Every day, I let the chickens out into their yard and I look for eggs. It’s been four months since hatch day. They could start laying any time now. And I am so ready!
But they are not.
So far, the only nest in the chicken house that’s held eggs is this bird’s nest from spring that I saved for some future decorating purpose or science museum or something….. I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it, but it was too cool to throw away.
It’s been raining a lot lately and muddy. I’ve got this straw laid down in a path out to the chicken house so I’m not slip-sliding around in the muck.
Top soil was scraped off the yard when the house site was being prepared and nothing’s growing here. Now that we have a tractor, this fall we can do some work to the ground and get some grass seed in.
If Coco’s not in the goat yard, she loves to get the chickens up with me in the morning.
She is always so excited.
Coco: “CHICKENS! I didn’t know we had chickens! I LOVE CHICKENS! Do you want to play? Huh? Huh?”
Every day. Like the day before never happened and it’s new all over again.
I want to wake up every day as exuberant as Coco.
The chickens aren’t nearly as excited about it. Coco’s method of greeting can scatter them pretty quickly.
Not that they’ve been in a good mood lately anyway.
Spartacus: “What’s with these goats? How come they get all the attention?”
Clover: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”
Dookie: “I totally understand. It’s over for you. The woman has goats now. It’s doom, all doom. Nobody loves you. You might as well eat worms. Just be glad you don’t have to compete with a giant puppy like I do.”
Coco: “I don’t understand. I love you, Dookie.”
Awww…. It’s okay, Coco.
“Clover gives me milk,” I remind the chickens. “What have you done for me lately? Where are my eggs?”
They don’t pay me much attention. They’re too busy showing me their fluffy butts while they’re eating all that feed and not giving me anything back for it.
The ducks are doing well, by the way.
They are the first ones in the chicken house every night and the last ones out in the morning. I think they like to avoid the rush. They have some trouble using the ramp. They tend to kind of fall out rather than walk out.
Their pond is ready, but their duck house is not, and so they have to stick it out in the chicken yard a while longer.
It’s hard to be a duck in a chicken’s world. The chickens established their supremacy upon the ducks’ arrival and the ducks are firmly at the bottom of the pecking order. The pair of them stick like glue to each other. They eat when the chickens are finished, and generally just try to stay out of the chickens’ way the rest of the time.
If the chickens start laying soon, I’m going to have at least one sit on a nest to increase my little flock. If they don’t start laying soon, I’ll wait till spring. I don’t want chicks when it’s too cold.
I told Princess the other day that I didn’t intend to let my one little banty hen sit because I didn’t want any more banties. I have one banty hen, one banty rooster, three standard size roosters, and six standard size hens. You can see how much smaller a banty hen is than a standard size hen.
And banty eggs are tiny. Here’s a banty egg and a standard size chicken egg from back when I had eggs in the incubator. You’d have to use two or three banty eggs to make one standard size egg if using in a recipe. Since I have chickens for eggs, I was thinking I wouldn’t increase the banty population.
Princess was aghast at the notion of not having more banties, though. She considers the two banties to be her chickens. She wants more banties. And she does help me take care of the chickens, so I relented. More banties here we come.
But first somebody’s gotta break down and lay an egg.
Maybe if I make some pretty pictures of them they’ll be inspired and compete with each other. Who wants to be the first hen to get all the attention and honor and special effects?
Like this. Spotlighted.
Or this. Etched in stone.
Or even this. Drawn in colored pencils.
“I AM NOT A HEN. I AM JUST LITTLE.”
“Prepare to die.”
Today’s You Can’t Miss This in the forum: secret recipes, herb gardening, and the funniest thing to ever happen in a chicken pen!
I hope soon you’ll be collecting fresh eggs along with Clover’s milk every morning. I wonder who will lay the first egg.
On September 1, 2008 at 5:41 am
WHAT A CONGLOMERATE OF CHICKENS. I TRIED TO NAME THE DIFFERENT KINDS YOU HAVE….NO SUCH LUCK. I THINK THEY ARE YOUR BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL,
I LOVE YOUR BLOG. IT IS THE FIRST ORDER OF THE DAY FOR ME.
On September 1, 2008 at 6:55 am
Do the chickens know you are taking pictures of their butts and sharing them with the world? Maybe that’s why they’re not laying eggs, they’re mad at you! Can’t believe how pretty all your chickens are!
On September 1, 2008 at 8:09 am
Lisa L says:
Great to wake up to such beautiful animals!
On September 1, 2008 at 8:16 am
One of my dds is about the same age as Princess, and she is bonkers over Silkie banties. They are like a Persian cat with a beak, very affectionate and the best little moms in the chicken world.
I just gave up all of my chickens except my two banties. We have renters in our farmhouse as of this weekend, and that’s where I kept my flock. So I only brought the banties home.
On September 1, 2008 at 8:21 am
Traci Best says:
LOL… Girl, do we need to send you some grass seed and more straw? That walkway is going to be awful mucky when the weather turns!
The banty chickens are SOOO cute…but I see your dilemma with the eggs! Some of both is a good solution!
On September 1, 2008 at 8:41 am
I think I’ve figured out your problem. Your animals are all too pretty to work. You need some Plain Jane white chickens like my Grandma had. They were layin’ fools. Tasty, too! And Clover. I just don’t know about Clover. Have you told her that “Pretty is as pretty does?” I think she thinks she’s the Ornamental Goat.
On September 1, 2008 at 8:58 am
Tressa Nelson says:
I’m missing the farm! We’ve moved because of a career change for my DH. It is a bittersweet blessing. So, I live variously through you and your chickens.
I loved my little bantys. They can be such gentle little creatures. I had one that would hop up onto my lap and cluck at me to feed her and sit with me for a bit afterwards. When she started laying, about every other day she would give us two eggs, in gratitude I suppose for the extra feed.
Thank you, for sharing.
On September 1, 2008 at 9:00 am
Tressa Nelson says:
oops, I meant to type vicariously…
On September 1, 2008 at 9:01 am
Sarah S. says:
You make me laugh! I can’t wait to see if you get some eggs! :rotfl:
On September 1, 2008 at 9:11 am
Suzanne, my mother has had chickens for years and she always puts a golf ball in the nests to help promote the new hens to lay. Not sure if it works, but she always gets eggs soon afterward. Who knows! Might be worth a try. I remember once she even put an old white door knob in the nest, anything looking like an egg.
Love your site! And so proud you are getting to live your dream.
On September 1, 2008 at 9:37 am
Jill S. says:
I never get tired of your pics, lol!
On September 1, 2008 at 9:59 am
Keeping Chickens says:
Hey… Wow! What lovely photos of your chickens!
We lost our first chicken to a fox last night. It’s a hard lesson to learn for new ‘chicken keepers’ like us. Our four year old took it better than we did I think!
So, we plan to make the coop more secure and buy razor wire and a heavy machine gun nest… No, seriously though, our neighbours have a ‘Fort Knox’ style coop and I suppose we’re going to have to follow their example.
On September 1, 2008 at 10:00 am
OH Suzanne, you have to have more bantam hens. Just think how cute they will look for deviled eggs. Or as Easter eggs. Not to mention, you don’t have to use them for baking at all. Just scramble, fry or poach them for a cute little breakfast. They are just perfect to top a mini bagel.
On September 1, 2008 at 10:41 am
Here’s hoping you get your hens to laying soon.
On September 1, 2008 at 10:48 am
OOOH, I LOVED all the pictures and stories this am!!! 15 is so cute with the little goats – wow they ARE little!! Precious! Coco is PRECIOUS as usual – so adorable with the chickens and so full of wonder and life!
Dern I get so confused on all those banty hens and regular hens and Roosters and such…LOL How is the WORLD do you remember all that????? IT was funny to see the butt comparison. LOLLOL I think I get the small banty and large banty…I mean, are they all for fried chicken???? OR is only the large hen??? Is the Rooster for waking you up? LOL I am not sure what each does…and sitting on a nest makes more little ones, when you said “sit on a nest” for more banties? I need a lesson in chickens. LOL It’s interesting! Those little banty eggs, verses large banty….
The duckers are cute too..I love the ducks. All the critters are so darling..I’d never get anything done inside, for wanting to play with them all day. LOL
On September 1, 2008 at 10:51 am
P.S. – isn’t that the CUTEST look – Coco looking at that Rooster?!!!!
On September 1, 2008 at 10:53 am
Shari C says:
Boy! Some of the photos of your chickens, especially showing their butts, will not win you any points with them if you want eggs any time soon. I think the ducks are feeling unwanted and need their own space soon.
On September 1, 2008 at 11:13 am
I love the chicken etched in stone! I love all the photos and the neat banter that goes along with them. Your chickens may not lay until spring because the light is getting less each day. We used to keep a light in the chicken house and turn it off about 8:00 p.m. They need a certain amt. of light each day to lay.
On September 1, 2008 at 11:21 am
Karen B says:
:wave: Love the pic of 15 with the goats – I didn’t realize how small they are either.
:chicken: Butt comparison :rotfl:
On September 1, 2008 at 11:25 am
I have 5 hens that are a week or two older than yours. All but one is laying. I’m a “newbie” to hens so I’m learning as I go. I’ve noticed that right before each hen started to lay, their comb took a growing spurt. I’m not sure if that is a coincidence or evidence they are about to lay.
On September 1, 2008 at 11:31 am
I knew my chicks were about to start laying when they started bowing down when I went to pet them (some freaky weird mating ritual thing amongst chicks) and sometimes while they were bowed down they’d “drum” their feet on the ground really fast. It was right after they started doing that we started getting eggs. It may be different for you though since we didn’t have roosters and they must have saw me as the rooster, I did not take that as a complimnet!!
On September 1, 2008 at 11:54 am
:chicken: Reminds me of my Granny Sugar’s chickens. She put a fake wooden egg in the nests to help them lay. I never thought I’d say this, but you sure do have cute chicken butts!! Good Luck!!
On September 1, 2008 at 12:26 pm
I hope you get eggs soon. With the days getting shorter it tends to slow things down.
On September 1, 2008 at 1:03 pm
I have found out…chickens typically have to be 22 weeks old to lay. They don’t lay much when it is hot. And the production goes down when they are aggravated (in my case that would be by my youngest son and my dog). That is all the advice I have, and it comes from other readers.
On September 1, 2008 at 1:32 pm
Hi, I “lurked” my way over here a while ago, and have been thoroughly enjoying reading your farming adventures. Nice to make your acquaintance. I’m in a city now and surely do miss the good farming life, especially my chickens. I used to do a couple of things to get them girls laying in the fall … put a light bulb on in the hen house evenings, put a wood egg or two in their nests, and cull out (as in eat) them extra roosters. Oh how I loved the first egg-laying cackles of the fall! Oh, and I vote more banties too.
On September 1, 2008 at 1:39 pm
Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:
It’s more like six months before they start laying. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a large exhibit featuring egg hatching. They also work with Garfield Farm Museum in the efforts to increase the flocks of Rare Java Chickens. Here’s a link to a photo of one of the baby chicks.
I’m hoping you have eggs sooner than later.
– Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife
On September 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm
Marcia in Wyoming says:
Just a thought…you may want to reconsider keeping 3 or 4 roosters all together. I have had them fight till they drew blood and kept it up till I separated them. I’m not sure if a banty rooster would fare better against a larger one or not. Also, my “first-timer” hens usually do not start laying until they are 5 or 6 months old – but maybe it’s just a Wyoming thing…
Marcia in WY
On September 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm
Labor Day…on a farm that’s every day…Go Spartacus!!
On September 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm
This is the greatest blog!
I love the pictures and commentary.
On September 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm
Love the butt shot…not quite sure what that says about me though 😉 Tell Dookie I feel her pain, it’s always the pretty ones who get all the attention. Go Dookie 😉 Thanks for the laugh today Suzanne…I kinda, really, sorta needed that.
On September 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm
Here’s to wishing and hoping for eggs!
On September 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm
Kathy R says:
Yesterday I decided to get some pictures of our various breeds of chickens pecking in the yard. Without fail, as soon as I framed a great shot – they turned and began pecking in the other direction. I got a lot of pictures. No faces, but lots of butts. Why, oh why won’t they line up for a group shot?? :sheep:
On September 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm
mary beth says:
Banties are so cute. That’s what my grandpa raises.
I sat here reading this this afternoon and thought, dang, Suzanne’s living the Charlotte’s Web life minus the pig. How cool!
On September 1, 2008 at 6:16 pm
We currently have one Rhode Island Red pullet, five Ameracauna, and six Barred Rocks. We weren’t expecting them to begin laying for another couple of weeks but, to our surprise, I found that the Red started laying a week ago. The eggs are small for the time being–but it’s a return!
On September 1, 2008 at 6:50 pm
I’m sure they will be laying eggs soon. They are just keeping you on your toes!
On September 1, 2008 at 7:35 pm
Here’s hoping you get a bountiful supply of eggs and milk soon!!
On September 1, 2008 at 9:50 pm
mmmmm I smell an omelette coming
On September 2, 2008 at 12:03 am
jan 'n tn says:
I read your blog every day. May I comment on the laying dilemma?
Have you tried adding a 20 to 22 percent protein laying mash in with the feed? It should speed egg production.
I have found that the golf ball does work, as a marker for the hens to start laying in the right places. The nest boxes, not the floor or outside!
On September 2, 2008 at 3:12 am
Granny Sue says:
The chickens look like they’ve grown well. You should get eggs soon–some of ours started laying around 4 1/2 months. Standard rule is 6 months, but perhaps some breeds start sooner. With your mixed flock, you’ve get a beautiful mixture of colors on the egg shells, I think. I’m getting light tan to white to dark brown. You have Aracaunas so you’ll also for greens and blues. I don’t think my Aracauna is laying yet–or could turn out to be a rooster!
I saw maybe three roosters in your yard? That will be a problem as they get older–they will fight until they kill each other. Voice of experience here. They may co-exist for a while but eventually it will come to fights and blood. AND the extra roosters eat a lot of extra food, for which you get nothing except 2:30AM wake-up calls as they try to be the frist one to crow in the morning.
On September 2, 2008 at 8:58 am