Today the girls surpassed themselves and I got an egg from each of them. I still can’t believe it. I keep opening the fridge door and looking at these three tiny football-shaped brown things (average weight 40 g) looking so silly in a normal-sized carton.
Before I go any further, I want to announce that they’ve finally been given names.
Since they were like identical triplets, I despaired of ever being able to tell them apart, but I can now, because they all have slightly different combs.
One has a narrow flattish comb. I was calling her Shorty, but have changed it to Cheeky, because she’s the cheekiest one of the three. She’s now taking food from my hand and whenever I manage to find three ripe strawberries, she’s always first in the queue for hers. Then, having wolfed it down, she’ll front up for seconds and thirds. I have to push her away so that the others get theirs, which still have to be thrown down in front of them. So Cheeky she is.
She who laid the first egg is to be called Lady, short for First Lady (nothing to do with the one in the White House), but because she was the first chicken to become a fully-fledged hen by virtue of laying first. Besides, she acts like a mature lady, preferring to sit on her log while the other two rocket around like a couple of kids. So she is Lady. She has a taller comb than Cheeky, with short teeth and smallish wattles.
The last of the three has the tallest, most deeply-toothed comb of all and the largest, floppiest, reddest wattles—an impressive head. I rather like the name Molly, which was what my friend called one of her Sussex hens before she decided to get rid of them. Molly went to a good home, where she met a handsome rooster and is now the mother of a flock of little Mollys. So now I have my own Molly.
Anyway, to get back to today’s egg-laying activities.
There was a lot of clucking and chortling happening when I got up and it didn’t take Lady long to dig another hole in the sandy floor of the coop. I’d put a bit of straw and shredded newspaper back there, resigned to the fact that this was probably where she was going to ‘do’ it, and she carefully arranged it around her skirts.
I went inside to have breakfast while the clucking (mainly from Cheeky and Molly) continued. When I came out, there was Lady’s second egg lying in the nest.
I retrieved it (funny to feel it still warm) and took it inside. Lady left the coop, had a big feed and went to join the others. When I came out again everyone was still making a great deal of noise. I could see only Lady & Cheeky out in the playground and was amazed to see Molly in the coop throwing nesting material about with gay abandon. Cheeky came in and tried to sit all over her and did a bit of tossing stuff around, too.
I left them to it (have to get some work done after all), and found Molly’s first effort a bit later, and took that inside, leaving them busy digging holes, thinking that would be that for the day.
After lunch I was idly standing looking at them in the playground (which is what I call the non-secure site with the net over the top), when I saw another egg lying in the dirt.
I have no idea where it came from or when it was laid. I can only assume it was Cheeky’s first effort and (trust her to get it wrong) she’d done it outside the coop. It had probably been covered and uncovered with dirt and mulch several times before I saw it. I might never have seen it, given the amount of earth-moving they accomplish.
So there you go. Three eggs in one day. Real chooks at last.
Oh, and I had Lady’s first egg for dinner on Saturday. Poached on toast with one from the free-range egg farm at the end of the street (I may never go there again!). It looked a tiny little thing against the biggy, but had a better-coloured yolk:
(It’s on the right, in case you couldn’t tell!)