The Egg Factory

Officially, three of our ladies are laying: Millie, Gertie, and Eloise.  We are still anxiously waiting to see what Clementine does.  Roosters are not allowed where we live, and I am on pins and needles….I really, really don’t want to have to get rid of one of my birds.

Hen or rooster?  Clementine is all about the suspense.

As this is my first experience really raising chickens, I haven’t much practical knowledge to fall back on.  I have read a lot of books.  A LOT of books.  I have scanned many an online discussion board (for better or for worse).  What I have come to learn, is that, unless you have a sex-linked bird (who’s coloring as a chick dictates his/her sex), you just really never know what you’ve got FOR SURE, until they start laying or crowing.  YES, many hatcheries employ professionals to sex their chicks, but from what I have gleaned, they don’t always get it right, either.  I wish I could say that I have accepted this laying or crowing concept with a laissez faire attitude–after all, it is something that I have no actual control over.  But, no.  No, I have not.  I have scoured online images at each stage of their development, comparing, contrasting, swearing, hyperventilating, and praying out loud to the chicken gods.  At one time or another, I have been convinced that each of them was a rooster.  I have been known to leap out of bed in the wee hours of the morning because I hear a noise outside that I am convinced is a crow.  Jonathon has been known to not shake his head at me, but I haven’t seen this much recently.

Because the rest of them have now officially flown their hen flags (and yes, I am the psychopath that has hid in the yard and spied on each bird while she was laying just to make darned sure), let’s break Clementine down.  The rest of them are laying, she is not.  The non-laying is, of course, a pretty dependable trait of roosters.  She has always been the biggest of the flock–noticeably bigger than the rest, since day one.  This, is quite rooster-ish.  The rest of her, though (comb size, feather shape, body style, lack of those freaky extra rooster toes called spurs), seems all hen.  Only time will truly tell, I suppose.

A very henny Eloise.

Though I was convinced she was a rooster (very shiny feathers and a rangier body-type than the others), Gertie has proved to be a very eggy hen.

My super-star: Millie. Because she developed faster than the rest, I was sure, all along, that she was a rooster, too.  I think we’ve probably established, at this point, that I have no idea what I am talking about.

My laying girls entertain me every morning with their egg routine.  So far, they are completely uninterested in the coop nesting boxes, despite my best decorating efforts (see Chicken Aromatherapy?), and instead, favor a random corner in the yard.  All three of them love that same darned corner, and actually take turns.  When I let them out in the morning, it is a race to see who gets there first.

Eloise in the favorite squat spot.

Gert and Millie wait in line….faintly, in the corner between them, you can just make out the bit of yellow that is Eloise.

When Eloise is finished, Millie takes her turn.

Millie settles in (that’s a wooden decoy egg sticking out from under her).

Gert gets impatient for her turn.

Hopefully, we will soon have a fourth hen flag to fly, and Clementine will join in the morning festivities as more than just an indifferent observer.

A good-sized Millie egg (big tan one in the center with no speckles) amongst the decoys.

Millie hydrates at the chicken sink after dropping that last beast of an egg.

A happy little update….in the last couple of days as I have compiled this post….suddenly, Clem is doing the ‘egg squat’.  I still won’t relax until she’s actually laying, but that’s a pretty good sign of impending eggs!

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16 thoughts on “The Egg Factory

  1. Jennifer September 13, 2012 at 2:21 am Reply

    Love your blog! Always makes me smile.

  2. Charlotte Zweigoronc September 13, 2012 at 3:14 am Reply

    Tell Millie she is my favorite… she is a beauty! Your chicken is doing the egg squat just about the same time that my puppy has started behaving oddly and I think she may be having her first time in heat. She is just 8 months old and I didn’t expect this so soon… never had a pup before… thought I had time yet to get her spayed. Youch!! People keep telling me it is horrible and every male dog within 10 miles is going to be at my door looking for her!!!

    • farmhouseK8 September 13, 2012 at 5:35 am Reply

      Oh, bummer! Good luck with that pup–better keep her on lock-down! 🙂

  3. Dianne R September 13, 2012 at 4:32 am Reply

    OMGosh- just found your blog today on Tilly’s blog hop- but my boxer and I have been past your place several times on morning walks. I recognized your home right away from the bottle edged flower beds- very clever BTW. I would say your Clementine is definitely a girl- no long rooster legs or neck, and no razor feathers. I too am a chicken gal- 2 BO’s and 1 BR.
    Count me in as a new follower!

    • farmhouseK8 September 13, 2012 at 5:34 am Reply

      What?! No!!! Too funny!! Stop by sometime and introduce yourself! Yay, Sierra Madre!! 🙂

  4. sleepinghorse September 13, 2012 at 10:24 am Reply

    What a lovely post and photos. I am new to chickens and I have 2 who are barnevelders and are now just over 5 months old and neither of they are laying yet. (But I do know that Barnies are late egg developers).
    But I too have done the rooster accusation thing, your face is boyish, you are bigger than the other now, your comb is bigger, your tail is scruffy! I have been known to look for spurs. Oh dear, aren’t we funny 🙂

    • farmhouseK8 September 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm Reply

      I know! It’s torture! Good luck with yours….crossing my fingers for you for eggs soon!

  5. cindyricksgers September 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm Reply

    Great post! You are living a life I only imagined…I’m now following, to keep up to date on the excitement. Thank you!

  6. Emma September 14, 2012 at 1:05 am Reply

    Your girls will do fine don’t worry.They are going to be hens I’m sure of it! I wish I could have hens! I have a dog named Cindy. She’s 9 months and she’d think that a chick is a chew toy!

  7. TinaH September 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm Reply

    I am voting your chicken is a hen….would bank money on it.

    • farmhouseK8 September 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm Reply

      I tend to agree, Tina–I’m just trying not to jinx myself!! 🙂

  8. Looking Out The Window September 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm Reply

    You sound like me and so many others. We look at our hens over and over waiting for the first egg to confirm our wishes and hopes are right. Nicely written piece with great photos.

  9. Christie September 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm Reply

    That chicken sink is perhaps the most AWESOME thing of all time EVER! 🙂 I love it.

  10. Shirley@BlueGateFarm September 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm Reply

    Just found your blog and I think your pictures are beautiful. What camera do you use. I have entered your blog in my favorites.

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