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Chicken Update: Blanche, You’re a Woman Now

Many readers have asked that we post regular updates about our new chickens, and since Blanche – our Barnevelder – recently reached a milestone, it felt like a good time to send one out. Yes, Blanche started laying, and we were there to witness her first day.

It’s not something that you read in books.  In fact, it is often not even implied, but what we saw Blanche endure that day was nothing less than a rite of passage.

Blanche the Barnevelder is all grown up now

It started with the expected Ba-Gock, but that was the day before.  Could it be that she was gearing up for her first egg?  We waited with anticipation.

Around 1:00 on a sunny, warm Saturday during a visit from a friend, Blanche started pacing.  Up the ramp, down the ramp, into the nesting box and out.  She kicked all the bedding out of the nesting box, we assume, in an effort to make things more “comfortable” (ladies will be able to relate to this).  If we could put words to her actions, she would have been saying, “What’s going on?  So uncomfortable…so uncomfortable.”

Then the panting started – contractions, if you will.  Beak open, her little body huffed and puffed.  Instinctual Lamaze?  Her chatter got a little louder too.  Bruuaaaa-bra-bra-bra-bra.

After nearly 20 minutes of this, during which time our friend called her aunt – a long-time chicken owner – to ask if what was happening was normal, Blanche let out a loud series of Ba-Gocks from inside the nesting box.  It was time.

Blanche’s first egg

The thing is, the egg didn’t appear right away.  Blanche got up from her nesting box and walked around.  We looked for the egg in the box and saw nothing.  She paced a bit more, returning to the nesting box several times.  After another 5 minutes or so, the egg finally appeared in the nesting box.

The interesting thing about the whole process is that the other hens were keeping watch.  Polly, the alpha chicken, accompanied Blanche into the coop and sat on the perch keeping vigil the entire time Blanche was “in labor”.  She left just before Blanche made her cacophony and laid the egg, perhaps giving her some privacy.  Who knows, but there was definitely some bonding going on there.

Blanche has continued to lay an egg, every other day at first, but almost every day now for the last four days.

A starter collection – just in time for dinner

Our first meal was another rite of passage – for us.  Well, one of us, anyway.  My husband felt odd eating eggs from a chicken we knew.  I, on the other hand, was excited to experience the difference between home-raised and farmers’ market / store bought eggs.

Sunny side up with homemade bread and home grown sauteed garlicky kale

A little salt and pepper.  That’s all they needed to be the creamiest eggs we ever had.  Now when are the other girls gonna start laying?

Hey chicken keepers out there – what was your experience with your hen’s first egg?  Share your stories here.

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