Sunday, November 24, 2013
We've been waiting for our first egg for a while now. One of the Plymouth Barred Rocks, who we've started calling Scarlet, has had a bright red comb and been squatting when we pet her (she's the only one who lets us), both signs of sexual maturity, for more than a week. Eldest has been checking for eggs several times a day and I ask him every day when I see them at lunch.
Scarlet started acting a bit oddly today. It's been very cold this weekend (it went down to -13C last night and didn't get up past -7C this afternoon) and yesterday they refused to leave their run when we opened their gate for some free ranging. Today we again opened the gate and they weren't particularly keen to go out, but eventually they all got our and found a sun spot by the house to cuddle up in. But Scarlet was wandering off on her own. Usually they wander as a group or at least with a friend or too. She went into the coop and came out. Then she flew up on the roof!
She didn't stay up long but it was weird. She paced back and forth in front of the run, as if she couldn't remember to go around the corner and into the gate. She went into the coop and came out. I was doing a bit of work nearby during one of her entries to the coop, and I could hear her scratching in a nest box.
I've heard that the first egg is a bit distressing for hens. They don't know what's happening, and I imagine it's a bit like being in labour and giving birth. Every day. I'm sure they get used to it after a while though. Anyways, her odd behaviour made me wonder if today might be the day. But I'd also heard that sometimes they act oddly for a couple of days, so I didn't want to dwell on it too much. A little later, I was sitting on the couch when suddenly I heard the egg song! (I admit to some considerable googling over the last few weeks on the subject.)
How exciting! We had just had eggs for lunch, so we haven't eaten it yet. But tomorrow!