Tuesday, December 18, 2012

First Egg!

 A shot hubby messaged me this morning....our second egg!

 The girls on their resting place when being moved from outside to the garage....the baby gate.

The golden egg...our first egg after a long, long wait!

I can answer the age old question what comes first the chicken or the egg?

Actually what comes first is 235 days of work and hoping. We brought our chickens home when they were one day old. We had them sit in their warm brooder for 6 weeks, feeding and nurturing them to be strong enough to go outside. Since this past winter was the snowiest in history of Anchorage it took forever for the snow to melt and the back yard to be chicken friendly. 

We spent time getting the chicks used to the dogs, baby and us. They were named and fed the best organic food we could find.

They were bought treats and a chicken toy. They moved outside after 8 weeks full time to their McMansion in the back yard, a lovely cap cod style chicken hutch. Hubby soon began improvements with water system and food system that is genius and allows us to feed them through a chimney that will make easy access even when several feet of snow blanket the back yard.

He then heated the water system, raised the level of the hutch so that we could do a deep litter which eliminates all smells. I brought home hay to use for Ocoee's birthday party and then we used it to insulate the house and make a soft place for the girls to rest. Chickens love hay.

I spent all summer trying to keep the chickens off my deck, out of my garden and away from my flowers and lettuce. I failed lots. I yelled more.

Still after all this work....no eggs.

It has been winter for a long time already in Anchorage. We have had weeks of below zero weather. We have plan B for the girls which involves a huge dog kennel in the garage for the really cold nights. Anything below zero and they are inside the garage. 

The girls even learned to walk in the snow.....which they thought was really crazy the first few inches but are now legitimate Alaskan chickens and wade through with no issues.

Hubby would take them fresh water each day since theirs froze and even prepare them a hot water bottle to warm them up. We installed a thermostat we could monitor the temperature of the coop from inside.

And we waited.

Dates we predicted past. 

We made new predictions. These too passed. I considered a light. Hubby was firm that a light was unneeded stress on these poor, poor chickens.

I sighed.

And then Sunday we found our first egg. We are sure it was Eli that laid it since she is the biggest and bossiest. The first girl to show signs of broodiness (chicken speak for hormonal).

And this morning there was another golden egg.

We ate the first one last night on our weekly egg night. A simple meal of homemade caesar salad, egg sandwiches and roasted potatoes was made celebratory by our first egg and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. The egg had the oranges yolk and tasted divine.

We joked that these are very expensive eggs, and it will take years to make this hobby/project/experiment pay for itself. The girls are part of our odd little family now and I am thrilled they are laying eggs. They have passed the dogs in rank of productiveness.


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