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My girls are 22 weeks old. They should start laying any time now. At least, I hope so.  I find myself gazing, wishful, upon those fluffy petticoats. Hopeful, that soon those backsides will produce something other than poo.

We are digging deep for patience. Those eggs will come no faster for us wanting it to happen.  We are just anxious to see our first steps in the Excellent Egg-speriment bring results. So, we wait, with great expectation.

These ladies represent an investment in money, time and quite a bit of sweat equity. If anything happens to these girls, getting new chicks would be difficult, and we would be back to waiting six months for them to mature. So we wanted to be sure to do it right the first time, if we could. Or at least the best we can do, given our circumstances. We are really hoping all our work will end in a reward of fluffy omelets and fall baking. I really want some eggs!
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Our chicken tractor even has this handy door on the side for us to collect those little treasures from the nesting box. We hope to someday use it for its intended purpose.

We built the tractor to be solid and had a little ramp/ladder to help them climb up to the coop and roosts, when the girls were first put in it. We  lined the coop with wood shavings and sweet pdz to help keep it clean, dry, and smelling fresh. I even add a pinch of a herb and dried flower blend I ordered on amazon to give it a nice smell for the girls.

We painted it in these tropical colors, in a non-toxic, outdoor paint, that was durable and easy to clean. The choice of colors was mostly because I wanted something that absolutely said,  “These  chickens are pets” to the local ordinance enforcement folks.  This coop practically shouts, “Spoiled lap chickens.”.I also happen to like these colors. Very happy and beachy.

They also have  a rubber tub filled with sand and DE for them to bathe in. It helps them stay comfortable and keeps them mite free.
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This is all about their comfort, after all.  We want them to be happy hens and just do what happy hens do. The bonus to us is that includes eating bugs and laying eggs.
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We try to feed them well. Making sure they eat mostly their feed ration, but adding some supplements. We give treats, but keep them to a minimum. Fat chickens don’t lay eggs and have health problems. We would like to avoid all that. What we do offer is usually raw vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts, and dried meal worms.  We are now offering crushed oyster shell for calcium, to make those eggshells strong, and larger grit for their crops. The rest is foraged by them.
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They do forage. Here lately they spend a great part of the day strolling the yard under Sampson’s watchful eye. He has gotten really good with them, and we are glad we can trust him with them alone.

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They do come up to the patio and throw dirt around.  I forgive them because, well, they are chickens, and they will do what they want. When I am not looking, what I want is irrelevant to them if a crunchy bug or tasty seedling is involved. I have learned to take precautions.  Anyway, these girls are great entertainment and pretty cute. And… well… eggs.
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So now, at nearly six months in, the remaining question is who will lay first?
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Will it be Cookie, the Easter Egger? We are pretty sure she is a hen. We sent pictures of Cookie to the people we bought the chicks from. They are pretty sure she is a hen. So, we’re pretty sure she’ll lay.  She is acting more like her sisters, though still boss. Starting to do the submissive squat and her comb is turning bright red
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Could it be Jewel, our Lavender Orpington?  She is the biggest. Her comb and wattles are really getting red, now. No squatting from her, though. Just eating.
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Maybe it will be Doodle, the Silver-laced Wyandotte.  Her rose comb and wattles have been red the longest. She has been squatting for a couple of weeks and her backside has gotten extra fluffy lately.

It’s anyone’s guess at this point! Oh, the waiting! It’s tough for this first time chicken keeper.

We just watch and wait. Letting them do what they do and hope they aren’t laying somewhere in the yard.
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Every morning, when I let them out, I do with a great expectation, hopeful I will see a  precious egg in that nest box. Hasn’t happened yet, but we are hopeful the Poo-Princesses will soon bestow gifts to their loyal pooper scooper and treat bringer, for a  job well done.

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