Tuesday, September 11, 2012

All grown up

Well, it's finally happened. Nugget laid her first egg yesterday.

I knew she was getting ready, mostly because of two signs:

1. She was squatting when I went to touch her, which is a sign of submission and sexual maturity and
2. Her comb and wattles were bright red, also a sign of sexual maturity.

I had a feeling that the heat was delaying laying, but I was patient. About two weeks ago, I put a marble egg in the nest boxes. This has two purposes.

  1. To let them know where they're supposed to be laying and
  2. To discourage them from eating their eggs. 
EATING THEIR EGGS!!!???  Well, they get curious. "What was that thing that just came out of me?" so they might peck at it a little. If it is thin shelled and breaks, and is tasty and full of protein, well, why wouldn't they eat it. They've already learned the marble egg is definitely NOT edible and they're less likely to peck at their own eggs. Yay.

Nugget in all her glory!
Potpie is coming up right behind Nugget on the maturity ladder. She has small waddles and her comb is definitely coming in and she just barely squats as of this weekend. I'm expecting her to start laying in a couple of weeks. Now, Noodle and Kabob - no idea. They are both Easter Eggers (their "breed") and they don't get big combs or waddles and they won't let me go near them, so they're definitely not squatting. I put breed in quotes because all four of the girls are mutts and don't have a real breed, but the type of chicken they are mixed with makes them Easter Eggers and the chicken that Nugget and Potpie are mixed with are considered Golden Comets or Red Stars. 
Noodle (blond) and Kabob (black)
I have to say, the Golden Comets are much, much friendlier than the Easter Eggers. I'm not sure if this would change if I raised them from baby chicks instead of 11 weekers.  Next time, I think I'll seek out a super-friendly breed. I hate to admit it, but I'm much fonder of the friendly ones. 

Kabob, my shy, quiet girl, giving me side eye.
As far as noises go, I can hear Nugget whining a bit through my window. I also know when a neighborhood feral cat is stalking them because they all go bat shit crazy. Other than that, they are pretty darn quiet. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard Kabob make a sound! And as far as stinkiness, I'm doing deep litter and despite  the extreme heat, I haven't had any problem with smell at all. I thought at least there would be some, especially when I mist the coop, but really, I can't smell any stink.

I am so bummed about the heat continuing this week. It's supposed to be 100 degrees by Saturday and the girls get really stressed out in that kind of heat. I've been using a mister, which they love, but seriously, I'd be pissed off if I was covered in feathers outside during 100 degree heat!  I keep threatening to bring them in and keep them in my shower during the day, but so far they're surviving and this heat should break soon.