Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#60 - Technical Hang-up with My "First" Egg

This past weekend was thrilling. After waiting for over three months for fresh eggs from our first flock of chickens, my niece and husband found the first two eggs nestled together in the coop on Friday afternoon of last week.

So, technically, I did not "find" an egg yet. We have enjoyed seeing the first eggs laid, but I've not yet stumbled upon an egg BEFORE anyone else. My "first" moment of finding an egg on my own has yet to arrive.

For those first two eggs that my husband and niece discovered together, it was incredible. Shaye delighted in the screaming and the excitement and the high-fives as we had an egg-discovery-celebration. She just KNEW that she'd wake up Saturday morning to find more eggs. She said, "Aunt Lana, I bet we'll wake up tomorrow morning and find SIX eggs and the next day we'll find one-hundred!"

Six to one-hundred. Wow. In her little four-year old mind, those chickens were going to be pretty busy.

I asked her, "What are we going to do with one-hundred eggs? We can't eat that many!"

She looked puzzled, then gave her solution, "We'll get boxes, lots of boxes and put all the eggs inside the boxes."

Alrighty, we have an answer. Boxes and boxes full of chicken eggs. What fun!

So, we get a good night's rest Friday night and we wake up Saturday to a confident four-year old Shaye wanting to go check the coop for her six eggs. She felt that we needed to quickly move those six eggs out of the coop because one-hundred more eggs were to follow soon after. Only, the coop didn't have six eggs. It didn't have any eggs.

Shaye gave me a sad face.

Howdy...with his beautiful full mane shaved off. Never again.
So, Shaye and I had a talk...we discussed the appearance of our chickens, some have really red waddles and combs that are full and easily seen from across the yard. A couple of other chickens have tiny beginnings of waddles and combs, but they are barely noticeable with light pink color still blending in with their chicken head. I explain that until that waddle and comb were bright red and big with some jiggle movement, the bird is not mature enough to start laying eggs.

That seemed to help her understand which chickens might lay eggs and which ones were still rather young. That afternoon, she'd point at a chicken and say, "You are still just a kid; no eggs for you."

So, Saturday we did not have eggs. Sunday we certainly did NOT have one-hundred eggs and Shaye had to go back home.

Monday came and I was outside doing my morning routine with the chickens...feeding them and opening the doors to the coop so they could free-range around the yard all day. I checked every nest for an egg and guess what I found?

Nothing. No eggs. I only found chicken poop.

A couple of times throughout the day, I checked the coop for an egg and found nothing. I walked around the yard looking for a stray egg --- an egg could be anywhere. Each time I went outside for an egg check, I found no eggs.

I just KNEW that I would find MY first egg, very soon. But, all day Monday there were no eggs to be found.

Deputy Dave came home from work that afternoon and he entered through the back gate, made a walk around the yard, peeked into the chicken coop and guess what he found? A little brown, speckled egg. It was actually a tad larger than the first two that he had found on Friday with our niece by his side.

He strolled inside and said, "Did you see that egg out there yet?"

My mouth dropped open. I replied, somewhat indignant, "What? An egg? I've been in and out all day long since the early morning hours and there weren't any eggs."

Deputy Dave's demeanor changed and he tread lightly, "Well, I'm not sure it was an actual egg; I didn't get a close look...if you go out there right now, I bet you'll find your first egg."

Nice try, but pretending you did not see it doesn't count.

The egg has already been "found" --- and not by me. So, I throw a mini-pity-party.

But, I was still excited. We walked out there together to get the egg and it was actually still a bit wet and soft. It must have JUST been laid as he was walking into the backyard.

It figures.

Third egg found --- a bit larger than the first two eggs and
this one also has pretty speckles. Maybe THIS is an egg
by Miss Speckles, but surely she doesn't lay larger eggs
than the Buffs?? A mystery, for sure.
With the third egg that's been laid brought inside the house, we compared it to the other two in the over-sized egg carton and we were perplexed to note that this new egg is slightly larger with specks all over it.

On Friday, when we saw the small size of the two eggs, we naturally assumed that the little gal, Miss Speckles had been the producer. I mistakenly thought the Buff Orpington's would lay much larger eggs. Over the weekend, we learned different...we realized that the Buff Orpington Chickens actually do lay eggs about that size. Reality hit home, we won't be getting the commercialized, hormone puffed up version of a store-bought egg. These are backyard chickens and they are giving us eggs that are truly "normal" and not inflated by artificial interventions. Still they are small.

We have been laughing about what it will be like to cook with these eggs. How many of these eggs will it take to amount to one regular egg for recipes? I imagine it will take two or three of these small eggs to make one regular egg.

The first two eggs found on Friday. The third egg
found Monday and it's different. Who laid which egg?
Anyway, the bottom line for today's post is that I've yet to find an egg on my own. It's now Tuesday and I've already had several visits outside since the early morning hours, and I've not found any eggs.

I'm here all day...constantly checking and amazed that Deputy Dave leisurely strolls outside and POOF he finds eggs.

Maybe, like many chicks, they like a man in uniform. (Couldn't resist).

I'd like to find an egg, on my own. I wonder what will happen today? Maybe the backyard should be off-limits to Deputy Dave, for the time being, at least until I find my first egg. Then again, I gaze out the window to look at the five chickens, and I am beginning to wonder...Is this an egg-laying conspiracy?

Well, perhaps it's just bad timing on my part. Perhaps.


Vickie said...

Oh how exciting to start finding eggs! I'm so jealous. I have a plan for building a coop this fall and having chicks in the spring. I've been waiting for 3 years to do this and since we're at the farm now I CAN! I had a stray easter-egger chicken come to stay at my farm for about a month a couple of years ago and I got a purty blue-green egg nearly every day from her! We think a coyote or owl got her. One day she was gone and all we found was some feathers. ;(

Congratulations on your eggs! I'll bet YOU'LL be finding the next ones! Take care!

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

I hope you find that first egg today...and do not be surprised as they chickens get a little older that the eggs get a little bit bigger...the first few "pullet" eggs are often quite small, and the specks are just dried blood, but do not be alarmed this too is normal in the beginning...if it continues give them a little chicken mash with a table spoon of cooking oil mixed in...I think you would love the website
Will be back to check later for the new egg.

Blessings Kelsie

Alex said...

Ahhh. So close. Hope you find one today!

Jen's Farmily said...

I remember those days... our first chickens actually laid the first eggs while I was away for work. MrC sent me pictures and I couldn't help but feel CHEATED! I had been waiting forever! And they lay as soon as I leave!! hee hee.

Your chickens are beautiful by the way. Once we get our chicken coop done, I am looking to replenish our flock. We've had a lot of trouble with predators lately.

Paula said...

It's always exciting when young hens start using their egg-laying parts! You never know what colors you'll wind up with!

Rae said...

Don't worry about the baby eggs. Apparently that's normal, and they'll get larger later on (we had a HOG of an egg today). Also, don't worry about egg-free days in the beginning. Over the last week we've had a couple egg free days.