The long awaited EGG

Last spring a neighbor’s dog killed all my chickens save one rooster.

I try to raise chicks in the fall so that by the time cold weather hits they are fully feathered and by the time there is sufficient daylight they are old enough to lay. (Most breeds of chickens start to lay between 20 and 24 weeks, although some breeds used by commercial farms will start to lay at 16 weeks.) So early last fall I purchased a “Rainbow Layer” assortment of chicks from a hatchery in the mid-west. This assortment guarantees at least five different breeds of chickens from breeds that will lay white, brown or green eggs, hence the name “Rainbow Layers”.

The chicks were duly delivered a couple of days after hatching and a friend picked them up at the post office (long story) and brought them to me.

I had the brooder all set to accommodate the new chicks and several times a day for the next few weeks Tuck and I went out to the chicken coop to make sure the chicks were warm enough, hadn’t fouled their water and still had feed. The number of trips to the chicken coop lessened as the fall turned into winter, the heat lamp was turned off, and the chicks went from eating chick starter to chick grower. I’ve never understood the phrase “eat like a bird” for in my experience chickens are voracious eaters and the 25 chicks were easily eating 25 lbs of feed a week by the time they were three weeks old and by the time they were 12 weeks old that had increased to 50 lbs a week.

As January rolled into February the days started to lengthen and soon there was enough daylight to stimulate egg production. Then it just became a matter of waiting until the pullets were old enough to start laying. Finally today one of my pullets laid an egg.

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The color of ear lobes of the hen are supposed to be correlated with egg color so I was expecting some white eggs and since usually white egg layers start to lay at a younger age than brown egg layers, I was expecting the first egg to be white. Now that one has started the lay the rest should follow suit.

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