Friday, October 12, 2012

Lessons in Laying

Our first egg!

Ever since we got our first egg on Monday morning, one of our chickens has been laying steadily - an egg a day, right around 9:00AM. (I know because I check the coop as I'm leaving for my morning walk with the dogs at 8:30, and there is no egg. When we get back 30 or so minutes later - an egg! Like magic!) I am 90% sure Georgia is the lady currently laying - she's the biggest of our girls, a day older than Polly and Alice, and spends more time upstairs in the coop during prime egg-laying time. I hope Alice and Polly will catch up soon. I get so excited over one egg - I can't imagine the thrill that two or more will cause!

The ladies enjoy free range time.

Every time I find an egg in the coop, it feels like a small miracle. I sort of forgot that eggs were the main reason we decided to keep chickens - I got attached to the ladies and started to think of them as pets, not as a source of food. But you better believe I'm going to eat those eggs. We currently have four of them in the refrigerator, patiently awaiting a fancy weekend breakfast. Yum.  

It hasn't been all miracles and meal planning, though. The second egg we found in the coop had a hole in it. At first, I thought it had cracked when it was laid (they still aren't using the nesting boxes, preferring instead to drop their eggs on the floor). When I posted a photo of the egg on Facebook, a friend told me it looked like the chicken had pecked the egg. Apparently, this is a thing - chickens are not the brightest, and sometimes they curiously peck at and even eat their own eggs! It's a bad habit (obviously) and one that needs to be fixed ASAP.

Uh-oh.

Naturally, I consulted Google, and learned that it might be possible to fix two problems (not using nesting boxes, and curbing egg-eating) with one solution: golf balls.


Apparently, placing a golf ball in the nesting boxes will 1. show the chickens what those boxes are for ("Oh, look. That round thing looks like the round things that keep coming out of me. Maybe I should put mine in the box with that other one.") and 2. trick the chickens into thinking all round things are hard and plastic and not at all tasty ("I will peck that round thing and try to eat it. Ouch! That round thing is bad! All round things are bad! I will never peck round things again!") 

While this plan seemed a little simplistic, I am not one to argue with the wisdom of chicken experts on the Internet. I found a golf ball and promptly placed it in a nesting box.

Georgia doubts this plan.

While I am still finding eggs next to the nesting boxes rather than in them, the egg-eating seems to have stopped, which is success enough for now. I'm not going to lie - finding an egg a day in the chicken coop is pretty much the most exciting thing that has happened lately, and I don't think that means my life is boring. I think it just means that chickens are far more thrilling than I ever expected.

Keep up the good work, ladies!

Check out more chicken posts on the Clever Chick Blog Hop!

21 comments:

  1. I wish birds didn't make me nervous. I would love having the gift of eggs in my backyard. :)

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  2. That golf ball trick is hilarious. I love chickens :)

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  3. Loved this post! I used to have chickens as a kid, and sometimes they would "miss" the nest box (they were mounted up a few feet). I think they did peck a few times, so we just made sure to collect ASAP. One thing I learned is that hens are super shy to lay eggs when people are watching, so collecting fast was difficult. I learned to listen for certain noises they'd make.

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    1. I haven't heard any fun noises yet, but I do try to get the eggs asap. The times they've pecked them have been the times I've had to go to school before they lay, and don't get to them until the late afternoon or evening. Silly chickens!

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  4. It is amazing how they lay at exactly the same time every day--this earth is so magical sometimes! Hooray for a first full week of eggs & I hope that golf ball trick works!

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  5. I am so excited for you! Can;t wait to hear how the breakfast goes this weekend!

    PS. you are one of a few bloggers who inspired me to start my own blog...if you feel inclined, check it out :)

    zteamlife@blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Meaghan. I checked out your blog and I dig it! Anyone who likes chickens AND dogs is okay in my book. :)

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  6. We have two nesting boxes - for the first few months they either laid in the top box or in the coop. It took a WHOLE year before we started seeing eggs in the other box. I left eggs and balls and nothing worked. I wonder what will happen when we get two more chicks ...

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    1. Glad to know this non-nesting box thing isn't just happening to me. I guess I'm lucky they're at least making it upstairs before they lay.

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  7. Hello, new follower here! I found you on Homestead Revival's Barn Hop :)

    I remember when we got our first egg. Fair warning - the excitement never really wears off :) I still enjoy checking the nesting boxes at the end of each day. Also, the golf balls are a great idea. We did that, too, and have never had a problem with our girls eating their own eggs.

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    1. Hello new friend! I'm glad to know the excitement doesn't wear off. So far I feel a thrill every time I find an egg, and I'm liking it! The golf ball seems to be working so far, so yay for that!

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  8. Our girls layed in only one of our nest boxes. We were given golf ball to put in the other boxes the problem was fixed. Then we had a hen who tried to hatch the golf balls.

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    1. Ha! I like the idea of a chicken trying to hatch a golf ball. Poor little chicken!

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  9. The golf ball trickdefinitely works. My MIL did it with wooden eggs she got at the craft store, and after a while, they figured out where they were supposed to go.

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  10. We did the same thing with golf balls. Give them some time and they will settle in. My girls took a couple of months to really settle in. Now they are consistent about going back to the nesting boxes even when they are out in the yard outside of their run.

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    1. Glad to hear it! Only one of our girls has started laying, so I guess they haven't really had time to catch on. Patience is a virtue, I suppose. :)

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  11. Found your blog through Homestead Revival...
    I totally get your love of your chickens and the excitement of getting eggs! We, too, have just started getting eggs and it's a REALLY big deal to go on our regular "egg checks" :)

    We're free ranging them a lot and now we're finding eggs in the yard instead of the nesting boxes...I think I'll be doing some googling myself :)

    Good luck with the adventure!

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    1. I wish I could free range more, but I'm nervous about predators. :( I think we might put up a bigger fence around the coop and let them out in the day time, or at least while we're out back and can keep an eye on them. I know they like exploring, so I want them to have that option at least some time!

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  12. I agree that chickens are far more fascinating than expected! Thanks for linking up with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week and I hope you'll join us again next time!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

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