My chicken adventure started in January with an idea, followed by months of thinking, planning and talking.
Next came the building phase. After the mental phase of talking myself in and out of keeping chickens, the building phase was the toughest. We built a shed with doors and pseudo-windows. It took time and money.
Then the coop was vacant for a few months until my hen friend Lori gave me some pullets -- birds a few months old -- that were not laying yet. They settled in, but I don't expect any eggs from them until October or November.
Then Lori dropped off Big Red -- a solitary hen a few months older than the rest of the gang -- in exchange for a rooster. My other six birds have been together since birth and bonded. Big Red is often on the outside of their clique. She's a bit of a bully. Big Red has been lonely and isolated.
Allegedly, Big Red is a "layer." Three weeks have passed and I was beginning to wonder if Big Red was transgendered or mistaken as a rooster. Hens are very susceptible to stress. It was taking her a while to find her place in the pecking order.
I placed golf balls in the laying nests as a hint. I checked the nests every few days for eggs. My hen friend Denali reported, "I got my first eggs!" I was green with envy. All I wanted was a few eggs for months of effort.
Last night, I grudgingly checked the nests again, with low expectations. It was a chore. Nest one had a golf ball and some chicken shit in it. Nest two, the same. Nest three, WAIT! Amid a little chicken shit were TWO BROWN EGGS!
I gathered them up, took them into the kitchen and called an emergency family meeting in the kitchen before dinner.
"Did either of you lay these two eggs?" I held them up victoriously to my husband and daughter Kristen. "Did either of you place these in the hen house to make my day?"
We whooped with celebration. Bob put on the frying pan and we ate them immediately.
Those two eggs were ALMOST worth the six-month wait! They were delicious. Today I gave the birds fresh water with a little more joy, a bit less resentment, and a great deal more anticipation and appreciation.
I love getting eggs from nests in my backyard!