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Chicken Eggs

Click for a video of 11 chickens. (2.7MB)
First egg
Our first egg.
What is Sarah looking at?

Muddy Chickens Like all birds, chickens lose their feathers and grow new ones about once a year.  This process is called molting.  During their molt not only are chickens uglier than usual but they also don't lay eggs.  When we acquired our chickens they had just started their molt so we knew it would be awhile before we had any eggs.

The process didn't take as long as we thought it would.  One day Valerie had gone out to give the chickens clean water when she discovered an egg.  She was very excited.  It was like an unexpected surprise gift.  Of course she checked everywhere else for more eggs but didn't find any.

The next day there were two eggs, we let the girls find them.  The day after that, there were three eggs.  Now our 11 chickens lay an average of 4-7 eggs a day.  That's typical, most chickens lay about two eggs every three days.  We've gotten to the point were we have more eggs than we can eat.  We don't have enough eggs to bother selling them but we have plenty to give to our friends and neighbors.

Our chickens have been moved into their "portable" coop.  The idea is that once the chickens eat all the bugs and thoroughly fertilize one portion of the yard then the coop can be moved on to the next spot.  Moving the coop gives the chickens a fresh supply of food and a clean yard so they stay healthier.  In the old days, the farmer would use a couple horses to move the coop around the farm.  We don't have any horses but we do have a handy dandy ATV.  The chickens aren't too fond of the ride but they love having a new section of ground to dig up.

Portable coop Chickens are fairly easy to care for.  They spend all day walking around their pen scratching for bugs.  In the evening they all head into their coop for the night, all we have to do is close the door.  The most difficult task is waking up first thing in the morning to let the chickens out again.  That's Sarah's job.  Even when she was a little baby Sarah always stayed up late and woke up early.  Mommy and Daddy have been sleep deprived on more than one occasion because of Sarah.  Now it's nice to have someone to wake up early and take care of the chickens.

First thing in the morning the chickens eagerly come down the ramp and get busy looking for food.  In addition to whatever bugs and plants they can find, the chickens get plenty of "layer" feed.  A couple times a day we'll give them some scratch.  Chickens love scratch, it's like candy to them.  They'll crowd around it and peck away as if they were starving.  Then a couple seconds later they'll completely lose interested.  Then a few more seconds and they'll all go back to another crowded feeding frenzy.  Silly chickens.

We don't have a rooster.  There are plenty of wild chickens wandering the island.  The other day I heard a rooster in our macadamia nut orchard crowing at our chickens.  He wanted to get closer to the chickens but was afraid to get too close to the house.  I took my camera out to try to get a picture of the rooster.  I never realized roosters can be so fast.  Maybe it's some kind of fancy Hawaii rooster, half rooster half cheetah.  Whatever the case, the Velocirooster easily evaded me and my camera.  He's come back once or twice since then but still won't get close to the house.  That's fine with us, we don't need any baby chicks yet.  We definitely don't need a rooster crowing right outside our window every morning.  He's welcome to stay out in the macadamia nut orchard for as long as he likes.

Coop Morning

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