Thursday, July 15

Chickens and Eggs

 Fern Glen Inn •

Now we know which came first! In our case, anyway, it was the chickens. The eggs soon followed, but the ladies—young hens that they are—are not up to full production yet.

It was after chicken-sitting for our neighbours last fall that we realized we, too, could make a nice home for a little flock of laying birds. So it was that we (that would be Jim and our neighbour, Bob) built a sturdy little hen house and placed an order for half a dozen ready-to-lay red hens.

The birds arrived two weeks ago and have settled in quite nicely. The term "ready-to-lay" means the hens are delivered just around the time they're starting to lay eggs. I guess that would make them adolescent chickens? We didn't get any eggs the first few days but then the ladies started getting to work.

What I didn't know—and what our neighbours have assured us is quite normal—is that a young chicken's first few eggs are very small. Our first egg was teensy but already the eggs are getting bigger. I took a photo of our first egg and a later egg beside a store-bought one to show the scale.

As egg production increases, we'll be using our very own eggs in the breakfasts we serve to guests. It doesn't get fresher than that! 

It also turns out that chickens are good hosts. Er, hostesses. Some of our guests have enjoyed visiting the hens and watching their antics. Who knew that chickens playing "grape keep away" could be so entertaining? 

While we do hope our chickens have a nice lifestyle, they aren't exactly free-ranging. They're confined to an outdoor pen (in addition to their hen house) due to potential predators, dogs who think they would make good playmates (Saba!), and the birds' penchant to wander. I've told Jim our next big project should be to engineer a vast, modular, movable pen system so the ladies will think they're free range. Until then, the ladies seem pretty content with their plot of grass, some sand to roll in, and daily treats of fruit trimmings.

Next time you visit, come meet Henrietta, Gladys, Lola, Annabelle, Clara and Fanny!

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Read our update on chickenhood here.


Shelley said...

We loved meeting the girls, enjoying our breakfast made with their eggs and we especially liked "chatting" with them and giving them their grape treats!! Lola seems to have the best beak-handling skills!

Jackie said...

Hi Shelley, thanks for your comments! Yes, Lola and the ladies do love their grapes. You'll have to let us know if you end up getting some hens of your own!