It all happened in under a 5 minute time period out in the coop yesterday morning between Tilly and Oyster Cracker.
Yesterday morning, I opened up the coop door and let the vivacious young uns out along with the old ladies. I could hear everyone chattering up at storm out in the run enjoying the freshly scattered scratch that I shared with them. I began to get to work tidying up inside the coop as I typically do each morning. Then I noticed that I had a visitor.
Fifi is at the bottom of the pecking order. It is not such a bad thing in our flock. Some chickens in other flocks are terrorized in that position. Not in ours, Fifi is left alone for the most part until she needs to lay an egg. I am not sure if it is due to her rank in the pecking order or just plain confusion as she is learning to lay eggs, but every other day or so, she lays an egg in one of the large dusting holes. She seems to think that is a nest.
I have added fake wooden decoy eggs in the nesting boxes to try and lure her into laying in the coop. I have also tried to feed the others snacks more frequently, so she can get into the nesting boxes when the bigger girls are distracted. Nothing has worked. Over the past two weeks, I have scooped out 10 eggs. Yesterday, I had accepted that I would be scooping her delicate tiny eggs from the bathing bowls as they were laid. At least everyone else was laying in the nesting boxes.
This afternoon, I went to check for eggs and found, Feathers in the nesting box. Usually, she lets out a growl as I pet her captive body in the box waiting for the egg to arrive. Strangely today, she did not growl. She was quiet and let me pet her. This could only mean one thing. I was petting Fifi, not Feathers. Fifi was in the nesting box laying her egg! I quickly ran into the garage and distracted the others with dried meal worms.
Fifteen minutes later I returned. Inside the nesting box, was the tiny cream colored egg laid by Fifi.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest
Well, thanks to rugosarosefarm the case of the mystery egg has been solved. Thanks to her investigative assistance, she quickly tracked down the guilty chicken. I am so very lucky to have such wonderful followers. Apparently, Dottie Speckles is the owner of the egg! Little did I know, that Silver Laced Wyandottes can start laying as early as 17 weeks. I am so happy for this sweet and rambunctious little henny girl.
Interestingly enough, I ran out of my 50 pound bag of grower pellets. Figuring that Fifi was 20 weeks and Dottie Speckles was 17, it would be wasteful to purchase another 50 pound bag of grower pellets. Last week, I started feeding everyone in the flock the layer pellets. I love it when things happen to coincide.
As the mystery was solved last night and Dottie Speckles did not lay an egg yesterday, I knew that there was a strong possibility that I would find an egg in the coop this morning. I was hoping that she would figure out to use the nesting box.
As I opened up the coop this morning, all of the girls exited except for Feathers. In my mind, that could only mean one thing. Broody Feathers was most likely sitting on an egg. As I opened then nesting box door, there she was not sitting in a nesting box, but straddling the front lip of the nesting box and the roost. She had squeezed her body into this tiny little space, blocking the far left nesting box with her body. As she growled, I gently lifted her up, to reveal a creamy, light brown, little egg.
I brought the egg inside. Like the Cinderella story goes, it was a perfect match. A twin egg had been laid, only this time, it had not been roughed up in the run.
I am not sure if Dottie Speckles laid the egg in the left nesting box and Feathers rolled it out of the box, or if she came close to laying it in the box and missed due to timing. Either way, I am sure that it takes a while to get the hang of knowing when the eggs are ready to be laid. I suspect it is sort of like potty training. If it is anything like my kids, the third times is a charm.
Well the flock will be one year old in June. We have survived our first Northeast Winter and we just just hatched our own eggs. I think it is now time that I write the final chapter in my guide to raising chickens. I’ve touched upon these topics now and then with some of the blogs over the past few months. For some of these topics, I am going to refer to previous posts as added references for you. I am by no means an expert in keeping chickens. I am also positive that I am not going to cover all the ins and outs of keeping backyard chickens. However, I do know what I have discovered along our journeys and I am happy to share them with you.
Dolly our Lavender Silkie went broody on December 22, 2010. I let her broodiness take it’s course. Her broody period lasted until January 3, 2011. She was broody for about 2 weeks. She has not laid any eggs since she came out of her broody zombie-like state. My research told me that it takes about 2 weeks for a hen to start laying again after a broody period. Twenty days later, she laid an egg for the first time since she was broody!
I do have to say that we did miss her beautiful little silkie eggs. As I cradled it in my hand this morning, it was like a little pearl. Her eggs have a beautiful creamy sheen to them. In fact, I know which egg belongs to which chicken based on their unique characteristics. We missed Dolly’s eggs. Chocolate missed her too. She was not interested in any of his antics over this past month. Slowly, she has returned to us with eggs, personality, and spunk. Welcome back Dolly, we sure did miss you!
Late this morning when I went out to collect the eggs, I found 2 eggs in the nesting boxes. After collecting those two eggs, I looked out into the run to see all the chickens. In the middle of the run was the smallest little Silkie egg you ever have seen. It was being trampled on by the chickens. I had to retrieve it.
I went into the garage and grabbed a small child’s bamboo rake. With the gentlest outstretching of my arm and the rake, I slowly rolled the egg to safety. I think that one of the new Silkies laid it. It is very tiny and has a small streak of blood on the side. I have seen this before, when when the other chickens laid their first eggs. I think that it is Autumn. I saw her sitting in the nesting box early this morning. I did not disturb her but I wonder if one of the bigger hens kicked her out or if she got confused.
I have heard of this before, chickens laying their eggs outside of the nesting boxes. I just hope they don’t get in the habit of laying “runny eggs”.
|Our first egg|
I went out to the coop this morning and this is what I found, a small Silkie Bantam egg! I think that Dolly laid it because I saw her sitting in the nesting box this morning. I am very excited! The egg is absolutely adorable and about half the size of a regular egg. I can’t wait to check for more tomorrow.
Did you know that chickens love yogurt?? It is such a fabulous food for them. I feed them plain organic yogurt with live and active cultures. ( It is important that they don’t get any extra sugar.) When they see me coming you should see the commotion. It is crazy! There is so much yogurt flinging and they get it everywhere. Some of the added benefits of adding yogurt to your chicken’s diet include calcium for egg laying, promotion of a healthy digestive system and assisting in the balance of the “good” gut bacteria. Next time when your girls seem bored…try some yogurt.