Its been months since we’ve had our three chickens who have been an amazing addition to the backyard. They have provided fun and laughter each and everyday, especially when they get to free range the backyard catching flying bugs or digging in the ground for worms. These little girls have changed my life and have made me realize even more that I need more chickens, maybe even a pygmy goat.
What’s That I See in the Egg Laying Box
It was a day like any other day. I was doing my normal check of the chicken coop. Bring the girls fresh water and some food, the only difference was that I saw Felicia in the top of the chicken coop, an area the girls rarely go. She was also sitting down and made me wonder if we were about to have our first egg. A few hours later, with anticipation, I went outside to the coop to check on the girls. I opened up the egg box and there it was our first fresh egg delivered to us from our big girl Felicia. It was one of the most exciting moments to finally see an egg in there, and was something we had waited months to see finally happen.
When Will My Chicken Begin Laying Eggs
Normal egg laying will begin around 5 months of age, although, some hens will begin laying a little earlier or a bit later. Once they begin laying eggs the time from ovulation to laying is about 25 hours. Then about 30 minutes later, the hen will begin to make another new egg.
I had noticed signs leading up to the first egg laying and interestingly some of the signs are pretty funny. As I mentioned above noticing her in the nesting area was a big sign, but outside of the coop another one of the signs was when you begin to pet them as I did with Felicia, she will crouch down. Normally Felicia would run away from me if she didn’t want to be petted, but now she began to just squat and let you pet her. This is completely normal and actually one of the funny things in that, it is a submissive squat for the rooster. This is where a baby chicks life begins. In our case there is no rooster, so the eggs never get fertilized and instead we get to eat them. Oh Yummy!!!
What to Do With All Those Eggs
Did you know you can leave a freshly laid egg on your kitchen counter for a month before using it? It’s true and even for store bought eggs the lifespan is pretty long. In fact the USDA allows farmers 30 days to get eggs to the grocery store and the store has another 30 days to sell the eggs. You then have five weeks to keep the eggs in your refrigerator.
Now the USDA actually recommends that your fresh eggs from your backyard chickens not be washed. In fact washing the eggs may increase the risk of contamination because it washes the natural anti-bacterial protectant, called a bloom, off of the shell. That means that after being washed the bacteria could be absorbed into the pores of the shell. If you keep your coop clean then you should have no reason to have a dirty egg. We have thus far had no dirty eggs with Felicia.
If you leave the fresh farmed eggs out at room temperature they will last about one month, although most chicken farmers recommend eating them within two weeks for best taste. In a refrigerator they should last around six months. If you have several chickens you’ll have so many eggs that you’ll be giving them away or at least eating lots of eggs and baking.
More Eggs Coming Soon
When all of our hens begin laying eggs we should have around 21 eggs a week, which turns into 84 eggs a month and 1,008 eggs a year, minus the yearly molting that occurs with chickens that temporarily halts egg production. Felicia is now a regular egg layer, with Miss Bianca now exhibiting the crouching stance. Just a few more weeks and our entire flock should be at optimum egg laying status. So excited for the future of The Real Hens of San Diego.