December 21st

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice!

AKA – The shortest day of the year. The “things only go up from here” day. The “we’ll finally start seeing more of the sun” day.

It’s also the gateway to Christmas, which has me excited!

But back to the fact that today we only had 8 hours and 40 minutes of daylight. Why is the specifics of this important? Well, because chickens tend to drastically reduce how many eggs they lay as the light dwindles. The statistics say that chickens need about 14-15 hours of daylight for high production. However, at our house our sixth chicken STARTED laying this week. Instead of our production tapering off, it’s increasing.

I am befuddled.

Granted, the weather has been very mild, aiding in the fact that the girls can put energy into egg production instead of using extra energy to keep warm, but light is light.

As we expected their production to dwindle, this has been a very pleasant surprise.

It’s also been fun, as since they’re continuing to lay, we’ve been able to track what eggs are coming from what chickens. Ruby lays pretty light brown eggs with dark speckles, Penny is an early layer – the first to lay each day, she lays our largest eggs always extremely uniform in color (some of our lightest colored eggs), Maria lays smaller, medium brown colored eggs, and the two chickens that still aren’t named because we can’t tell them apart lay similar eggs.

So that just leaves Judy.

If you’ve come over and met our chickens, you know that Judy could qualify as an underdog. Not overly intelligent, she’s much smaller than the rest of the girls, and she (until this week) hadn’t been laying. She just didn’t have much going for her, but we adore her in that role. She holds a special place in our hearts for that.

So the Judy hilarity continued this week when Paul went out to gather eggs, and there was an egg laid in the middle of the floor in the coop. A perfect little nest made right in the middle of everything.

All of the other girls are flawless about laying their eggs in their nesting boxes (their instinct is spot-on – that is the safest place for them to lay their eggs), but not Judy. Judy just lays hers right out in the open.

Facepalm, anyone?

She did that for a couple of days in a row, but then today she finally laid one in the nesting box. That a girl, Judy!

Now, I will say that she has one really great thing going for her – she lays reaaaally pretty eggs. Light brown, with pretty little white speckles all over. So unique, just like her 🙂

December 15th

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Not an exciting image for most of you today, but we were excited.

We poached eggs for the first time today, and they were perfect!

I’m not one for a runny yolk, but Paul loves them, so the poaching process was perfect.

Everything we were reading said fresh eggs work the best, so we used eggs we had collected less than an hour prior.

Pretty neat!

December 2nd

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

I’ve always had and loved animals, but I’ve never had an animal that’s provided me food.

Let me tell you, it’s a whole new experience.

I love these chickens for who they are, and all of their weird quirks and personalities, but I’m always so proud of them when I open up the coop and there are eggs in the nesting boxes. Especially since they’re all new layers – it’s so cool to watch an animal that God created do what it’s created to do. Other than give them a clean, stress free place to do their thing, I can’t change what they do or why they do it.

Not only am I proud of them, but they’re proud of themselves and each other.

While that may sound strange, it’s true. If one of our chickens lay an egg, she squawks and struts and lets everyone know she laid a good one. In turn, they all join her in head bobs and happy clucking.

The coop is quite the community, and I love being a part of it. The girls have started to recognize the sounds of the house, so for example they’ll hear the garage door open, and they’ll all start calling to us and they’ll come meet us at the door. If something scares them and Paul or I are outside, they come running and gather at our feet.

While all of the mentioned above is true, me gushing over my girls wasn’t the main objective of my photo today. I recently have had a couple people ask how clean the eggs are when we collect them, and if we wash them. The answer is no, we don’t wash them. The first reason why is simply because we don’t have to – I had just collected the egg pictured and brought it inside; it’s completely clean to begin with. The second reason why is because washing eggs can actually drive bacteria into the egg itself. An egg shell is porous, and is actually laid with a thin layer over the entire egg called a bloom. The bloom protects the egg from bacteria, and by washing the egg, you wash away the bloom.

Quite honestly, we rarely get dirty eggs; I think we had two last month. In that case, if we get a dirty egg it goes in the garbage.

Bottom line: They take good care of their eggs! 🙂