When we got our new chicks this past April I estimated it would be some time in August that they would start laying eggs. My estimate was based on our previous experience with Buff Orpingtons; they have pretty consistently started laying eggs at around 18 weeks of age.
Yesterday when my husband gave me the eggs he had collected I was thrilled to discover that the young ones (or at least one of them) had began laying.
If you are not familiar with raising chickens, you may be wondering how I concluded that the young ones were laying by just seeing the eggs. Nope – hens do not sign their eggs or even leave a trade mark. Without monitoring the nest boxes all day long we have no way of knowing who lays what eggs. (We don’t watch the nest boxes all day.)
when a hen first starts laying she lays mini-eggs, eggs that are much smaller than normal. In the photo above the smallest egg is from one peepers turned laying hen.
I suspect that it is one of our Buff Orpingtons who gave us this egg, because it is much like the mini eggs we have gotten from Buffs in the past, but the truth is we have never raised Austrolorps before so I am uncertain how soon to expect them to start laying or what their eggs will look like. Some of the other breeds we have raised have produced mini eggs that are much smaller than this one and when opened they only have a small dot of yolk while the rest is egg white. When opened this egg contained both yolk and white that were proportionate to a regular egg.
Today my husband brought home a second mini egg which makes me wonder if a second hen started laying or the same hen gave us small eggs two days in a row. I expect over the next few weeks we will have several mini eggs as all of the girls become regular with their laying.
It’s exciting that our “peepers” are growing up as we are counting on them to keep us in fresh eggs through the winter. 🙂
Thanks for reading. Until next time – be well.
In my last post about asparagus season I asked if anyone had any great recipes for asparagus I didn’t get too many replies to this question so I thought I would share some of the ways that we eat asparagus this spring.
This morning when my husband went to open up the chicken coop I asked him to go to the garden and cut the asparagus that was ready. I knew there were at least a few shoots that were the right size. He came back with four or five shoots and that was just the right amount for what I had planned.
Now when I think breakfast I usually don’t think vegetables. I’m sure it’s because of the way I was raised and perhaps even a cultural thing but veggies are usually eaten later in the day. The exception is when I make an omelet.
My recipe this morning included –
3 Eggs (farm fresh)
4 shoots of Asparagus
1 pre-cooked Sausage Patty – (This was left over from yesterdays breakfast)
Asiago and Swiss Cheese
I started by putting a little oil in the pan and lightly cooking the asparagus. I beat the eggs then added them to the pan and covered it and let it cook a little while I cut the sausage into small pieces. I then added the sausage and covered it again and let it cook on low. I cut some asiago cheese and tore a slice of Swiss cheese into a few pieces. Once the egg looked mostly cooked (no more runny stuff) I placed the cheese pieces on top and covered it to let the cheese melt. I am really am not good at folding an omelet and making it look good so I usually just leave it open.
My husband wanted his to go so I made it into a sandwich.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Metaphorically I think this is great advice. I believe it is very important to have several ways to meet our needs and accomplish tasks or goals. When you hear this phrase you might immediately think of financial investing, but I don’t think the implications should be limited to saving or making money. This should also include things like heating the house, cooking a meal, and transportation; the list is endless.
On the other hand I am not convinced that this is always a best practice when going to the coop to collect eggs. While it makes sense that if you happen to drop one basket with all the eggs you stand to lose them all, carrying more than one basket with a couple eggs each seems like it could be even more risky. For example if you have the eggs split between two or more baskets when you return to the house and have to open the door you will probably try holding both or all of baskets with one hand. Now how safe are those eggs?
When we collect eggs we actually put them in more than one basket. Our egg basket(s) looks like this.
The reasons for the two baskets like this is the basket with the handle is easy to carry but we often have just a few eggs to collect and they roll around in the bottom of the larger basket. In the smaller basket with less room to roll the eggs are better protected. Crazy as it may seem, it works for us.
Whether you use one basket, several baskets or a basket inside of a basket, the important thing to remember is to use a basket. DON”T PUT EGGS IN YOUR POCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for reading.
After starting with the toughest lesson so far, I am happy to back up to the beginning and on a much lighter note answer the question –
Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
This post is not going to be a debate in creation verses evolution nor is it going to be a lesson in biology. The fact is you really should not spend too much time pondering this question at all as it could potentially cause undue stress in your life. Don’t you have enough of that already??? So just forget this question and move on to much more important things unless………………………………………………………………………………………………..
…….you want to enjoy the goodness of fresh eggs from your very own chicken. If this is your desire then you will first need a (female) chicken. Probably the easiest way to do this is to obtain (beg, barter, buy…) pullets or hens. In this case (and this is the way we do it) The Chicken Came First.
Now if you are a contrary type person who likes to experiment or live life on the wild side, you might choose to hatch your own chicks. To do this you will need some form of an incubator and some fertile eggs. We have never hatched eggs in an incubator so you will have to look elsewhere for instruction. If you do indeed successfully hatch your own chicks you may join the ranks of those who can argue that in their case The Egg Came First.
That being said, if you are indeed going to raise chickens in order to produce eggs you will probably want to know a little about how that all works. In our experience hens will not start laying eggs until they are at least 18 weeks old. Even then there are many factors that contribute to egg production including the breed of chicken you have. We have found our Buff Orpingtons to be the earliest layer of the breeds that we have raised, usually beginning to lay between 18 and 20 weeks of age.
Our coop originally had four built in nest boxes available and for the most part the hens lay their eggs in the nest boxes. We didn’t have to provide any training for our hens to do this. It seemed to come naturally. The eggs are collected several times a day and clean straw is added daily and as needed. One year we did have a group of hens who decided to lay their eggs in a hidden outdoor location. Fortunately we discovered them and were able to collect them daily. That is when we added two more nest spaces to the coop. While having enough nest boxes seems to be important it does not mean that they will all get used. We often have several hens lined up waiting for one box while two or three other boxes are empty. Go Figure!
If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: the only time it is appropriate to ask the question “Which came first….?” is if you are talking someone who raises chickens. Stop the needless stress! LOL
Next in the series: Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?