Sunday, September 23, 2012

Broody Betty

A few weeks ago on one of my visits to collect the eggs, I opened the back door and found this:

Betty decided she wanted to hatch some eggs.  This happened earlier in the season once with Farrah Fawcett.

The poor girls get it in their heads that they've got a nice pile of eggs, why not have a seat and try to hatch 'em?  Of course, this won't work, no matter how diligently they sit.  We have no Mr. Chicken to fertilize the eggs.

Betty was not interested in the least in letting me get the eggs, but eventually I coaxed her up and she walked off (maybe in a huff.  Maybe not.  I may have been imagining that).

The eggs underneath her were so toasty warm.  I can see why this would be conducive to chick hatching (again--if that were biologically possible, which it is not).

Fortunately, Betty gave up her plight after just one day.  It took us a week or so to get FF to lay off (oh boy).

Kinda sad, but we certainly don't need any more chickens...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the Move

The chickens, in case you were wondering, are doing great.  I mean, they have their chicken-ish idiosyncrasies (more on that later), but on the whole we are doing a steady egg business.  Ok, that makes us sound more profitable than we are, but we sell and/or give away about 3 dozen eggs each week, and that is more or less enough to recoup (ha ha) the cost of food for the girls and keep our egg stash to the top shelf of the refrigerator.  We certainly have PLENTY of eggs for ourselves and for Dale and Diane.

Several post topics are rattling around in my head, including:

1) The big eggs--on the inside
2) Traveling chickens
3) Broodiness and bother
4) Egg counts and sizes
5) The hazards of hard-boiling eggs

I'm going with idea 2 for the moment.  Mostly because I've got some pictures.

As you know, the girls are in what's called a chicken tractor, which allows us to move them every so often to a new spot of ground, giving them fresh vegetation and a new collection of bugs to munch.

After 4-7 days in one spot, the girls do a number on the dance floor:

But a few weeks later, BAM!

Here you can see their progress, marked by the revegetating squares of green:

We are fortunate to have access to this big old field to pull them around in, but Diane wants to march them across the front lawn where there is a thin patch of grass and an overpopulation of bugs.  Maybe this fall or next spring...

Here's one more photo of the girls.  Seems wrong not to show you just how fabulous they are and how big they have gotten!

Here are Betty, Liz, and Beth...(or something to that effect).  Farrah Fawcetts were being shy.

Monday, August 20, 2012


One of these things is not like the others, some of these things are kind of the same....

Maybe this image will help you see it...

 Or maybe this one...

Yes, that is an egg that weighs more than 3 ounces.  It's HUGE.  The egg carton won't close, not even a little bit.

Somebody is an over-achiever out there in the coop.  We haven't cracked it open yet.  It most likely will have two yolks.  I'll report back when we do crack into it.  (Tee hee.)

And here is one more picture.  I just think it's kind of neat.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


How do you like our new egg-collecting basket?
We thought ten was impressive.

Yesterday, August 1, marked the beginning of week five for the girls as layers.  They began laying on Wednesday, July 4.

To celebrate their one month anniversary as BIG GIRLS, each and every one of them laid an egg.

That's right, we collected eleven eggs yesterday.  They ranged in size from medium to jumbo.  All were beautiful and unique.
Notice how some are more pointy, some more oval.  Some are light, some dark.  Some have speckles, some do not!

Weekly Stats:
Week 1: 10 eggs
Week 2: 27 eggs
Week 3: 50 eggs
Week 4: 63 eggs
Week 5: 11 (with just one day reporting)

Egg size also continues to rise.  We haven't had a pee wee egg (1.25 oz) since week 2.  Only five smalls (1.5) oz. in week 4. We had eleven large eggs (2 oz) in week 4, up from five in week 3. On the first day of week 5, we got three larges and a jumbo (2.5 oz)!

Got all that?  Bottom line is, our girls ROCK!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


First of all, I need to say a great big thank you to our girls!  They provided us with the most delicious eggs to make french toast for all of our friends and family on the morning after our wedding.

Clearly, they are working hard.  They are working SO hard, in fact, that when we checked on them one morning, there were THREE chickens in the nesting box all at once.  (Actually, there were four when we peeked in, but when we opened the back door, only three stayed put.)

See Farrah Fawcett underneath Elizabeth and Beth?
We needed to collect the eggs, and we thought the gals would scoot when Jon reached in, but they didn't.  After a few minutes, one of the three took a stroll, but clearly when it's time to work, the girls take their job very seriously!

Most of the girls lay in the boxes now.  Or should I say box?  They like the one at the end.  I honestly think that if we find an egg in the second box (as we did this particular day), it's by accident that someone dropped it there.  Finding six to eight eggs in a single nesting box is fine with us.  It's more trouble when one of the girls (and there are one or two) who prefer to lay their eggs on the ground!

With Abby away in Indiana visiting her Nana and Grandpa, I've got to go into the four-foot high tractor to collect these wayward eggs!
All in all, we are enjoying the girls very much.  They are fun to visit each day.  They get excited when they see us coming, probably because they always get a treat of corn scratch, Japanese Beetles, or veggie scraps.  It still feels good to see them get fired up as we walk across the field.  And I still think one chicken in particular is really fond of us.

This is Betty.  I can tell by the markings on her beak.  She nearly always comes up to us wherever we are standing, even if it's at the window.
The girls are in their fourth week of production, and their numbers have gone up significantly.  For example, in week one, we got a total of ten eggs.  Today alone, July 29th, we got a total of ten!  It was the biggest day yet, but the girls are averaging eight eggs a day now.

Most of the eggs are medium sized, ranging from 1 and 3/4 ounce to 1 and 7/8 ounce.  But so far this week we've gotten nine large eggs (2 ounces), with two days to go.  Last week we got a total of five.  In the first two weeks, we got a total of three larges.  So production is up and so is egg size!  Go, girls, go!

If you are in the neighborhood and you need some eggs...give us a shout!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Chicken Whisperer

Abby loves the chickens.  And she is just the right size to go into the tractor to collect wayward eggs and visit with the girls.

She likes to give them hugs.  She hugs the chickens.  And they suffer it with a quiet sort of dignity.  It's pretty amazing.

We are getting more and more eggs.  We've got three and a half dozen saved up for Sunday morning breakfast after the wedding (we've got a farmhouse full of guests to feed). (And yup.  Jon and I are getting married.  Tomorrow!  Weeee!!!)

"We were so happy to oblige."
We are very grateful for their output just in time for the wedding!  We have shown our gratitude by sharing veggie scraps with the girls, who find them a delicious treat.

And all the while we keep track of what we get, when we get it, and how big the eggs are.

Aren't these just beautiful?
Thanks to Auntie Jay for the fabulous photos!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A dozen

We've gotten more than a dozen eggs so far, but seeing this full carton this afternoon made me smile.

Thursday, July 12, 2012 did she do that?

As we mentioned earlier, the first few eggs from a chicken can be large or small, perfect or...strange.  We got a strange one last night.  Check it out:

Breakfast for Dinner

By last Monday evening, we had six eggs in the carton, so it was definitely time to make a meal.

The yolks are a beautiful dark yellow.

I followed a recipe for Three Egg Quiche, but with mostly mediums and a small on hand, I opted to use five eggs.

The finished product!

The quiche came out great.  I'm not a breakfast-for-dinner kind of gal, but this was one of the best meals ever!

Abby is not a fan of broccoli and cheese quiche (ridiculous) so I made her a fried egg with the one large egg we had.  Didn't get a photo, but when we cracked it open it had two yolks.  Very cool.  She ate every bite and asked for more.  I told her she had to ask the girls.  They have since obliged.

Week 1 Stats

After the girls' first week of laying, we can report the following results:

Small eggs: 2
Medium eggs: 5
Large eggs: 1
Extra large eggs: 1
Jumbo eggs: 1  (Really!  We were so impressed.  Jon says we've got an over-achiever.)

Total: 10!  Not bad for their first week on the job.

Week two (which began yesterday) got off to a great start with 5!

Rock on, girlfriends!

Monday, July 9, 2012


As you know, the gals have begun to lay.  The early stages of this time can be unpredictable.  The girls don't know where to lay--we have so far found eggs everywhere except in the nesting boxes.  And they are such nice boxes!

Unfortunately, the girls think this is is a salad bar and not so much a place to lay eggs.  But we're working on convincing them!

The other question mark that comes with early laying is the condition and size of the eggs.  We've been lucky.  Most of our eggs have been solid and ready to go.  One was kind  More membrane than shell.  Strange!  Only a couple have been cracked even a little.  As for size, early chickens' eggs are likely to be on the small side.  According to our resources, early eggs can be the size of robins' eggs.  This has made me quite curious about egg size, and so I've begun weighing ours.

See that?  1.75 ounces.

Check this out:

1.25 ounces = peewee eggs (Seriously.)
1.5 ounces = small
1.75 ounces = medium
2 ounces = large
2.25 ounces = extra large
2.5 ounces = jumbo

So far, we've had one egg cracked beyond use, and the others weigh in as follows:

small: 1 egg
medium: 4 eggs
large: 1 egg

That's right!  We got our first large egg today.  Abby and I did a noon-time check in.

The one on the right (surprise) is the large egg.  The other is no slouch...technically between medium and large!
Tonight for dinner?  SOMETHING with eggs.  Maybe quiche!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Who Dunnit?

First of all, sorry for the long silence.  I'll be honest with you--there hasn't been much to report in the world of the Inman chicks.  I should have posted when they made the move from the backyard to the farm field across the street, but really, they looked the same, the tractor looked the same, and we were really happy that the wheels didn't come off en route.

I don't see the girls as much as I'd like.  It was easier when they were in the backyard.  Jon checks on them nearly every day, shlepping food and water out there.  Abby likes to visit them, too.  Ok, so now I'm thinking of several things I need to photograph and update, and I'll try to get on that.  But today's post is about a mystery!

First, the setting.  Here is where the girls have been living for the last month and a half or so:

That's Dale and Finn, working in the garden.
The idea of the chicken tractor is to move it every so often so the girls get a new patch of grass beneath their ginormous feet.  It's slowly making its way around the garden.

Here is another view of the setting.

Everything seemed pretty normal.  The girls were chillin' below the coop:

Hmmm....Do they look sleepier than usual?

And then, upon closer inspection, something unusual was spotted in the coop:

Look closely in the back left corner.  What do you see?

Yes, a full three weeks before we expected, there they were, 3 eggs.


Ok, so who did it!?

The line-up

Of course, there is no way to solve this mystery.  We just know that 3 of our girls were busy yesterday!  And we can only assume the others will follow suit soon.  Of course, there are no nesting boxes yet.  I mean, where was the rush!?  Guess Jon has to get on that!

The first gathering

A perfect egg

Thanks, Girls!  Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rain chickens (title courtesy of Abby)

The girls spend most of a rainy day cooped up (hee hee) but they must have decided it was time for a little fresh air and a snack.  Good thing the tractor has an outdoor covered area!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Moving Day

Jon and Dale finished building the chicken tractor last weekend.

Doesn't this look like a delightful condo?

We decided to push it onto the back lawn for a while so the girls could spend their first few days/weeks outside close to home before moving to the farm field across the street.  We also temporarily installed the light to add some warmth for the first few nights outside.

A view of the interior taken from the side window.

And next it was time to install the girls!  A week ago today they made their big move!  One last ride in a cardboard box and then...

Welcome to your new home!  The girls were certainly curious and probably a little apprehensive.  There was a great deal of standing still and staring at first.  Slowly they began to explore their new surroundings.

We all had fun watching them explore.

After we stared at them staring at us for a while, I climbed in to show them the door to their new coop.

The ramp was a little tricky at first.
Every time I put someone inside, she popped right back out.  Then two girls stopped on the ramp, sat down, and would not budge.

Eventually, as the evening grew cool, we decided to put them in and lock 'em up for the night.  They seemed content with their new living quarters.

For the first part of the week, we locked them in at night with their light on (it was VERY cold here at night).  As the week has progressed, Jon has begun leaving the light off.  

Their first few days were quite windy, and the girls did not seem to like that, so they stayed inside a lot.

Then it got cool and rainy.  Welcome to the great outdoors!   But even the inclement weather does not seem to phase them much now.  I just got home and found them outside in the mist, happily pecking away at whatever lies beneath the blades of grass.  

It is such a treat to come home from work and say hi to the girls.  They respond when people come by!  

Welcome home, ladies!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Curious birds want to know...

Big doings for the Inman Chicks this weekend!  But that post will come (hopefully) tomorrow.

For now...we just want to pique your curiosity.

What's going on?  Why are we in this box?  What are you doing over there?

What are you looking at?  Why are you taking pictures?

What's that smell?  Is it us?  Hey--is this box moving?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Field Trip!

The bloggers may have gone quiet for a little while, but rest assured the Inman chicks have not!  They are busy as ever and there is much to report.  So here we go!

First...the chicken tractor.  It is a work in progress.  It began last weekend with a basic frame-up:

Jon and Dale also got the coop floor in place, and this weekend saw the addition of some walls and windows:

Meanwhile, the girls have been working hard to outgrow the brooder!  With the tractor still a work-in-progress, there is some debate about whether or not to stick it out another week in the basement or move to temporary quarters in the chicken coop in the barn across the street.  We're still debating.  We've made some improvements to the basement brooder.  Updates on that in the next post...

Even though the girls have not had an official change in living arrangements, they have still managed some excitement this weekend.  Today they went on a field trip!

 That's right!  Welcome, girls, to the front yard!  After just a short ride in the smart-pop box and a smooth landing in a make-shift play yard, the girls experienced grass beneath their feet and sun on their plumage for the first time ever!  Abby helped them de-box.

When they first found themselves on the grass in the sun, with the wind ruffling their feathers, they mostly just froze.  It was a big, wide, and strange world for the girls.  We just sat quietly and watched them settle in to their new experience.

We loved seeing who would be the bravest and who would follow the leader.

What's going on?
Where am I?
I think I need to lie down.
But after a few minutes, the girls began to tentatively explore their surroundings.  They had a pretty big area, but they mostly traveled in a pack, and they stayed pretty close to their box at first.  We also realized that they preferred to be near a person if possible, even if that person was on the other side of their fence.

There is something comforting and familiar about the feel of pine chips under foot.

"Let's go over here.  Everybody?  Stay close!"

Though new to their surroundings, the girls had no trouble whatsoever with the other critters around who were curious about them!

The ladies were very polite to Finn, but that's no surprise; he was a perfect gentleman.

Pretty soon they acted like they owned the place.

Look at them walk with confidence!

That last picture reminded me of something...

Look familiar?

The girls were happiest when Abby and I hung out with them in the pen.  I became a make-shift jungle gym.  Abby took some really excellent pictures, I'd say!

"Mommy, bend your head down lower."

Snuggle chicken.
This is a good perch.
But this is cooler.

 All in all, the chickens had a successful first outing.  We've read that they kind of need to be "hardened off" to the outdoors, like seedlings, so little trips like this are just the thing.  And what a pleasant way to spend a warm spring day in Maine!