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Four Hundred Dollar Egg
The first Egg! - On of our four ISA Brown laying hens had their first egg this morning. After raising them from day-old chicks, we're quite excited to see "our girls" grow up! It does mean, however, that Scott better get busy and finish building their nesting boxes!
"The Girls" Begin to Earn Their Keep
A few weeks ago, the woman who generously gave us four laying hens, came over with a dozen brown eggs. They were produced by the same batch from which ours were split. Ever since then, Rachel has been bemoaning the fact that our four chickens (AKA "the girls") have yet to lay an egg.
Scott built them comfortable and dry accommodations ($300 in materials), they have plenty of scratch to eat, room to fly and play in their run, laying pellets to eat, an endless supply of fresh water ... heck, they even have a 4-year old kid that plays with them occasionally. At last tally, they've consumed 4 sacks of feed ($10 each), a sack of #2 grit, countless tubs of kitchen scraps (dutifully diced up for them, I might add), God knows how much electricity to keep them warm, many water changes, hand-feeding, and people who let them out in the morning and put them to bed at night.
Materials for the chicken coop: $300
Having comfortable chickens: Priceless
For everything else, there's the grocery store.
They live in chicken heaven and the only thing they've produced is an ever-accumulating pile of chicken manure, under the chicken coop.
All that changed today. When Scott let them out this morning and gave them their day's supply of scratch - which is tossed out onto the ground, as they seem to enjoy "scratching" at it and picking up the bits ... go figure - he spied a lone brown egg, resting on the mesh floor of the coop.
To find out more about our four hundred dollar egg ... read on ...
Much Ado About An Egg
We got our four chicks on October 7th and we guessed that they were a week old. This means that our first egg came at 4 months and 20 days (143 days or 20 weeks). It's four weeks less than the 6 months that Scott was expecting, but a couple of weeks longer than the ISA-Brown "Point-of-lay" expectation of 18 weeks.
Of course, we're all pretty excited with our first egg and the girls got an extra bit of scratch this morning, as a "thank you" (though they did protectively run back to the coop, when Scott reached in and grabbed the lone egg).
If anything, Rachel will be loads happier that the girls are laying and now that Alex is able to eat eggs - she was allergic to them, when she was a toddler - she'll enjoy eating them!
Scott had been telling Rachel that the girls would start laying around Easter-time, but the egg caught him a bit off-guard. Although they have great accommodations, they're still lacking any soft, fluffy nesting boxes. Now that the first egg has popped out, he'll have to turn his attention to finishing the nesting box project (only one of a hundred or so projects that are in various stages of "completion", around the property).
The girls, for their part, seem to be taking all the excitement in stride.
The feathered foursome came out of the coop this morning, eager for their morning scratch, none the worse for wear. (You gotta think laying an egg that size, when you're a small hen, has got to hurt, eh? Especially the first time.) They stretched their wings by flapping them, cooed, clucked and raced around the run.
Scott eyed them, asking which deserves the honors, but they just pecked at the scratch on the ground and remained mum on the matter (so to speak)
(And if you're thinking about it, no, we're not planning on any noisy, protective roosters. The eggs are for eating and that's that.)