At an age of 18 weeks and four days, the first of our fourteen hens laid an egg in one of the egg-laying boxes in the henhouse!  A second egg appeared the next day, and another two days later (today).  Left: Monika holds the first egg–now with the insides blown out and preserved for posterity.  As it happened, we had company arriving that day, and Raymond can be seen proudly holding the second egg below.  While first eggs are typically small, they have firm brown shells and deep-orange yokes…. and they went into an omelet this morning.  Monika’s loving care seems to have produced happy and productive chickens!

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Our fourteen chicks, which arrived on April 27th, will be five weeks old tomorrow.  Starting out in a plastic tub, they grew so fast that they soon had to be transferred to a 4×4 foot brooder which we constructed.  Three days ago they moved into the chicken coop we’ve been constructing with a friend for the past several months–first into the hen house for three nights and today into the roofed run as well.  Monika’s nephew from Germany, Felix, grand-daughter Cally, and my son Nic helped move the chicks into their new home.  Today we opened the door to the run and, gingerly, out they came.

Eggs aren’t expected until September or October, but they’re providing a fascinating show in the meantime, and they appear to love their new digs.

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Our chicks from Meyer Hatchery in Ohio hatched early Monday morning and shipped a few hours later.  They arrived at our post office this (Wednesday) morning around 8:30 a.m., and were being settled in their new home by 9:00.  One died in transit, but the others all look healthy at this stage: six Rhode Island Reds, three Barred Rocks, three Silver Laced Wyandottes, and two Black Australorps.  They seem to be taking to the three main chick functions (drinking, eating, pooping) with gusto!  It’s fascinating to watch them.  Pictures above show them in the box they arrived in and then in our makeshift brooder for the first week or so.

Yesterday we put in our chick order at Meyer Hatchery in Ohio.  Clockwise from the upper left, we ordered six Rhode Island Reds, three Barred Rocks, three Silver Laced Wyandottes, and three Black Australorps.  All are female chicks  reputed to grow up to be good egg layers with placid personalities; Monika and I also chose these particular breeds to get an interesting range of colors and patterns.  They are due to be shipped on April 25th and (amazing as it seems to us) we will pick them up at the local post office when they arrive.

This is all very new to us and we have lots to learn.  If my mother is looking down from above, I’m sure she’s saying in our family lexicon: “Whodathunk!”

Our chicken coop, that is (with help from Ruritan friend David Hight)

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