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Little Hens on the Move


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Little Hens on the Move

January 25th, 2009  · stk

NewsBrief: [Little Hen's Big Day] Yesterday, the new hens (which we got in October) laid two eggs. Their first eggs! It was a big day for the little girls, as they moved in with their older "sisters"!

Little Hens, Big Day

Hutton House Chicken Run - Yesterday, Scott and Rachel's four new ISA-brown chicks became full-on hens!

"Well," said Scott, "Two of the four did anyway."

"The chicks laid their first egg!" exclaimed Alex, explaining things to Rachel, clutching a small egg in her hand, "Two eggs! One broke though."

The four chicks have been growing at a fairly good clip and are nearly too large for their small wire cage. Both the eggs were laid inside the cage and one had broken, presumably trampled. It was a double-yolker, but small.

The other egg had a small crack in it, but otherwise survived the close-quarters.

"I guess it's time for them to move in with the big girls," said Scott, as he removed the temporary wire fencing that divided the chicken run into two unequal areas.

For the first time, all seven chickens (3 from our first batch and the four new ones) spent the entire day together.

The older ones asserted their pecking rights and chased the young ones around the run, occasionally, but for the most part, the amalgamation went fairly well. No one was injured, though there was a fair bit of squawking going on, during the day.

Scott had to lower the other roosting bar, inside the chicken coop. This meant clearing the mesh floor of chicken poop, climbing inside and un-screwing the 2nd roosting bar and lowering it a foot or so. (One of the flaws in the original coop design, the roosting bars - two - were placed too high up and none of the chickens ever used it ... until Scott lowered it. Even then, he had to train the birds to "climb up" every night, by manually lifting them onto the wooden bar, for a few nights, before they got a clue that's what it was for.

When evening came, the three experienced girls put themselves to bed, on their normal roost, while the new hens were still clucking and scratching about, outside. Scott had to shoo them all into that coop and then later, had to climb inside and set them all onto the roosting bars. (The things he does for his "girls", eh?)

Once they settled down, Scott climbed out and washed his hands of the matter (literally).

"Hopefully, the new hens will into the groove and follow the pattern of the older, more experienced hens," said Scott, "They'll learn to put themselves to bed on the roosts and use the nesting boxes for eggs."

Scott and Rachel are hoping egg production will pick up as spring approaches. With seven laying hens, they're hoping for about six eggs per day (depending on how much of a slow-down there is with the older hens).

No matter the total, it's more than the Kimler clan can consume.

"We give eggs to our friends, fellow firemen, neighbors and house guests," said Rachel, "There's more than enough to go around!"

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Updated: 17-Feb-2009
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1.flag Gary Comment
Looks like the Kimler egg production factory is going to be in full swing soon. Honey.... pass me another egg for my breakfast, they are beaut-i-ful ;)

2.flag stk Comment
Well, it took a week or so, as production has actually declined, right after the 'little girls' moved in. (Somthing about the "stress" of having to share a coop!) :p

They seem to be gradually getting settled in. No one has been picked on unmercifully and production is now hovering between 4-5 eggs per day.

Certainly more than we can keep up with!

3.flag Susie Hines Comment
Just a question to throw out there to anyone who knows: I have 23 chickens and they are almost 2 months old - when will they lay eggs?
I know ... funny question, but I am just wondering, so, thanks for getting back to me!
Susie Hines
4.flag stk Comment
Susie - Not so funny, as we wondered the same thing, when we first got our chickens!

Look for eggs at about 6 months. It could be a bit sooner (or later) depending on a number of things - breed, hours of daylight, etc.

It seemed like our second batch started laying sooner than the first, but I'm not sure if we were over-eagerly waiting for our first batch, or maybe they "learned" from the older girls? LOL

Hope this helps.
5.flag Gillian Comment
I'm confused, my 22 week old black Maran has just laid her first 2 eggs ,they are small and light brown although my birds are all meant to be Large fowl.
Is this just because she's young?
Do they normally produce small eggs to start with?
6.flag stk Comment
Gillian - Coincidentally enough, we recently inherited some "point of lay" Marans (4 I think). We were just asking what color eggs we should be expecting.

We've noticed that it often takes a while for new layers to "come online". Double yolks, no yolks and small sized eggs can precede more "normal" eggs.

Occasionally, even birds that have been laying for a while will have a "hiccup" and lay something unusual.
7.flag Gillian Comment
Thanks stk, she's just laid her 3rd egg and it's exactly the same size lol but a little darker.The Marans should lay beautiful chocolate brown egg, so perhapse with some practise we'll eventually get some. Mind you my first fresh little fried egg was very cute and tastey of course :)
8.flag stk Comment
Gillian - Yep, there's something special about home-grown eggs!

A few of our young hens have started laying in the past few days and we're getting very round, smallish eggs. None that are dark brown (yet).

Looking forward to that! Cheers to you and yours.
9.flag Gillian Comment
Had an email back from the breeder tody and he said that the Maran's eggs get lighter as the year goes on. they are darkest in the spring.He also agreed that it is normal to get all sorts of sizes and shapes when they first start to lay .
Found a nice normal sized egg today but not sure which one laid it, I think it was the same one as before :)
10.flag Jennifer Comment
Have any of you folks raised up your "girls" with rabbits? I have a small meat farm in the makings, and wonder on the harmony issue.
11.flag stk Comment
Not raised any rabbits, though your question seems appropriate, given the odd mix of rabbits and eggs! Happy Easter!