Updates - the size of an Egg

 My good things to speak of are awfully small these days - about the size of an egg.

It’s true, I live a farm girl life at the edge of the mountains. That is something to be proud of and not to be taken for granted or minimized.  Many look out over neglected buildings and filthy streets cluttered with the sad faces of deserted dreams and broken spirits; never having had ridden a horse, witnessed an eagle in the wild, been soothed by a mountain sunset, known the silence that comes with fresh fallen snow, gathered a fresh egg, or seen the stars without the frame of power lines and buildings.
Just to be able to wake up to the view from our windows is a gift; miraculous from where we could have ended up, and where we came from. 

We are desperately hanging on to this view, but even if we lose it tomorrow, at least we owned it once and can take their memory with us wherever we go.  I can say things like "I owned a horse with blue eyes once.... or, 'I used to live in a house full of windows, where I could watch thunderstorms and the distant silent lightening and the eagle resting overnight on the tallest boughs of the tallest ponderosa just feet from our couch, and watch as the moon set through those pines, to pass again behind the mountain at the end night.’

Nothing...and no one can take that away from us.    

You know what they say: It’s always something? Well it is!

But this time it’s actually good news!
I will share this even though it makes me giddy... I know you wouldn't tease me, but I hate how silly I am about these chickens sometimes... 
I was given 2 Americauna hens- among 9 other various breeds, and I now have 19 hens to keep track of

I was just reading today about how long it might take a chicken to start laying again after a move... some said 2 weeks to a month!
I was thinking: what if the rancher had given me a bunch of OLD chickens and I fed them for a month and they  still didn't lay?
I would be so crushed because I really, really, really, wanted to have a green egg layer –and now I have two! 
And... because of the colored gene they carry, all their offspring would lay colored eggs as well...which of course thrills me no end too. LOL! 

3 of the new hens keep trying to sleep inside the nest boxes, it’s cute, but not good for when they lay eggs. Did you know that chickens poo at night when they are roosting? GOBS of poo. This makes a messy nest come egg-laying time!
I  dump them out nightly, but they just set ON TOP of the nest boxes… which are CRATES, which means the poo will fall into the nests anyway.
I suppose I could use feed bags and weight those down on top. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to nest on those- they’re plastic-coated and crackly sounding!
It should only be for a few days until they find themselves another place to roost at night and get used to it.

Last thing on the to-do list this week is getting hen pics to match up with the eggs being laid.
It sounds easy enough but I’ll have to catch them in the nest and gather eggs more than the 3x a day I currently am, in order to get the freshly laid eggs with the right hens.

When I got the cochins I couldn’t tell them apart other than the one splash (lighter colored) hen. It really helped to get their pictures.
I’m still learning who these new hens are- there are 5 Barred Rocks who are marked similarly but have individual combs and the same with 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Americaunas. They have no comb to differentiate from so it will have to go by coloring – and they’re currently in molt.

Since I have so many hens and am getting up to 7 eggs a day, I need to know who is laying in order to know who isn’t! Oh what am I thinking?! I won’t be culling any, so it really isn’t imperative. LOL

Previous to the 11 new hens a month ago, I had 8 hens. My 6 mo old brown pullet hen (mix breed hatched from a gifted egg) and 7 cochins (only 3 of them were laying on a regular basis and one laid every other week or three). They’re 3+ years old now and only 3 had been laying off and on.

Most of the hens have now quit laying now because of a mixture of cold nights near freezing, shorter days (even with a red heat lamp) and MOLTING.
Ugh.. though not all seem to be molting and the new hens all came half naked from being pecked, in overcrowded conditions.
2 cochins have been caught and are currently marked as egg-eaters, spending the next 2 days in the rabbit hutch "penitentiary"! 
*It works!

We’ve also been dealing with a persistent Coopers’ hawk (see last post) hanging around here – and it tried to pick up my pretty roo. (the Silver Spangled Hamburg), and for a time, some other great hawk as well, and there is also a bald eagle I've seen flying around the subdivision. (In years past we've had a bald eagle resting in our tallest tree at night -once from November all the way thru March!), and often enough there are others that keep it company.
I strung up some fishing line to discourage them. I suppose my yard will resemble the Halloween spider webs people put up, but I couldn't stand to lose a chicken to that fate! 

So that's the update from my end. Hope all is well on yours! I would love to know what's new with you!

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