It was a race, and I lost. The coop/tractor that I built for the chickens last fall is just too small -- too small to keep them in it all day (the ground area is 4' x 8') and too small for 4.5 chickens and a laying box. A bigger chicken house is required, and I realized over Christmas that it needed to be soon -- pullets start to lay at about 5 months or so.
It's going to be a cool coop, inspired by Baba Yaga's house*, and with luck it will be 100% free except for my labor and deck screws (friends' scrap lumber and construction dumpster treasures are the building materials). I started a couple of weeks ago, but time is limited (my big chicks need tending and feeding too) and it's cold outside.
Last Monday I lost the race . Coming home from work I almost stepped right on it -- our first egg! Somebody had laid it right there on the patio, by the back door. The next day, another. The third day I had to look hard for the egg, which had rolled off to the edge. Then no eggs for two days. Hmm. On Saturday morning I followed Raquel (the prime suspect) and found the secret stash -- four eggs! They've been laying in that location since.
I'm glad the girls have found a better place for the egg nest. Look closely at our first egg, and you can see the dent in the narrow end. I guess this is the end that comes out first, and a patio isn't a very soft landing place!
The Vs each had half a scrambled egg for breakfast on Tuesday.
* Baba Yaga ('baba yaGAH) is the scary witch in Russian folklore, a lot like the witch that wanted to eat Hansel & Gretl. Baba Yaga's house is a cabin in the woods, and it stands on chicken legs. I haven't quite figured out how to do the chicken legs, but I'm working on it.