Full (Hen) House
The chicken flock is 6 months old, and that means one thing: eggs! Most of the young ladies have started laying, and we are getting over a dozen eggs a day. This is a good thing because our oldest 4 hens (Rhoda, Raquel, Rosie, and Ramona) are slowing down in the egg laying department while they go through their annual molt, and after that they’ll likely take the winter off from laying eggs now that they are over two years old. We picked the breeds of chickens in our new flock with eggshell color in mind, and we have quite a lovely mix of eggs in our egg basket. The Australorps, Delawares, and Speckled Sussex lay brown eggs in varying shades of light to dark brown. The Welsummers lay a very dark brown, sometimes speckled egg, and the silver gray Dorkings lay white eggs. The eggs I’m most excited about are the eggs from our Easter Eggers. Two lay a lighter green egg, like Rosie, and the third lays a darker olive green egg. The fourth Easter Egger has not started laying yet, but hopefully soon we’ll have one more shade of green to add to the mix.
Our chicken coop has 6 nest boxes that can be accessed from outside the coop to collect eggs. The first coop we built did not have this design feature, and I’m really glad we decided to add it to this coop since it allows us to collect eggs without having to put on our poop-shoes and go into the chicken run and coop to collect eggs. We have 25 hens, and the suggested nest box to hen ratio is 1 nest box for every 4 hens. We have found however that inevitably more than 6 hens want to get into the nest boxes to lay their eggs at the same time. What ensues next is quite entertaining. Some of the hens will begin loudly complaining as they wait their turn for a nest box, and the more dominant hens will try to squeeze into an already occupied nest box much to the dismay of the current occupant. When the ladies start complaining, the roosters for some reason chime in and start squawking too. I’m wondering if the roosters are trying to help out, and it’s their way of saying “hey, my lady needs a nest box, you nest-hogs get outta there.” Needless to say, the mornings can get quite noisy here at the farm!