Tag Archive | pullet eggs

First Snow and First Eggs

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Time to finish cleaning up the garden!

We awoke today to the first measurable snow of the season, about 1/2 inch of wet accumulation.  The white won’t last long.  The next few days will have temperatures in the 40sF with rain.  It’s pretty to see, dusting the trees, carpeting the lawns.  A warning of what is to come.

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Winter dusts the harvest decorations

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Snow never stops Otto from enjoying his favorite ball

The first snow of the winter is later than last year by about three weeks.  We have enjoyed a very warm autumn.  The ground has not frozen yet.  I am still harvesting the late apples and they are in good, hard condition.  I also collected my hazelnut crop, a total of eighteen nuts! b6

Next year should bring a better harvest.  Only the largest hazelnut bush produced nuts.  Hazelnuts require good cross pollination.  There are two other hazelnuts struggling to produce flower catkins.  They should provide enough to fertilize my largest plant next spring, as long as the deer don’t chew on them again this winter.  I trimmed my husband’s hair last night and collected the clippings.  Legend holds that hanging little cloth bags of human hair in the branches of trees will stop the deer from eating the twigs.  I’m giving it a try.b1

The pullets hatched in May and June have just started laying.  There are a total of thirteen hens.  Every morning the lights in their pen come on around four.  This gives them enough supplemental light to stimulate laying during the dark, dreary days of late fall and early winter.  We are getting an average of eight eggs per day.

b5The shell color on the eggs being produced by these young Ameraucana hens is lovely.   My latest flock is all silver or black plumage color.  I believe the blacks produce the deepest blue shade on their eggshells.  I breed specifically for the bluest shell color and things seem to be heading in the right direction!

 

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First Egg

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Great news!  The pullets that hatched May 7 are starting to lay eggs!  I’ve been supplementing their light in the morning for about at week now, so they get 13 hours of light to encourage them to lay.  Hens need at least 12 hours of light to produce eggs.  One of the little black hens had been wandering around the barn during the day talking to herself and looking at me like I could do something to help her.  This behavior is a good indicator that egg production is imminent.

I set up some nest boxes where the young chickens roost.  In each box I placed a wooden nest egg (artificial egg) so the pullets could understand what nests are for.  I put the pullet on the nests to get a good look.  And today my efforts were rewarded with the first new egg!  I’m fairly sure the little black hen laid it.

In the photo above, the new egg (on the left) is shown with a normal size large hen egg.  Just a tiny first attempt, but her eggs will quickly increase in size.  Sometimes the first eggs may contain only albumen. The shell color is good, dark with some greenish shading.  Ameraucanas’ first eggs always have the deepest color. Over time, as the hens lay, the bluish color fades quite a lot.

The hens in the photo below are all the same age and should begin laying soon.  The pullet that laid the first egg is the black one toward the back.  She is very friendly.  I hatched her and her sister from eggs I bought from a breeder in New Jersey and had shipped in the mail.  Only three of twelve eggs hatched, giving me two hens and a gorgeous black rooster.ck1