It feels like another lifetime, the time when the chickens were tiny, incredibly stressed and thus loud chicks, who had traveled by US Postal Service and my dad’s old pickup to arrive in the upstairs bathroom of the farmhouse. In truth, that was only 6 months ago, in March of 2021. It was so much fun but also incredibly challenging, those early days and weeks with the chicks.
Once the chickens moved into their permanent coop, I placed their week birthdays in my calendar, starting at 18 weeks old. I had read, on many different occasions and from many different sources, that hens can start laying as early as 18 weeks old. However, with heritage breeds like my girls, it is more typical for them to start laying around 20-22 weeks old, sometimes even later. So I had 18 weeks old marked for Monday, July 5th. I had 19 weeks old marked for Monday, July 12th. And Monday, August 2nd, was 22 weeks old.
I knew that I would return from my month in Seattle just a few days before their 22nd-week birthday. When I arrived on Friday, July 30th, there were no eggs yet. However, I harvested my first egg on Sunday, August 1st. Then my next two eggs on Monday, August 2nd. And so on, until I was regularly collecting about a half dozen eggs daily.
Ever since August 1st, my days include egg collecting as well as frequent cooking with eggs. My regulars so far are scrambled eggs for breakfast and egg salad for lunch. More egg-heavy recipes to follow, as I find good ones to share.