds, but believe it or not, there are times they all just go in.

I have also noticed the ladies are not staying together when we let them out as much.  In fact, they all go their own separate ways.  I do like seeing that they are scratching in the garden more, and I am seeing them get plenty of bugs.  The more the merrier!  I have explained to them that this is one way they should pay their rent.  😀

The Chicken Chronicles, August 11, 2014

I am traveling for work today, and I will probably schedule this post to go live sometime while I am in the air.  It is Sunday morning as I write this, and I am thinking ahead to my week, realizing I am not going to be able to check each day while I am gone for eggs.  My wife doesn’t quite get the same excitement from this that I do, but I will have to bribe her to be sure and let me know the egg update each day while I am gone.  🙂

Sometime during the day on Saturday, perhaps after I collected the eggs for the day, I decided I probably needed to weigh the eggs to help me better determine how they are growing in size.  I had a total of seven uneaten eggs in the kitchen from our birds, so I took some weights.  Here are the results:

Rhode Island Red Eggs: Average of 1.47 oz (4.4 oz/3 eggs)

Easter Egger Eggs: Average of 1.35 oz (5.4 oz/4 eggs)

Store Bought Large Egg: 2.2 oz

So, as you can see, right now our eggs are less than half the weight of a store bought large egg.  This is a little smaller than I had estimated, but nothing that worries me.  I understand that their eggs will get larger over time.

The disappointment so far has been the number of eggs that have been laid.  The best I can figure, we have a minimum of four birds laying: two Easter Eggers and two Rhode Island Reds.  I come to this conclusion because there have been days where two eggs from each type of bird have been in the nesting boxes.  There could be more than this, but this is the minimum.  On average, we are getting two eggs a day now.  I had wrongly assumed that they would become egg-laying machines as soon as they started laying, but it seems their bodies need to gear up for this some too.

I had to chuckle some on Saturday when I went down to check the eggs.  I always peek in the window first to see if there is a bird in the nesting box, and there was.  There were also two others peeking their heads up through the chicken ladder hole in the floor as if they needed to see what was going on.  😀  Blondie is still the only one I can for sure identify that has been laying eggs.



I haven’t seen another Easter Egger yet, though there has to be one, and I can’t tell the Rhode Island Reds apart.

I have also been intrigued by the ladies’ choice of food.  I thought chickens would eat anything, but ours have not been that way so far.  Even so, there are some scraps they absolutely love.  One of those being tomatoes, and the other being watermelon.  Last night when I went down to check on the ladies I noticed they had cleaned a watermelon rind down to the thinnest green sliver.  It almost looked like leather it was so thin.  They also love most other kitchen scraps, but they aren’t fond of peppers and onions at all, that I can tell.  I suppose this is good, since I can’t imagine this has a good impact on egg taste.

Happenings Around the Homestead

This has been a slow garden year for us.  First of all, spring arrived late this year, and, second of all, with my work travel schedule, I was hardly home to work on the garden.  I also started a new garden spot this year which didn’t account properly for the position of the sun in the spring, and the new chicken coup is partially shading a garden.  In short, we have struggled with our garden.

We have yet to harvest peppers worth speaking of, and while we have harvested some great tomatoes, the crop has been small.  I have only harvested my first cucumber in the last week or so, and the summer squash, while being one of the plants which was out as early as possible, has already stopped producing.  Speaking of squash, my winter squash was hit by vine borers while on the mission trip, and there is nothing left.  My okra landrace project is coming along, however, it isn’t producing quite like I had hoped.  Oh, and let’s not forget the sweet potatoes!  The deer are having a hay day with the leaves.  🙂  I still expect a good harvest from them though.  The corn has done well, I think, other than the possible cross pollination issue.  Even so, the corn looks healthy and I am expecting a good harvest.

It may sound like I am whining about the gardening year, but I am not.  I consider every year a learning opportunity.  I have several good take-aways from this year that I will be sure to implement next year, and if the Lord so blesses me, next year this will happen on a proper homestead property.

Speaking of vegetables, last Friday we stopped off at The Farmer’s Market in Nashville, Tennessee.  If you haven’ t been there, you have really missed out.  This is a true joy for me.  Let me share just a few pictures:

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Huge onions

Huge Onions!

Colorful Bell Peppers

Colorful Bell Peppers

My family is really blessed though, despite the lackluster garden year.  My father-in-law also gardens, and he has blessed us with an abundance of melons, peppers, tomatoes, and more.

Speaking of peppers, we have already smoked a good amount of peppers, some of which are already dried and ground.  Others are in various stages of processing, but I should be able to share a picture soon.

The chickens didn’t work as hard for us yesterday, and only produced two eggs: one blue and one brown.  I did eat the first of the eggs last night, and wow, were they tasty!  Hopefully there will be three more today.  I had to smile at my first egg issue yesterday.  One of the ladies laid her egg in the run below the cage, which is not fun to get into during the day while they are playing.  I could have just waited to get it, I suppose, but I was impatient.

I have to wonder, am I the only person out there who is already thinking about next year’s garden?  The growing season is not even over yet, and I am sitting here dreaming this morning of what I will do different next time.  Don’t worry, I am sure I will share the plans here as the days roll on.

A Few More Eggs

WOW!  I can’t tell you how excited I was yesterday to find out that we had not just one more egg (see: My Surprise for the Day), but THREE MORE EGGS!  Not only that, but one of the Easter Eggers, we believe it was Blondie, laid an egg!

Three New Eggs

Three New Eggs

Henry Ford, referring to the Model T, reportedly once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”  That is much like eggs, isn’t it?  Almost all of them are white, though the stores have found ways to upsell anything brown in color.  The one thing that I haven’t seen in the stores yet, however, is a blue/green shade of egg.  Even so, there are breeds of chickens which lay this color naturally.

You will notice four eggs in the picture, the largest of which is a store-bought, large, white egg that I placed in one of the laying boxes to encourage the chickens to lay there.  The other three, however, were all from yesterday.  The one at the 7:00 position in the picture looks identical to the one yesterday in color and size.  The next one going clockwise, at about the 10:00 position, is the first Easter Egger egg.  The next one going clockwise is perhaps a little smaller than the other ones, and it is a little more elongated.  I would say all three are similar in size to a small store-bought egg.

If I understand it right, there are probably three hens laying right now, one of which has layed two days in a row.  I expect all three will now start giving 5-7 eggs a week, or a total of 15-21 eggs a week.  The other seven hens should start laying soon, perhaps more will even lay today.

My family thinks I am a complete dork, but I am so excited about this.

Chicken Eyes

It won’t be long, my friends. It won’t be long until some of the girls start laying. Perhaps a week, perhaps a month. If they are really late bloomers, sometime in October, but it won’t be long. I am checking their laying boxes daily even now though.

Check out this cute Easter Egger giving me the eye:

That look!

Are you Lookin’ at Me?

Did you know that chickens are near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other? According to FreshEggsDaily.com:

Just before hatching, a chick turns in the shell so its right eye is next to the shell (and absorbs light through the shell) and its left eye is covered by its body. As a result the right eye develops near-sightedness to allow a chicken to search for food, while the left eye develops far-sightedness, to allow a chicken to search for predators from afar. That is why when a hawk flies overhead, you will notice your chickens tilt their heads with their left eye to the sky.

I suppose this means she was using her right eye so she could see me better. 🙂