That’s right, you might as well go ahead and call me Merlin. You may think I was quoting him from Disney’s Sword In The Stone (one of the best films of all time, IMHO) with my post title. Ah, but no. I was talking about myself.
You see, I have recently realized my own prophetic abilities. Clearly, they are young still and need some fine-tuning… but I think this is pretty good for my first attempt.
A bit of background: Brian and I are getting married this Fall. His family is from the East Coast, mine is from the West Coast. We are having the wedding in California, so much of his family and family-friends will not be making the long trek out West for the wedding. So, his parents threw us a party in Virginia so we could sdee all the people not coming to the wedding. Before the date for the party was set, I placed my order for chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. Soon after I placed the order, the date for the party was set: June 13th. At the time I said, “Oh no! That will be the chickens’ 18-week birthday. I just KNOW the first egg is going to come while we’re gone and we’ll miss it.” I asked people on BYC when their first eggs came over and over again. I read books on the topic. While 20-26 weeks is the average age range, first eggs from certain chickens can come as early as 15.5 weeks. So, I knew it. I knew it would happen. It would be my luck. I would have an early chicken and I’d miss it.
Then Dorothy started up with her egg song and strange behavior. In every way, it seemed as though she’d lay at any moment. I checked for eggs multiple times a day, everyday. By the time we left for the party, there was no doubt in my mind – my parents would find the first egg while house-sitting for us. It was fate. But then – no. The party came and went and no eggs. We returned home the 17th and hadn’t missed a thing. Awesome! I’m not a prophet!
Oh no wait… the fates couldn’t leave it at that. Ooooohh no. I’m back here only a couple of days and my presence is requested in California for a number of much-needed wedding planning appointments. And so, last minute, I booked a ticket and I left. I left on Thursday morning and checked for eggs before I left. I came back tonight, Saturday night. That left only ONE possible day when I was not here at all. ONE day where I could miss the big event. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES????????
Apparently they are great. You are looking at the official, of-the-moment cell phone picture of our very first homegrown egg. Why was the picture taken with Brian’s cellphone? Because this egg was laid on Friday. THE ONE COMPLETE DAY I WAS GONE. A one-day window of time on something that has an average possible range of 6 weeks, and a real-life possible range of about 3 months (15 -28 weeks of age for first egg). Brian sent me the picture from his phone.
So, like I said, I am a prophet. If any of you need your fortunes told or anything like that, give me a jingle. I might be off by a week or two, but clearly I’ll be able to predict the overall general outcome of an event.
Fine-Tuning My Skills and My Almost-as-Good Evening
As you chicken experts out there may have noticed, that egg is not brown (more pictures of that in a moment). In fact, it is bluish-green. And this may have you wondering – which chicken? Clearly this is not from Dorothy The Tease, as her eggs will be brown. With this color, it can only have come from one of the Easter Eggers, from which there are six to choose. Yeah yeah – so I was off by 13 days and by which chicken on my prediction – gimme some slack, people! It was only my first try! Besides, I think if we all step back and look at this blog from the beginning that my prediction abilities are not as far off as they may seem. It is true that I have recently been distracted by Dorothy’s baffling behavior, but on who have I placed the spotlight from the beginning? Who is our true star? Who is first to do EVERYthing around here?
The answer, of course, is our very own Lady B! And at this point, my money is on her as our egg-layer. It makes so much sense. Also, what I did not get a chance to tell you, is that the day before I left, she officially did “the egg squat” for JB. I’d read about it, but I didn’t know how to recognize it until I saw it – it was unmistakable. When he walked up to her and did his little wing-drop song and dance, instead of having to grab her by the head until she stopped struggling so that he could mate her, she simply held her wings out a little and laid down for him before he even touched her. This made it so her could hop on, do the deed, and hop back off very quickly and without any fuss. She didn’t protest at all. This was a big change from even the day before, which involved head-grabbing, squawking, and flapping, and it’s supposed to to be a major indicator that egg-laying is near. That, combined with her suddenly-much-bigger-and-redder comb and I think all signs point to her. My girl. My star. How could I ever have doubted her?
So this brings us to tonight. Brian checked for more eggs this morning to no avail, and then he decided not to check again for the rest of the day so that I could for them myself when I got back tonight. My plane landed at 8:25pm and we were home just before 9:00pm. There was still daylight, but the coop would be mostly dark, so Brian sent me outside with a flashlight to check, just in case. The chickens had mostly gone to roost for the night, except a couple of boys who were hanging out in the window. I had no expectations. I mean – a second egg the next day? That would be too good to be true. The fates wouldn’t allow it. The fates laugh at me. Or do they…..?
There it was – in the top left nesting box – a perfect little blue-green egg. It was clean, smooth, oval and with nary a blemish. In awe, I collected it and took it inside to compare it to the first one. It is so similar, I have to believe it was laid by the same chicken. At this point I am going to credit Lady B as the over-achiever that she is. I think she laid two days in a row, right from the start, and they are well-formed to boot! Amazing. First egg efforts are often a bit odd – lumpy, twisty, generally misshapen, maybe even soft-shelled. It often takes a few tries to get it right. Not for Lady B (assumingly), though. Perfect from the beginning.
So while it was not THE first egg, tonight I got to find MY first egg, and it was pretty awesome. And because they are so awesome, I have to forgive Miss Lady Banks for laying the first one on the one day I was gone. Maybe she waited for me but she just couldn’t hold it in any longer. I like to think so, anyway.
So, here are some shots I took tonight of egg 1 and egg 2 on one of my new super-awesome chicken napkins from Mary Lake-Thompson. In all pictures, egg 1 is to the left of egg 2. In these pictures, they look more like light-mint green, while Brian originally described egg 1 as “blue-green” on the phone when he called and told me about it. I have yet to see them in full daylight, so I’ll reserve judgement about true color names. Either way they’re pretty to me :)
Pullet eggs (female chickens are called “pullets” until they are one-year old, when they become “hens”) are always small at first. Even though these are nicely shelled and shaped, they’re still smaller than regular large-breed eggs. Her eggs will get bigger with time.
Placed in a regular egg carton for perspective, you can see that they do not fill up the cups – they rattle around in them with lots of extra space.
I pulled out some of the various other eggs I had in my fridge for comparison. On the left is a duck egg (store-bought – note the similar color to my eggs), next is a “large brown organic cage-free” chicken egg (store-bought), in the middle is a barred rock hen egg(from the Portland farmers’ market), and then we have egg 1 and egg 2.
Nighty night :)