This morning I was out in the yard checking the nest boxes for eggs. It was pretty early. Early enough, in fact, that I was still in my PJ’s and carrying around my TPN backpack.
Honestly, it was a little early to be checking for eggs. Our girls seem to wait until after 9am or so before they get serious about laying. But I kept hearing a chicken carrying on like she was about to lay an egg the size of a watermelon or something – they can really get loud, the pullets, when they first come into lay.
Of course, the 2009 chicks started leaving us the cutest little eggs quite a few weeks ago – must have been late August or early September. Over the weeks since then the egg size has standardized and the number of eggs collected has increased…
But not that much.
On a banner day we’re getting ten or maybe 11 eggs.
We have 30 laying chickens.
We’d wondered if some of them were just late bloomers. Or maybe some of the breeds less inclined to lay daily. We wondered if our expectations were too high.
We have seen quite a few of the 2009 chicks on the nest over the past weeks – an encouraging sign that they’d figured out the whole how and where to lay an egg thing.
So – this morning, I went out to check for eggs earlier than normal. When I was at the East end of the coop I realized the squawking was coming from one of the Blue Andalusians – and she was over by the Cedar trees that the girls like to hide out under.
I thought, “Great, I hope she’s not going to lay under those trees – I’ll never be able to get under there to retrieve an egg!”
We have found an occasional egg in a really weird place…. Under trees and bushes (just a couple of eggs), in one of my flower planters (1 egg), in the chicken run (2 eggs), and early on quite a few on the floor of the coop – typically UNDER the nest boxes.
So I felt pretty sure there was a good chance that I would have to get the boughs of the cedar to check it out.
However, the Blue – rather than ducking under the cedar – turned the corner and ducked into the lean to. We have this strange little lean to that we believe was originally used to store firewood. It’s actually pretty good sized, but it’s very dark inside, and has a dirt floor. Right now John stores his excess lumber and building supplies there, along with the rototiller, and lawn mower. I followed behind the Blue and way in the back was one of the Delawares, nosing around. The Blue was still carrying on, but it didn’t seem like she was going to lay right then and there, so I headed back for the house.
I had a lot of things I had to do today – it was a pretty busy schedule, and I’m still kind of a wuss when it comes to energy expenditure. I did mention to John we should check out the lean-to to see if one of the girls did eventually decide to lay an egg back there.
Shortly before John got home from work, William and I grabbed a flashlight and decided to check out the whole lean-to thing.
What we found astounded us. See for yourself:
All in all – 36 eggs found. All of questionable age, of course, and there was the distinct odor of rotten egg back there.
So, when John got home we showed him, then collected them, and then promptly disposed of them.
So…. More of the girls are laying – lovely eggs I might add – than we suspected.
John quickly got to work and tacked up chicken wire over the opening to the lean-to so they can’t get back in. Here’s hoping they figure out that laying on the nest is WAY more fun than under a tree or bush somewhere. It’s getting to be that time of year and I really don’t want to have to go egg hunting in the wind and rain all winter long!