Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Just to update you on recent happenings, I've gotten three eggs in four days from my Black Copper Maran hen, Blackie, who has been laying! I'm so excited to FINALLY be getting eggs! My other hens are still enjoying being lazy! Blackie needs to crack the whip and teach the other hens a thing or two! Meanwhile, I will share this easy recipe that you can make with, you guessed it, EGGS! This is a fried egg sandwich with a kick and it is what we had for lunch today! ENJOY!
EGG AND OLIVE SANDWICH
-BREAD OF YOUR CHOICE
-MAYO (we prefer the kind made with olive oil)
-KALAMATA OLIVES SLICED
-BABY SPINACH LEAVES
-FRESH BASIL LEAVES
-TOMATO SLICES (optional - still great with or without!)
-FRIED EGGS (we like 2 eggs per sandwich and yolks done)
-SALT AND PEPPER
There is really no measuring. The amount of ingredients depends on how many sandwiches you are making and taste preference. Spread bread with mayo and then top with sliced olives - use as many or as little as you like. Top with spinach and fresh basil leaves, tomato slices, and 1 to 2 fried eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve. YUMMY!!!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Well, yesterday it FINALLY HAPPENED!!! One of my chickens LAID AN EGG!!!! The bad news is that it happened when I was out of town - OF COURSE! :( You would know, that it would be our neighbor, who takes care of our pets when we are gone, that got to enjoy the excitement of finding the first egg. I don't think it was NEARLY as exciting for her as it would have been for me. Oh well! At least one of them laid! And my neighbor does take great care of our pets and home when we are out of town, so if anybody had to find the first egg, then I'm glad it was her. My friend, Kenneth, recently commented and said to stop worrying, because it has been a hot summer and my chickens would soon relax in their new environment and start laying once it cooled down and I guess he must have been right as we have started having cooler days. I also noticed that my Black Copper Maran, "Blackie", was spending a lot of time in the nest boxes before we left out of town and I wondered if she might be thinking about laying an egg and she did! So she gets the prize as the first of my chickens to lay! I praised her and told her what a good chicken she was as soon as I got home! ha! ha! Of course, I'm sure she only heard, "Blah, Blah, Blah", but I did give her some nice grass to eat, so I think that she was happy for that! She actually laid a regular size egg, too, and I was surprised since it was her first and I think chickens normally lay smaller eggs when they first start to lay. So, she did a great job and I am so proud of her! Perhaps she will convince my other chickens to lay. Just to let you know, a Black Copper Maran chicken is originally from France and lays a dark brown egg and I think they will get darker (almost a chocolate color) the more they lay and then get lighter as the chicken gets older and is about to stop laying. That is what I've read anyway. I also think these chickens are not so common in the U.S. and their eggs are normally prized by French chefs in France. Below is a photo of a regular brown egg next to my Maran's egg. you can see a difference in color. I was most anxious for her to lay, because I don't think I've ever seen a Maran egg before and I was very curious to see how dark it might be. Now, tomorrow I think we will have to test the inside for breakfast! :)
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
You know how the old saying goes, "A watched pot never boils"? Well, now I am starting to wonder if the same holds true for watched chickens when it comes to laying eggs. Every morning I check the nest boxes around 10 a.m. because one of my chicken books says that most chickens lay before 10 a.m., but when I see no eggs I don't lose hope and check again around 4 p.m. because another chicken book I've read says that they can lay anytime between daylight and 4 p.m.. I got my chickens a little over two months ago. I researched breeds. I wanted breeds that not only looked unique, but laid different colored eggs so I would know who was laying. I chose an Ameraucana that lays blue, or blue/green eggs, or even a pinkish brown egg (so I've been told), a Black Copper Maran that will lay a dark brown egg, a Blue Cochin that will lay a light brown egg, and I also got a mixed breed chicken that supposedly lays white eggs. Of course, I would not know for sure because my chickens have not laid a single egg! Just to give you a small amount of history on my chickens, two of them, the Ameraucana and the Black Copper Maran were bought at 5 months old, the mixed breed chicken was 6 to 7 months old and was supposedly laying a white egg almost daily, and the Blue Cochin was 3 months old. The 3 month old I knew would not be laying eggs for quite some time as chickens normally start laying between 5 and 6 months old. The 5 month olds should have been laying any day, and the one that was already laying, well that was a given. The first morning I had my chickens I was hoping all day for the mixed breed chicken to lay. She never did, nor did she the next day after that or the next. Then I noticed that she had started molting! So, I "read up" on molting and found that a chicken who goes into a full molt will not lay an egg for 7 to 12 weeks! UGH! She must have started molting due to the stress of the move. So now that it has been over two months since I bought them both of my other chickens and even my cochin should already be laying or starting to lay. Also, the molting chicken has fully molted and sports a set of beautiful new feathers! I don't know what the problem is. I have tried different things. For one, I started getting up really early to let them out so that they would get plenty of daylight. Daylight is very essential to egg laying. 14 hours of daylight is recommended. I think my chickens only get 12 to 13 hours of light right now, though, because they start roosting in their chicken house around 7:30 p.m. and I let them out between 6:30 and 7 a.m.. It only starts to get light at my house around 6:30 a.m.. They are in a wooded area, so maybe the shade could be the problem. I'm not sure. Also, I bumped their layer feed from 16% protein to 22% protein because I was told that maybe their protein levels were too low. I've also solved the mite issue that could have slowed egg production. They get plenty of fresh water and I only feed them a small amount of treats. They do have some grass to graze on, I feed them layer feed, and I see them eating plenty of bugs. I've also put golf balls in their nest boxes and move them in different arrangments from box to box to keep it interesting. Yes, I've lost my mind!!! Maybe I should start crowing in the morning! If it would help, I probably would! Aaaarrrgh!!!! I keep hearing from other chicken owners, "Well, my chickens started laying at 4 months," or, "My chickens started laying at 5 months," or, "I get tons of eggs, because ours are laying everyday right now", or "My chickens even lay in the winter during the short daylight hours." So, I constantly wonder, "What am I doing wrong???". This egg thing can definitely drive a new chicken owner mad! I keep telling myself that maybe I just need to stop obsessing and worrying and just let nature take its course. But I can't help it, I even have dreams about them laying eggs. As for the "golden egg", the ones that my chickens lay will be, because my husband and I have spent quite a lot of money on their house, feed, and chicken gadgets, not to mention my time spent in attempting to keep them happy and in tip top shape! I'm open to any advice! Just incase, you happen to hear someone yelling with joy at the top of her lungs and wonder where the sound is coming from, it is probably me when one of my chickens finally lays her first egg!!! Also, note that the photo of eggs above are not from my chickens, but from my inlaw's chickens who are obviously laying!