Eggs and Chickens, Chickens and Eggs

Here is our eggs collection for today. Given that we have close to 20 chickens this isn’t very much. And it is actually a good count. For quite a while now I’ve only been collecting 1-3 eggs. That little brown egg is the first from this years pullets.

The chickens have presented a challenge for us this year and we’ve kind of just thrown up our hands. They were breeding like rabbits and we quickly found we had too many for our coop. They are free range so that is good but it was causing a problem at night. The young birds started roosting in the nesting boxes and then the hens didn’t want to lay in there because of the poop. I wasn’t good about cleaning them out and so the hens started laying elsewhere.

At one point we had more than 40 chickens. We sold some and gave some away and were down to about 35 chickens. Then last month I saw a fox after them. Did a count that night and found we were down to about 23 chickens. Boy, were we not paying attention. Then the following week Dave saw a hawk after them. Today I saw a hawk fly away as I took some melon rinds out to the compost. I saw something down in the pasture. Went to investigate and it was a dead hen. Why couldn’t he/she have gotten a rooster! We butchered 2 of the roosters last weekend so now we have 20 chickens or less.

Not sure my numbers are adding up right (or subtracting). The bottom line is we aren’t getting many eggs considering the number of chickens we have and we have a predator problem. Looking on the bright side – we no longer have a problem with too many chickens in the coop at night and I found the pullet egg in the coop – on the floor and not in a nesting box, but that’s okay!

Harvesting Melons

Just a quick post to help me remember how to harvest melons. We had neighbors over for a cookout/potluck Sunday and I asked Bobby how to know when it is time to harvest watermelons other than a yellow bottom and a deep sound. He said the little curly cue on the vine near the melon should have turned brown. So we harvested one and it was a little too ripe but still very good and sweet. I have harvested two more since then. Seems they all ripen at once! As far as cantaloupes go, Bobby said you have about a day or two between the time they ripen and the time the bugs find them. The loupes in the photo above look like they should be beyond ripeness. I cut into one of them and it was very good. I think the watermelon had better flavor than any I’ve gotten at the grocery or farmers market. I can’t say the same for the cantaloupes I’ve cut into so far. Maybe we’ll have to try another variety next year.

We opened up the barn garden for the chickens. There were just so many squash bugs. I think the butternut squash is a bust this year. Oh, well. Some things do well and others don’t. What does and doesn’t changes every year. Can you see the egg at the bottom of the above photo? I saw Bonnie making clucking noises near the marigolds and made note to check later for an egg. She didn’t disappoint!

First Day of Spring


Unidentified flowers in the pasture.


One of the hens came to check me out.



So this is where they’ve been laying. We have 4 hens sitting on clutches of eggs. For a few days 3 of them were taking up 3 of our 5 nesting boxes. We finally moved 2 of them to brooder boxes. Meanwhile, the other hens found this corner in the barn to be a good alternative place to lay.

Of note – we heard chirping in one of the brooder boxes. Right on time – it was 21 days ago that our first broody hen settled on her clutch of eggs. No siting of chicks though as it was fairly chilly this afternoon. Expecting warmer temps this weekend.


Such power in this old oak. I love this tree.


Not focusing properly on this lone Lungwort or Pulmonaria.



My search for eggs led me to the pasture behind the tool shed where I found Freda and Eartha sunning themselves.


And I found eggs in the brush pile. Only one was cracked, most likely due to freezing and thawing.

Cache of Eggs


The hens were holding out on us! I found this cache of eggs behind the tool shed last week. Since then we found eggs behind the rain barrel and in the barn. Our eight hens are laying anywhere from 3 – 7 eggs a day. At least that we can find!


Here they are all cleaned up.

Catching Up


Damian made some sunny side up eggs from some of our first eggs.

I was surprised to see that my last post was from Jan. 2. I’m trying to stay off the computer but I did not intend to go so long without posting. So now I have some catching up to do!


I’ve been in touch with a woman in Roanoke who has Red Dorkings and she is interested in taking two of our five Red Roos. She is having trouble getting up here to get them so we still have seven roos. We are waiting for some mild weather to butcher the other two we don’t want to keep.


We traded a dozen eggs for a basket of lettuce from our neighbors, Nancy and Eli. The lettuce was nice to have when my sister and niece visited a couple weeks ago. So green and fresh. Nancy uses little hoop houses to protect the lettuce from frost.

Busy Hens

Caught one of our young hens in action.


We found two eggs in the nesting boxes this afternoon.


We tagged the red roosters by tying a piece of different colored fabric on their legs. Hoping this will help us tell one from another and decide which one we want to keep.


Just a few shots of them on the side of the house – resting and taking dirt baths.