I often ramble on about how my chickens are entertaining, how they make me laugh, how they have such silly and sweet personalities. But I don’t often talk about one of the most rewarding parts of bringing chickens into my life. Eggs!
The four Polish and two Easter egg chickens are not yet laying, although they are mature enough. I suspect that the fact that they’re not laying and that the weather has turned cold means they have decided to extend their responsibility-free youth until spring, when they should take up their mature hen duties like the rest of the birds.
My senior hens—Myrtle, Maude, Marilyn, Madelyn, Harriet and Hillary—each push out an egg a day. When they were younger I would often hear a noisy ruckus in the chicken coop, an escalating “Bwak, BWAK, BWAK!!!” as they neared the end of their apparently painful chore. Frequently, T. Boone Chickens, our lone rooster, would stand next to the hen in distress and honk along loudly, “HONK, HONK, HONK!” Big helpful male.
Now, the hens have become accustomed to their daily efforts and hunker down silently in the nest boxes. Often I’ll peak in during the morning. (They all do their laying before noon each day.) There are usually a couple of hens sitting in side-by-side nest boxes, shoulders up by their ears with meditative looks on their faces and glassy eyes. I like to think their little chicken minds have learned to go somewhere happy while their bodies do what nature commands. Frolicking in fields of earthworms? Rolling around in my lettuce patch?
Hens need about 14 hours a day of daylight or their egg production drops or stops altogether. My hens continue their daily chores year-round thanks to a light on a timer in their palatial chicken coop. Honestly, I feel a little guilty about manipulating them into laying when other people’s hens are on vacation.
And, as you can see, those eggs add up pretty quickly.
I may adjust the light timer to give the girls a little extra sleep. If egg production falls, well, I just won’t be giving away as many eggs. The girls deserve their rest too, I suppose.

I often ramble on about how my chickens are entertaining, how they make me laugh, how they have such silly and sweet personalities. But I don’t often talk about one of the most rewarding parts of bringing chickens into my life. Eggs!

eggs sm

The four Polish and two Easter egg chickens are not yet laying, although they are mature enough. I suspect that the fact that they’re not laying and that the weather has turned cold means they have decided to extend their responsibility-free youth until spring, when they should take up their mature hen duties like the rest of the birds.

My senior hens—Myrtle, Maude, Marilyn, Madelyn, Harriet and Hillary—each push out an egg a day. When they were younger I would often hear a noisy ruckus in the chicken coop, an escalating “Bwak, BWAK, BWAK!!!” as one of the hens neared the end of her apparently painful chore. Frequently, T. Boone Chickens, our lone rooster, would stand next to the hen in distress and honk along loudly, “HONK, HONK, HONK!” Big helpful male.

Now, the hens have become accustomed to their daily efforts and hunker down silently in the nest boxes. Often I’ll peek in during the morning. (They all do their laying before noon each day.) There are usually a couple of hens sitting in side-by-side nest boxes, shoulders up by their ears with meditative looks on their faces and glassy eyes. I like to think their little chicken minds have learned to go somewhere happy while their bodies do what nature commands. Frolicking in fields of earthworms? Rolling around in my lettuce patch?

Hens need about 14 hours a day of daylight or their egg production drops or stops altogether. My hens continue their daily chores year-round thanks to a light on a timer in their palatial chicken coop. Honestly, I feel a little guilty about manipulating them into laying when nature’s cycle is telling them to stop laying and other people’s hens are on vacation.

And, as you can see, those eggs add up pretty quickly.

I may adjust the light timer to give the girls a little extra sleep. If egg production falls, well, I just won’t be giving away as many eggs. The girls deserve their rest too, I suppose.

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10 Comments

  • Our neighbors’ chickens are on a light timer, too. They lay the brown eggs, which actually look a little pink. They also lay greenish-blue eggs, which we call green, so we can say we eat green eggs and ham. LOL.

    We’re taking care of their chickens this weekend, so that means fresh eggs for us. Yay! They really DO taste different.

  • Every time I read one of your blogs I am amazed at the beautiful photographs and absolutely gorgeous colors you assemble. Robin, you are a definite artist with the camera. 🙂

    Love the chicken stories – keep’em a comin’ of course!

    Shawna Coronado

  • Lynn says:

    Your chicken info is very interesting as I have started raising chicks – I’ve had them alittle over 3 weeks now. We have some easter egg chickens, and a number of other types. I find myself rambling on about them, they are so cute & entertaining. I just came in from the coop right now, as a matter of fact! I hope to have as many eggs as you next year!!

  • Gail says:

    They certainly do Robin! Glad your posting…gail

  • I love your observations of the hens at their duties…the glassy-eyed look. I’ve often thought that the serene look attributed to mothers in paintings was actually a look of being totally zoned out–as most mothers of infants are.

    Do you have a place to donate your excess eggs…or just enough friends that are happy to take them? Now that keeping chickens is catching on, it seems like an ideal thing to have an extra hen for the hungry…like the movement to plant and extra row of veggies to donate to food banks.

  • Robin Ripley says:

    Kylee – It’s time for you to get some chickens, sweetheart. The kitties will behave. Mine does.

    Shawna – Thanks for the compliment. There is so much I don’t know about photography. Oy.

    Lynn – Goodie, another chicken lover! I hope you get as much joy from them as I do.

    Hi Gail – It’s so hard to keep up…

    Hi Melissa – I’ve been meaning to call on the local homeless shelter to see if they could use some eggs. We usually don’t have *this* many at one time, but they started to add up when we were in Charleston recently. But I will definitely need to find a worthy place for them once the younger hens decide to go to work.

    Thanks for visiting my slow blog everyone.

    Robin

  • Layanee says:

    That’s it, gotta get some chickens. When my kids were little, we did have a couple of laying hens which had escaped from the local coop. Ben and I would walk down to our little coop each morning after Em had gotten on the bus and Miss Chicken would be squawking and ‘poof’ an egg. We would grab that hot egg and run for the kitchen. I’ll bet it didn’t feel that easy to Miss Chick but it does seem like magic. Giving birth every day would not be a great way to live in my book.
    .-= Layanee´s last blog ..The beginning or the ‘End of the Line’? Wordless Wednesday – 11-11-09 =-.

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