By George we have an egg!

28 Oct

                                                                   Isn’t that the cutest little white egg you have ever seen!

If you have ever raised day old chicks to egg laying status you know that waiting for that first egg can seem to take forever.  Buff Orpington, Dominique, Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds begin laying at or around 24 weeks, that’s 168 very long days of feeding, watering and cleaning up after an eating, and pooping machine.  These are the breeds we have at our farm and I knew this going into our chicken/egg endeavor.  Patience is a must on a farm.

Taking on abandoned hens is another story.  You have no idea of their age or health status.  Many things can cause a hen not to lay:  lighting, stress, feed, water, disease & parasites, temperature, molting and of course age are all factors.   For the last 2 weeks our 6 (formerly homeless) Leghorn have been given;  a hen-house and run to themselves (no rooster bugging these babies), Purina Layena Omega 3 Plus feed, hen scratch, treats of chopped greens from the kitchen and daily fresh clean water with vitamins and electrolytes added.  It took a full 8 days and 40 degree temperatures for these poor frightened creatures to venture into the hen-house at night.

I have been looking for this first egg and finding it was exciting (it doesn’t take much).  I knew the girls were young when I took them on, but how young was the big question.  The addition of this egg means they have reached maturity, which makes them at least 18 weeks old, as Leghorns begin laying at around 4 1/2 to 5 months of age.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes for us to have 6 eggs in the hen-house, especially with the cold front that just came in.

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