Waaahooo!

Guess how many eggs?

3!!!

Here’s the scoop… (Warning: Novelette to follow! 😉 )

I didn’t get a shower until afternoon. When I was getting dressed in a fresh change of clothes, I heard dd#1 shout from the kitchen that there was a chicken out…then that *all* the chickens were out. We are having high winds and the doors of the coop were blown open. (This isn’t the first time…) So, I quickly finished getting dressed while the children gave me second by second “plays” of what the chickens were doing, where they were heading, etc. 😉 I realized that I’d be cleaning the coop sooner than I’d planned so I also bundled up in my outside gear. I didn’t have to too much as the temps were warm enough to have the eaves running (not just dripping). Not even time to brush my hair. 😉 The good little chickens actually ended up in the wired area under a huge Spruce tree that I had set up a few weeks ago. The diameter from the branches as to be a good 10-12 ft from tip to tip so the cleared area underneath is pretty good sized.

They saw me coming and all started out of the pen again so I went and got them a little food and they followed me back and I arranged the wire to keep them in. Then, I start coop cleaning. It must have been around 1:30pm. I also wanted to make some modifications as I was able so it took me a while…plus, I took a few breaks to sit near the chickens to get some fresh air and rest. (I was thinking as I got out of the shower, “I’m really feeling pregnant today.” I can feel the “heaviness” setting in occasionally now… Cleaning the coop made me especially aware. 😉 ) The children came out to play a little while later. I’d say about 2pm or a little later and spent about a 1/2 hr. playing. I was pretty much done cleaning at that point and I started my mods. It was a bit of a challenge as my dh is tall and the coop was built according to his arm lengths, etc. So, bumping my belly to pull out a couple of boards was the most challenging at this point especially since 1 end of one was “built into” a space between two others and was “stuck”. I wasn’t tall enough, didn’t have enough arm length nor was I strong enough to make short work of pulling that board out but with a hammer and patience I did it. With those two boards gone, I set out redoing their roost. Handsaw, hammer and nails…the old fashioned way…I did have an electric screwdriver but that only worked for putting up a couple more trim pieces across the nesting boxes to keep the straw from falling out (which I had actually done before working on the roost). The electic screwdriver just didn’t have enough torc (sp?) to go through the thickness of the piece of wood I was using for the roost which was only a couple of inches thick. Humph. So, I cut the angles with the handsaw and managed to nail up one side of the roost onto the rests that I’d screwed into place. But, without climbing into the coop (bleh! I cleaned it but still… 😛 ), I just couldn’t reach the other side well enough to hammer in that nail all the way. Luckly, I wasn’t able to drive it too far and was able to pull it out so it wasn’t left there to hurt one of the chickens if they miscalculated. 😉

It was getting dusky which told be it was after 4pm. The chickens were looking anxious to have somewhere secure to be so I knew it was time to wrap up the coop for the time being. As I looked over at the pen again while gathering my stuff to put away, I saw what I thought to be a ball in the pen. My ds#1 had asked if he could give them a small plastic ball to play with while he was out (he’s so sweet 🙂 ) but I told him, “No. Chickens don’t like to play with balls. Please don’t put that in there.” So, thinking he’d disobeyed (I hate it when I doubt one of my children 😦 ), I went over to get the ball to put away too…but as I was walking over I thought, “I don’t think we have a ball like that…I don’t recognize it…DUH!!!…it’s an egg!!!” I wasn’t just walking then…I was doing a pregnant jog-early-waddle! (Plus, my back and hip were hurting by this point.) I still hadn’t taken the chickens out of the pen yet so they all clustered around me while I gaped at the egg. Then, another lighter colored shaped caught my eye. Two eggs!!! Hurrah! The first one I saw was a very light pinky brown and was still warmish. The other was the very light green we’d had. That one was cool to the touch. Both hardshelled! The green one is getting to be medium size-ish and the brown was definitely small. Yay!

The chickens were very curious at this point so I grapped them up before they decided to check them out more closely by pecking at them 😉 and ran-waddled again to surprise the children! I was so excited myself I thought I’d drop them!!! So, after much whooping and hollering, dd#1 got me a carton and I took them safely to the garage out of the way of curious little hands until I could be inside too. 😉

Finished putting straw in the nesting boxes and grabbed “the girls” (after luring them to the coop with feed) and settled them in. Just as I was thinking of shutting the door (still unsure as to what to do to secure them better). They sent up the loudest cackling I’ve ever heard from them! Two didn’t participate and at the time it didn’t register but now I’m pretty sure it was the ones who hadn’t laid yet. (In fact, I know one was..but I’ll get to that. 😉 ) So, I stood there listening to the racket and realized that I’d actually heard them cackling a little earlier. (Not this loudly though!) Hmmm, I read they do this when laying is going to happen… I decided to hang out a little longer. 😉 At this point, they had “checked out” the nesting boxes and nibbled at the straw. But, the Jersey got in…and didn’t leave. Sure enough. Scratching and squatting. Resting and “throwing” straw over her back. I stood there for at least 1/2 hr. and watched her. She had gone to “sleep” briefly and I thought, “I’ll be out here all night.” LOL Finally though, she stood up and crouched, readjusted her position, crouched, readjusted again…all the while the feathers on her rump were moving in and out so I knew she was close…and then a small “thump”! Yay! I watched the third egg be laid!!! I ran-waddled to the house and asked the time, “Quick!” 5:05pm! I a little longer, let that hen rest, watched as she tossed more straw over her back and closed her eyes for a few minutes. I was anious to grab that egg though so i got a handful of feed and put it in their dish. That perked her up and got her out of the nest and I got that warm perfect-looking small egg! I put it in the carton with the others and it is slightly smaller than the other brown one. Dh had just pulled in the driveway seconds after it happened but was cleaning something out of the vehicle so didn’t come in right away. So, he met me at the coop (which is right out the back door of the garage) – actually, I startled him. 😉 Showed him the eggs, brought the new warm one in for the children to hold, put it back in the carton and then dh and I went out to secure the coop doors better.

Came in about 6pm.

So, that’s the saga of our first 3 REAL eggs!!! Everyone is excited and we are very happy with our “good girls”! 😀

I must say that I’m very happy with my children too! It was a looong day with mommy outside but they kept the house relatively in order (the older two read mostly) and there were only a two or three items/areas that needed picking up when I came in. Oldest child fed everyone a snack (with permission) and cleaned up afterwards and she followed my directions carefully in starting dinner. (Only heating up homemade Clam Chowder but “fire” was just right so it wouldn’t stick and burn and the table was set nicely, etc. 🙂 ) A couple of times they came and tattled on ds#1 who was first jumping on the bed and then second jumping on the couch…so I had to take care of that…but all in all they behaved and kept things tidy and I’m pleased with them! 🙂 Of course, this is not something to repeat too often (leaving them “to themselves” all afternoon) but they did have me right out the door so it wasn’t too bad. 😉

I did continue to check for more eggs up until 9pm and then unplugged the coop light. No more late night eggs! (That will be a challenge now that I think of it in the summer…hmmm…)

Anyway, here’s a time break down and who I think/know laid and why:

3:30/3:45pm (approx.) – Reins (Araucana) – light green egg – small medium size – egg cold when I found it.

4:00/4:15pm (approx.) – Fluff or Miriam (Buff or Golden Comet) – light brown egg – small size – warmish when I found it. Their combs weren’t as bright as the other two that hadn’t laid yet.

5:05pm (exactly!) – Black Beauty (Black Jersey Giant) – light brown egg – small small size – watched it laid!

Lacey (Silver Laced Wyandotte) did not lay as her comb and wattle were still a bright red.

So, two I know for sure are laying. Both are the youngest of the flock. Two it’s a toss up. Both are the older two of the flock. One I’m reasonably sure did not and she’s in the middle age wise. I want to catch those last three in the act, obviously, so I can know without a doubt. I want to say it was Miriam (she’s the very oldest) that laid rather than Fluff because she showed virtually no interest in the nesting boxes after the initial curiousity coming back into the coop. She also, along with Reins (who laid), did not raise a rucous cackling. Fluff showed more interest in the boxes scratching and laying down a little.

Time…and being there at the right time…will tell.

Now, I must away to bed! 🙂

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