We got our first egg in May. We were having dinner on our patio with some friends, and a chicken started squawking like it was being murdered. We eventually found a soft shelled egg, and we were excited. Then I got impatient that one of our chickens was laying, but the others were not. Over the next four weeks or so, our Ameraucanas all got into line. It was fun finding these blue eggs around.
The Australorps were a different story. We got our first brown egg from one of them almost a month after we got our first blue egg. I was pretty impatient, but a friend of mine reminded me that people all develop at different speeds, and chickens are the same. But by the time we had a brown eggs, all three Ameraucanas were laying. We started getting three to four eggs per day, which meant that we were now ready to start substituting store bought eggs with our backyard eggs.
So where are we now with things? Chickens are supposed to slow down their laying in the summer, but we're getting 3-5 eggs per day. We are moving umbrellas around the yard 23 times per day to keep our chickens in the shade while they're laying. We have exactly 14 water containers around the yard so they will stay hydrated. And two of my three kids love the chickens and cuddle them as often as they can (the other one is terrified of their dinosaur feet and their beady eyes). I had no idea how pet-like they would be.
And they all have names. They are:
- Kylee Henner
- Hei Hei (this one may or may not have had brain damage as a chick - very quirky)
- Not Hei Hie
- Ha Ha
Are chickens a lot of work? Kind of. I guess it really depends on the weather and how close to dying they are. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Aside from the wonderful eggs that we get from them, their poop is like garden gold. When my son cleans out the chicken coop and dumps the chicken poop into the compost, we all get excited for the high levels of nitrogen it's adding (okay, maybe I'm the only one in our house that gets excited about chicken poop).
So if you're contemplating backyard chickens, you would get a hearty Renaissance Dad thumbs up!