Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chocolate Eggs

Our coop is starting the new year off right. Belle's comb had been increasingly reddened lately and I'd started stalking her in anticipation of her first egg. (If you haven't tuned in lately, Belle is the Marans hen that we hatched this summer). Yesterday she laid her first chocolate egg!

We started off yesterday's especially cold morning with Belle squawking the morning announcement. Our girls generally get loud for only two reasons: they've either laid an egg or they've been spooked and they're sounding an alarm. I was crossing my fingers for reason number one, so I rushed to the coop to look for an egg. No luck. I'm sure you're confused now because I just got done saying she laid her first egg. Stay with me here.

Later in the afternoon, my husband had to kick Belle out of the coop a number of times while he was cleaning. As soon as he was done, she jumped right in there and got to sitting. I'm not sure how long she was in the nest box, but it felt like forever. You can believe that as soon as she came out of the coop, I ran right to the egg door and found a tiny chocolate-colored starter egg.

For any newbies out there, a starter egg is what people call the first egg a chicken ever lays. It's usually pretty tiny; it's Mother Nature's way of easing hens into laying. Over the next few weeks or month as she lays more frequently, her eggs will start increasing in size until they even off to be the size she'll continue to lay for the rest of her egg laying years. As with any newly laying hen, she'll also lay pretty infrequently over the next few weeks; though I suspect she may lay infrequently for the next month or two until we emerge from winter.

Belle's egg is on the left. On the right is an egg from Pouncey, one of our other girls.
She's the only hen we've raised so far who's started laying in the middle of January. Our other hens held off until spring. Maybe she'll be a super layer. I've seen Marans described as medium layers, but I've also seen some of the other breeds we have listed as medium layers and they lay tons of eggs. Egg laying seems pretty relative to your situation and particular birds in my experience, so I'm hoping Belle will be like our other girls and lay eggs like crazy. We feed them enough deliciousness to keep them happy that they ought to lay plenty of eggs.

Her one tiny egg is pretty promising, but when you're in the days of only a few eggs a week, a new layer is monumental. Add in the awesome new egg color, and we're suddenly in egg heaven. My husband couldn't help himself and fried up that tiny egg this morning. Apparently it was delicious on toast. Too bad it wasn't wrapped in actual chocolate like those Cadbury eggs. I could go for one of those every now and again. I'd probably get sick of them after getting four or five a week for six months, so never mind on the chocolate. I'll stick with the chocolate-colored ones.