Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gathering Eggs

I don't know what it is about gathering the eggs everyday, but I love it. Every evening I look forward to going to the barn. I love spending time with all the animals but it is the gathering of the eggs that I get a kick out of. We don't eat that many eggs (actually we give away far more than we eat) but I almost obsess about how many eggs we get.

When the chicks first came I couldn't wait to get that first egg. Hens start laying eggs when they are 5-6 months old. There is a lot of care that goes into raising a chick to egg laying age. When I found that first egg I was so excited. It might sound crazy but I still have that first egg. (It is in a very safe place) Everyday after finding that first egg was like an adventure. Would there be any eggs? How many? I was always hoping to get just one more egg than the day before until the day came where every hen had laid an egg. So we were getting 4-6 eggs a day in the beginning.

Every year we add to the flock and we add breeds of chickens that we don't have always picking ones that are interesting and lay anything but white eggs. Right from the beginning we had the Araucanas that lay very pretty eggs in shades from green to blue, for which they are best known, to pinks and peach colors. Last year we got our first Marans, Cuckoo Marans, which lay very dark brown eggs.

Now I'm hooked on getting even darker egg layers. I couldn't find any of the kind I wanted as day old chicks so I'm doing something new for me. I've ordered eggs for hatching in an incubator. I've incubated eggs before and I've let a broody hen hatch eggs for me and both times I ended up with twice as many roosters as hens. Not at all what I want. But it will be interesting to see what I end up with.

Right now we are averaging 10 eggs a day. The most we ever had was 17 in one day. That was in the summer when the days are longer. In the winter when there are less daylight hours the egg number go way down. In some of the commercial hatcheries the hens are subjected to 24 hours of light to get the most eggs out of them. I like knowing that my eggs come from chickens living in a natural environment free to roam around and eat bugs and grass.

No comments:

Post a Comment