Saturday, August 22, 2015

True Tales from the Homestead...

Four of our eight "baby" hens turned six months today. Happy half birthday to Lucille Ball, Ethel Mae, Agnes, and Mama! (Bitsy would have been six months today too, may she rest in peace.)

Last night, I went to bed a little sad. We have seen nary an egg from these ladies, and I expected to have at least a few by this point.

Then I dreamed that I woke up, went out to the coop, and found a nest full of lovely pink/brown eggs.

When I actually woke up, I told the PreacherMan my dream and said, "Psh. I wish!"

He was all: "Right?! They should be earning their keep by now!"

A couple hours later, I decided to muck out the coop as a Half-Birthday present for the girls. Since we're doing the lazy-homesteader's deep litter method, I simply needed to flip over the existing hay and add a fresh layer.

I flipped compost, and reached up to grab some fresh hay to lay down. LO AND BEHOLD, I found a nest of pink/brown eggs!

True story! I swear!

26 eggs total. We tested them for freshness. 24 eggs passed the test!


So in celebration of our freshly laid eggs, here are some pictures of the four six-month-old hens and their palace.


Our metal-shed-turned-chicken-coop. The flower pot under the window has some baby strawberry plants, just because. 

Even the hens are Georgia fans. Go Dawgs! We use the Sanford Stadium picture to store hay bails. We turned an old bookshelf on its side to create the nesting boxes (that our ladies don't use. Oh well.)
Our run started as an old dog lot. We used PVC to create a roof line, and draped bird netting over it to keep out the hawks.

The "nest" where we found our 26 eggs. It's on top of the bookshelf, in the corner.
We cut down a bunch of small trees in the run, and we used a few of them to build the roost. It's propped up in the corner, and all eight ladies use only the top two tiers. Go figure. 

We call this the "minicoop." Brandon's grandparents gave us this beauty along with two fully-grown Black Australorps. They are gentle girls who give us a few eggs a week, but they don't get along with the new gals. So they're separated in their own coop and run until they go to the great chicken farm in the sky (aka: my stewpot). Then this will become the duck house. 
This is Mama. She's the smallest in pounds, but she quietly and firmly rules the roost. The other hens move out of the way when she walks by, and she takes good care of them. We called her Mama because the day we got the chicks, she was the first to find water, and then used her wings (and her beak) to push the other chicks to find it also. She's mellow and shy and the most calm when we hold her. She's my favorite.
Another (blurry) picture of Mama. She loves to hide in the brush when she's free range. Sweet Mama. 

This is Agnes. She's fat and full-breasted and absolutely lovely. She's also a shy one, preferring the foliage and underbrush to the wide open yard.

Agnes's feathers through the foliage. So lovely. 

And those eyes, even in a blurry picture. *swoon*

This is Ethel Mae. She's the neighborhood busy body. She wants to be wherever the action is, and and she doesn't play favorites. She's the only hen who doesn't seem to have a "tribe," rather preferring to flit from one cluster to the next, spreading the day's gossip.

She also likes to show off her legs.

This is Lucille Ball. I'm pretty sure she thinks she a rooster. She's loud and bossy and always trying to push the other hens around.
Her beak is open in every. single. picture. because she never. stops. talking. The other hens TOTALLY ignore her (since they know Mama is the real boss). This annoys Lucille to no end and only serves to further encourage her clucks.

She's literally leaning over a cluster of hens clucking with all her might. They don't even notice she's there. Silly Lucille.

So happy Half Birthday, my little hens! Although I'm pretty sure not all of you are laying yet, I'm grateful for the eggs (and the entertainment) you've provided thus far. Thanks for not beating up on the little-er hens (or the dumb ducks), and thanks for joining our happy little family!

Happy Egg Day everyone!

No comments: