LLC announced – Home Hatched Eggs

This may not be as exciting, excuse me, “egg-citing”, to you as it is to us, but we have great pride in announcing our 3rd little oval of joy.  How about a standing “O” for our little ovas?

Here are some pictures of our production line.  🙂

This retrieved at approximately 10:30 am on July 17th, 2010. From the center roost box.

From left to right, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd egg. Notice our personalized, mass-produced egg cartons!

Patent pending on our carton design. All rights reserved, no substitutions or limitations. Carton has no cash value.

Have a great day!

p.s.  we aren’t REALLY starting an LLC…

The Glory of the 2nd Egg

Oh, sure, everyone remembers the very first “thing”, whatever that may be.  We all remember our first car, our first beer (or ROOT beer – for my teetotalling friends), and on and on.  Who really keeps in mind the second of stuff?  Who was second place when Michael Phelps won the 100 fly in Beijing?  Who was the 2nd person to walk on the moon?  Ummmm,  who won the silver medal in the 1968 olympic marathon?  Ok, we don’t know who was FIRST in that one.  But anyway, that all just serves to prove my point.  We keep track of winners, but a winning TEAM is made up of many workers, or players, or, in our case, hens.

Like the tides that faithfully come in and out, egg number two showed up with 24 hours of our first tiny little egg.  Sing along with me… “the incredible, edible egg…”  Any one else old enough to have that jingle stuck in his ( or her) head?

Fact:  Egg #1 was perfectly oval-shaped, small, and a tannish slant ocherish slant burnt umber color.

Fact:  Egg #2 was oval, but with a distinctly chubbier fat end to it.  It was clearly a shade darker than egg #1.

Fact:  Both eggs were found in the farthest right (or north) roosting box.

Fact:  Black Bears are the best bear.  Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica.  (another sing along… “one of these things is not like the other, three of these things are kinda the same…”)

We will never know if more than one hen is already laying.  I think there are two, although only the size difference in eggs helps me conclude that.  All the pictures above are only of egg #1.  That’s ok; there’s always tomorrow for me to go out and take more egg pictures.  “Still Life With Egg”.  Van Gogh’s undiscovered portfolio.

We are crazy excited that the hens are into this stage!  We exult in this small triumph of our little yard against the machine.  And even if the machine ultimately grinds us down into powder, TODAY we win.  TODAY we claim a part of our dream realized.  TODAY we look to the sunset with hope.

The Bug Menace

I could just tell this morning that the chickens weren’t going to put up with any flack from the mother nature lover’s of our back yard.  I went out – first towards the dog pen to let Kenzie out; he gets his feelings hurt otherwise (afterall, I think he thinks, he’s been here over 10 years! He deserves first freedom) and then walked with him over to the chicken pen.  They clucked in slow motion at me as I arrived.  Slow motion clucking is like one long drawn out “cluuuuuuuuuuuck” or “brawwwwwwwwwwk”, instead of a bunch of clucks or brawks that they repeat quickly.  I opened the door to the coop, and purposely sat in most of the doorway to see if they’d wander past me or wait until I left.  They weren’t scared at all of me or of Kenzie, and they walked right by us to open ground before they did their “take off and fly” routine.  When they do that ‘fly a few beats and run at the same time’ thing, it LOOKS like how it must FEEL when I get up off the couch (after watching, say, 4 hours of Tour de France) and stretch my arms above my head before I dash up the basement stairs to see if there is any new chow in the refrigerator.

As far as the bug menace goes, I don’t notice a visible bug population in our yard.  But something about the manner of the girls this morning was just … predatory.  They stalked and searched and sniffed (chickens can smell, right) and lurked and hulked.  If any bugs had thought about moving around the gardens, that thought got scared right out of their idiot little exoskeletal brains, cuz them chickens were on the PROWL.  I could feel it.  Like Californians can feel an earthquake comin’.  Like Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz: “it’s a twister paw! git to the cellar!”.  Or whatEVER they say in that blame fool movie that’s half black and white and half color.

For the first time, I strew some bird seed on the ground in a short line for them to peck at in the grass.  Strew? some other tense of strewn?  The same as threw, but with a ‘farming air’ to it? Similar to sow, sown, sowed, except in an animal husbandry way and not a Johnny Appleseed way?  There is a better word for the way I broadcast that seed for them, but it is stuck in the Little House on the Prairie books, which I didn’t read that carefully.

Oh, and last night, they all lined up on the SOUTH end of the roost; the north end was dead to them. D-E-D.  So go figure that out.

No eggs yet; could be any second.  I will be sure to share a picture of our very first egg; we will love that little lifeless orb, no matter what it looks like.

Unstintingly

Chickens inspecting the dog pen

Just when I thought there was order, routine, sanity, and precision in our backyard.  I went out last night, as is my wont (which means “my habit, or usual routine”, not a misspelling of ‘want’ or won’t’) to see that all the animals were safely in their places for the night.  Kenzie the dog does NOT like fireworks, so I give him a little extra attention to keep him loved and feeling safe.  We let him hang out in the shed the next few nights, because it has thicker walls and will insulate him from the sounds of the firecrackers better.  Lots of veterans do that too.  Remember “Born On The 4th Of July”?  We try to keep Kenzie’s flashbacks to a minimum.

Yeah, so the loss of order – that’s where I started.  The chickens, who I ASSURED you (from the results of my scientific study) always lined up the same way were in a different pattern.  This time, it was a Barred Rock, 2 RIR’s (do ya get that abbreviation?), another BR (how about THAT one?), and then the last RIR.  What does THAT mean to my life of order?!?!

I’m gonna go with this answer.  I now believe they are merely exhibiting good manners and taking turns getting to sleep by the wall.  Maybe the wall has the most secure feel.  Maybe the end has the least secure feel.  Maybe it’s like when you go to a movie with a bunch of friends and can’t decide who you simply HAVE to sit between.  I now say they all love each other, in a chicken way.  The best way to show that love is to share it equally.  Remember “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (the movie, with Jane Seymour)?  He says something like “I love you; would you have me do so… stintingly?”  (which means grudgingly or tight-fistedly).  I think these five girls love each other unstintingly – and that’s why it’s ok to switch the sleeping arrangements around at night.

Scientists don’t mind being wrong; especially if it’s in the name of love.

The Line-up

I appreciate the consistency of the chickens when they get on their roost at night.  I tend to go out right at dusk or a little after, to make sure they are in, secure, alive, calm.  They always line up near the north side of the coop.  The right as I stand and look into the coop.  From the right, it’s 2 Rhode Island Reds, then a Barred Rock, then a Rhode Island Red, then the last Barred Rock.  So far, in my non-scientific study, they follow this pattern every night.  I wish, for symmetry’s sake, that the colors and breeds would be strictly alternating, but I don’t think they care about the color scheme.  Steve might, I guess.  But what can one misnamed chicken do?

They are fully grown now.  They’ve lost their chickie voices, and use their ‘young female out in the cruel world’ voices.  As I herd them back in their coop after a few hours of backyard time, they murmur to themselves about the injustice of it all.  “What is that green stickie thing he keeps waving and clicking at me?” “I know there were more bugs to get – why didn’t he let me finish that?” “Is that dog gonna chase me today?” “There’d BETTER be fresh feed in the coop when I get back, or I swear someone’s gonna be SORRY.”

When I open the coop door they hop out and fly with exuberance.  Only 5-10 feet, though, and it isn’t an ESCAPE type of flying, it’s just an excitement to be out of the fence.  Like Hancock when he jumps out of the prison fence to get the basketball and comes right back in.  I am surprised that they usually skip the vegetable garden.  I would think they’d like to scratch around there; lots of bugs for sure on the zucchini plants, as a matter of fact, they could really help me out there by eating all those.  Must not be their brand of bug.  They usually head for the flower gardens which have lots of close, concealing foliage.  They migrate then to the butterfly bush, then the crabapple tree, a quick trip by the trailers, and then through the honeysuckle.

That puts them in Angie’s potted herb garden, which is usually good for a few minutes of scritching.  They love to head for the wood pile.  On it, beside it, behind it, around it – they do that whole race course several times.  If I haven’t come out to put them away yet, they start the whole thing over – double checking past scritches, and making new ones along the way.  You never know what could have shown up since the last lap.  May as well check it out.