Eggs! Thanks, Fergie.

Thanks Fergie!

August found me impatiently waiting, waiting, waiting for my hens to lay eggs.

I was sure they’d lay eggs while I was on vacation. But, they didn’t.

Then, I was sure they’d lay eggs by the end of August. But, they didn’t.

I googled, “Why aren’t my hens laying eggs?”  Some “answers” blamed it on too many treats. Claims that throwing in handfuls of zucchini, spinach and tomatoes along with regular grain could delay egg laying. Well, I was doing that.

But, other advice just said, “relax, they’re not mature enough yet.”  Different breeds have different speeds.

So, at nearly 6 months old (I’d read it would be 5 months) the first egg finally came. Yes!

I actually felt a bit like a chicken whisperer that day. I looked out into the coop in the morning before driving the kids to school and told my husband, “I think Fergie laid an egg.”  She was acting a little funny. Roosting above the nesting area while the others were on the ground pecking for bugs and what not. I thought she looked like a bird protecting something. Not a lot to go on, but I took it as a sign.

And, yes! Fergie did leave us a little present that morning. And, almost every morning since.

And, for whatever reason, the other 6 are still NOT laying eggs. Oh well. At least I know that it’s not something I’m doing. If one hen can lay an egg, I’m thinking the others can, too. And, no, the other 6 are not roosters…though we’re still debating if Henrietta is a “Henry.”  She’s HUGE. But she clucks like a chicken. No crowing…yet.

Safeway egg on the left and Fergie's beauty on the right.

I’m proud to report that our little Fergie’s diet of fresh veggies and Omega 3 layer grain is producing a gorgeous (and delicious) little egg with a darker yolk and a very strong shell. Pretty awesome.

Our next steps for the little ladies are to get a light and timer set up in their coop. Hens will stop laying as the seasonal light changes (it’s September). Supposedly we can prevent that egg vacation by putting a light in their nesting area to mimic longer daylight hours (12-16 hours per day).  It should be bright enough in the hen house to read a newspaper basically from 5am to 9pm.

I also found a great blog that shared seasonal feeding strategies for hens (scroll down to the “What Do I Do?” heading). Made a lot of sense to me. For instance, a little corn added to their diets now will help to fatten them up and protect them from cold, winter days that are just around the corner.