As crazy as it sounds, we borrowed three chickens from some friends of ours. They have 40 or so chickens and were thrilled to give S and K a tiny taste of farm living. I had romantic visions of throwing corn out for them and then singing quietly to myself as I brought two eggs back to the house each and every morning. (In my day dreams I was always singing this song from Beauty and the Beast, but I suppose that really isn't important to the story.)
Henrietta, Fudge and Big Mama were ours for the summer, so of course we had to name them.
The girls have only been with us for a short time, but we are quickly learning that chickens, do in fact, have distinct personalities. Fudge, the youngest of the flock, is by far the most inquisitive. Henrietta is standoffish and Big Mama rules the roost (pun intended.) Both Fudge and Big Mama (so named because she is considerably larger than the others) will eat snacks right out of our hands. Their current favorite snacks are dehydrated meal worms, followed by sandwich crusts and weeds from the garden.
The coop use to be the kids' playhouse. They hadn't used it in several years and our friend thought it would make a perfect place for hens to roost and nest. (Thank you Rick.) Except...
In the three months since the girls arrived, we'd only gotten one egg. Yep.
One lone egg was waiting on the coop floor the morning after they arrived. I've read several books and have joined the forum at BackyardChickens.com, but I was at a loss. Our theory was that they thought they were on vacation - they were on Mackinac Island for the summer after all. Allen even started calling them "The Freeloading Slackers" and occasionally referred to them as "Sweet, Sour and Teriyaki," much to the horror of S & K.
No big deal, I felt like even if we didn't get any more eggs, we learned a ton and that made it all worth while. But then a miracle happened. OK, maybe it wasn't a miracle, but it was darn exciting. We'd really given up on actually checking for eggs when we went out to get the girls up and put them to bed. (Not literally; that's just what we call opening the coop door in the morning and then and closing the coop up at night.) On Saturday morning we found three lovely brown eggs in the nest. I was so excited I forgot to snap a picture! We had another egg on Sunday and yet another today.
We're not sure which one of the girls is leaving the eggs for us, but we suspect Fudge. She sexually matured in August, so we're thinking it's most likely her. Go back and look at that first picture - that was what Fudge looked like in June while the picture below was taken today. Just look at the difference in her comb and wattle between June and September (the comb is on top of her head and the wattles hang down.) It amazes me just how much she's grown.
Now that we're actually getting a few eggs, it's going to be a lot harder to send the girls back home this fall...