Our chickens are 18 weeks old and the average chicken lays its first egg around 20 weeks. We thought we had a bit more time until officially being on “egg watch.” We planned to construct new nesting boxes for our chicken coop this weekend, thinking it would be in place by the time the first hen laid an egg. After lunch today, Ryan went into the coop to finish up the nesting box project and discovered something unexpected. For the past 4 months we’ve been waiting for this, spending money each week on feed for this, and completing multiple farm projects just for this. An egg! A small, brown, perfect egg, likely belonging to a Dominique, based on color and the fact that Dominiques are one of two breeds in our flock that is reputed to be early-maturing.
We decided to compare our farm-fresh, free-range egg to a store-bought egg. There is a big size difference, but that’s just because this egg was the hen’s first. The eggs will get bigger as the hen matures.
So besides the size difference, we noticed right away how bright orange the yolk is in our egg compared to the conventional egg’s yellow yolk. We fried both up and enjoyed a taste test.
Our unanimous vote was for the farm-fresh egg. It tasted so much better and lacked the unpalatable aftertaste of the conventional egg.
But the excitement wasn’t meant to be over. As Ryan finished up the basic construction of the new nesting boxes this evening, he went to get some hay to line each nesting box and found yet another pleasant surprise. A hen has been laying eggs in the hay.
It’s been like an Easter egg hunt around the farm today. I recognized the eggs immediately from descriptions I’ve read. The Welsummer is the other early-maturing breed in our flock and they lay a dark, terracotta-colored, speckled egg. These eggs belong to a Welsummer.
We are all excited to see what the hens may leave for us in the nesting boxes tomorrow morning.
Ryan still needs to cut doors in the back of the nesting boxes so we have outdoor access to the eggs, and add roosts to the front of the boxes to make entering and exiting the nests easier for the hens. We have 20 nesting boxes from which our hens can choose, and we hope they make good use of them all. We can’t wait until all our hens are laying and we can collect a basket of eggs each morning.