Sunday, January 1, 2012

Up Close and Personal

Once you finally get your chickens the next thing you wait for are the fresh eggs. I was so impatient with that. Everyday for two months, I'd go out several times a day looking to see if any of my hens laid. It seemed like it took forever! But when one of your hens FINALLY does lay that first egg it is so exciting! Such a little miracle! And actually, I still get excited going out to the coop to check the nest boxes looking for those little miracles. Out of my four hens, as I've mentioned many times before, only two have started laying. I noticed the first two did odd little things a few days before they laid their first egg. First of all, they got very "talky". I would come into their pen and they would just carry on the entire time I was in there when normally they were somewhat quiet. Another thing I noticed was that they spent a lot of time going in and out of the hen house and trying out the nest boxes. One other thing was that I would occasionally feed them eggshells as I had read that it gives them lots of calcium so that they will lay eggs with hard shells. If they do not get enough calcium their eggshells can become soft. They were supposed to LOVE to eat eggshells. But when I fed them the shells they never ate them, but right before they laid their first egg, they suddenly had a great liking for eggshells and would gobble them up! So, my two that are now laying always fight over the eggshells, but the other 2 could care less.

So, onto my "up close and personal" part. The oddest thing a chicken starts doing a few days before they start laying is something called the chicken squat. I'm sure you may be wondering just what the chicken squat is. I had no idea and I grew up around chickens, but our chickens when I was a child had a rooster. If you raise chickens that do not have a rooster this will be much more prevalent to you, because the chicken, even if it has hated being petted or touched in the past, will come right up to you and squat down at your feet and will want a pat on the back. This signals that they are ready for the attention of a rooster and are about to start laying, but since mine don't have a rooster, well then I guess they come to me and yes, this is beyond weird! But you have to get excited, because then you know your hens are about to lay a nice fresh egg!

(The chicken squat.  My other chicken, Whitey, must be saying, "Oh, honey, you must be about to lay an egg!")

Our cochin hen, Baby, has been "talky", checking out the nest boxes, eating eggshells, and squatting for about 3 or 4 days now and guess what??? She laid her first egg today! It could not be a more appropriate time, since it is New Years Day! So hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come! And I guess Baby is not a baby anymore. Happy New Year to all of my chicken loving friends. May you have a wonderful 2012 full of many blessings!

(Baby's first egg)

(The 3 chicken eggs I am currently getting - light brown, dark brown, and blue green (Baby's is on the left))

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