Thursday, February 24, 2022

The late winter egg report

 Earlier in the winter, I blocked off another one* of our three nest boxes, leaving just one open.  It was mostly because with only one hen laying, I could, and by blocking off that nest box, it would stay clean, which meant I wouldn't have to refresh both nest boxes during the winter, which would save time and pine shavings.  The closed nest boxes on each side also served to insulate the open nest box a little, which kept the eggs warmer a little bit longer.  We've had zero cracked eggs** this winter.

It's closed, this nest box.  Blocked.  Inaccessible.

Charlotte, Charlotte, Rocky, Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte

Except that, Charlotte has accessed it.  At least twice, because that's the number of times I've found Charlotte eggs in the "inaccessible" nest box in the past two days.  She's not skinny*** enough to squeeze through the little crack between the front and side walls, so she must be hopping over the divider from the open box to the closed one, through a space that's a right triangle about 12"x8"x[whatever that makes the hypotenuse]".  That's 48in², by the way.  A piece of letter sized paper is 93.5in².  The little flying contortionist. 

And I guess I can't blame her.  No one's going to bother her there.  Except me, if I happen to open the top while she's in there, which I try to avoid.  She's got privacy.  No predators are gonna disturb her.  Not that they would anyway because the closed off nest box is part of a secure chicken coop.  But privacy, and safety.  Maybe it's time for curtains on the nest boxes****?  Like at the beach, where there are curtained changing cubicles?  I even have some cute chicken fabric that I bought with no project in mind, just because it was cute, but now I don't know what to do with it, so it's sitting in my fabric storage, being pretty, but not being used.

Anyway, Charlotte's been laying eggs all winter, mostly 2 days on, 1 day off, but today is day three of a three day egg laying streak.  Yay!  I got two eggs from Toasty Crunch about a week ago, but nothing since, and Rocky gave me an egg three days ago, after weeks of being in the open nest box pretty much every time I went out to the coop.  Nothing yet from Esther.

Toasty Crunch, in October, before the snow.
Esther in the background.

I've ordered new chicks for the spring.  I hesitate to tell you about it, because of what happened last time I got new chicks*****, but I'm too excited not to.  Even though I'm attempting to be cautiously excited, it's gotta come out.

So we're supposed to be getting a light brahma, a cream legbar, a prairie bluebell egger, and a blue laced red wyandotte at the end of April.

Bubby has wanted a light brahma for a while.  If you've ever seen a video of a huge chicken emerging from a hen house, it was probably a light brahma rooster.  Bubby wants a brahma because they are big and fluffy and have feathered feet.  He's planning to name her Fluffer Nutter.

We're getting the cream legbar and prairie bluebell egger because I want blue eggs.  Nuf said.  I'm thinking about naming the cream legbar Amelia Egghart, and the prairie bluebell egger Bluebell or just Bell, but I'm open to suggestions.

A blue laced red wyandotte has been on our wishlist practically forever, just because they're beautiful.  I'm thinking about naming ours Henry, after this safety chicken in New Zeeland, but again, I'm open to suggestions.

Unfortunately, the delivery date that has both a light brahma and a blue egg layer (our top priorities) as options just happens to be the weekend we'll be out of town attending a graduation.  My good friend Brenda assures me that she'll keep my babies safe and sound at the feed store until I can pick them up three or four days later******.

So that's the egg report, the new chick report, and all I've got to report, for now. Thanks for reading.

* * * * * * *

* One of the nest boxes has been blocked from the beginning, because we haven't needed it (rule of thumb is one nest box per 4 laying hens--the highest number we've had laying at once was 6).  I use it for storage, and while I definitely want to have all the chickens, I'm dreading the day we have to open it up and I have to find a (less convenient) new storage space.

**Zero cracked eggs because of them freezing in the nest.  More than zero cracked eggs because of inattention on my part during collection.  I still don't know how I managed to drop that one...  

***She is skinny, and the smallest of my hens, with the best food to egg conversion rate, but not that skinny.

****Don't laugh: it's an actual thing.  Ok, you can laugh.  But seriously, google it.

*****It was 2020, after all, so maybe that explains the weirdness.

******What my good friend Brenda actually said was, "I can probably make that work," so who knows.

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