Wednesday, August 1, 2012

so egg-citing!!

A few days ago I was beckoned to the backyard by Stella.  I could hear her cackles inside the house with the windows closed.  It's the sort of noise she makes when she wants to lay an egg and one of the other thoughtless chickens is in her favorite nesting box.  I was confused.  All the other hens were out roaming around looking for bugs and other treats, so I did some detective work to figure out what was stressing her out.  Food? Check.  Water? Check.  Oyster shells? Check.  Shades pulled down in the run? Check.  Stray sparrows evicted from the run?  Check.

After running through the litany of her common complaints, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen the babies for a while.  I looked under the straw bale holder, in the compost bin (a new special place to hang out) and behind the rain barrel.  Finally I peeked in the coop and saw Chirpy in a nesting box with Redder hovering nearby.  That was it!  Stella did not like Chirpy hanging out in there, so I told Chirpy, "Girl!  You are in such big trouble.  Quit messing around and get out of there!"  I tried to shoo her out but she settled back in and started organizing woodchips with her beak.  I told her that I could not be responsible for the trouble that might ensue and left her alone to deal with the wrath of Stella. 

hanging out in the nesting box
An hour or so later I went out and saw Chirpy and Redder outside the run.  Stella was remarkably calm.  When I checked the nesting box, I couldn't believe the lovely sight of a jade green egg nestled in the woodchips.  It was Chirpy's first egg!!   I squealed with delight but was also perplexed.  How did that happen?  Isn't she still a baby?!  Hens usually start laying when they're about 6 months old but our girls were just 20 weeks and 1 day old.  Obviously, our little Chirpy is an overachiever.

Chirpy's first egg!!
Not to be outdone, Redder laid her first sweet little milk chocolate brown egg a few days later.  I was stunned but happy to know that both of our little girls were now productive members of the flock.   The only downside is that Eric missed all the excitement of both of the babies' first eggs.  He was sweating his buns off, biking across Iowa in 100+ degree heat and missed the blessed events.

eggs from Ray, Stella, Winnie, Chirpy & Redder

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