Even though we’ve had chickens for a while now, it’s still a thrill to find that first egg. On Monday, I found this little egg in a nest box; so our latest batch of Golden Buff pullets has started laying. We got them as day-old birds (there’s a story on that here) on Thursday, May 10th; so it was 16 weeks and 4 days for the first girl to lay an egg. The egg is tiny, but that’s ok – we know they’ll get bigger with time.
The combs and wattles of chickens turn red (from hormones) when they start laying, so it’s possible to distinguish who’s responsible. Of the twelve chicks, there does clearly appear to be one with redder, more developed features – so it’s probably her. Even though we’d just introduced these chicks into the main coop & pasture two weeks ago (see Integrating Young Pullets), she put her egg in a nest box inside the coop – it’s amazing to me that they know what to do.
These pullets will ramp up to laying well in conjunction with the older birds molting this fall, so egg production should continue without disruption this year - provided we supply supplemental light as day length goes below 14 hours (see Controlling Egg Production). In fact, since Golden Buffs are prolific egg layers (close to one per day) and we kept twelve of them this time, we’re going to have lots of eggs for sale. Our friends and neighbors will be happy – they love farm fresh eggs too!