Today is a momentous day. Today, nestled in the straw inside the special box attached to the chicken coop, I found a perfectly formed, brown speckled egg. My heart leapt for joy, to use a well worn cliche. But it’s true. It really did. I think I even swore but let’s not repeat that.
I had the afternoon off and so on arriving home at lunch time, I went to let the Girls out for a run and checked the box, as I always do in the hope that maybe it might have happened, expecting to see just the usual clumps of poo and feathers in the straw.
The wait is over. At 20 weeks, one of our Girls has done just what nature intended and it’s thrilling. It’s on the small side. Fellow chicken keeper Evcricket declared ‘where’s the rest of it?’ after I told him it weighed a mere 43g (a little smaller than the smallest of shop bought eggs). Give them time, Ev! They’re still young!
After reading stories of chickens who take months to start laying, or who lay funny misshapen non-eggs at first, or who lay them in funny hidden places, I was prepared for all sorts of outcomes. I didn’t really expect that a perfect little egg would show up, in the box, resting in a chicken shaped hollow in the straw.
Of course there is much speculation now about what to do with the egg. My mother said days ago she thought the first one should be bronzed. Alison at MachenMachen suggested today I suck the egg out and keep the shell – which is not as unappealing an idea as you might think. Bianca at Sadie and Lance, who just experienced her own first chicken eggs, said nothing beats poaching that first perfect egg and I’m inclined to follow suit. Soft boiled was my first thought but then I thought if I poach it, I’ll really be able to see it, to get a good look at the colour of the yoke and how it’s formed. Frying it would just be wrong. Fried eggs are nowhere near as beautiful as poached eggs.
What would be really, really nice is if another egg or two showed up tomorrow morning. My sister Adele and her little boy Willem arrive in an hour and I know they’re hoping for fresh eggs for breakfast. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Let’s hope.
In related news, that is, chicken news, I learned a valuable lesson today. I was in the coop in sandals and I had freshly painted bright red toenails. The girls went mad for my toes. They flapped and squawked like I had just taken their favourite treat, dried cranberries, into the coop.
Lesson learned. No more open toed shoes and red toe nails around the chickens!