Posts tagged nesting boxes

A Dozen or so …

The laying has begun!

Here is the first week's bounty minus the two that we ate and the two that were pecked or broken. 17 eggs in one week?  We better open a market stand!

Here is the first week’s bounty minus the two that we ate and the two that were pecked or broken. 17 eggs in one week? We better open a market stand!

FM and I went away for a week-long backpack trip (more on that later) and, while we were gone, we took our 6 chickens to a friend’s house (more on that later, too).  When we returned to collect them, we found out that two eggs had been laid during our absence – our first two eggs!

We brought our brood home and waited for the next eggs to show up. Sure enough, throughout this past week, the girls have produced more than a dozen eggs. The first few were small, perfectly-shaped and laid in one of the two nesting boxes. I actually watched as little Croque Madame laid hers, with watchful and attentive Roo at hand. Tweedle Dum was also one of the obedient layers who knew exactly where to place her treasure.

Little Croque Madame laid this one.

Little Croque Madame admiring her work.

But now, the egg hunt has become a daily activity. One egg was found on the gravel by the woodpile; three were laid underneath our front porch; one was laid from the height of the night roost; one was found in their dirt bath and another was found crushed in the watering tray.

Almost all the eggs are a pinky-tan colour, with the exception of two. The crushed egg and another one had paper-thin shells which crumpled with even the gentlest touch. It takes a while before newly laying hens master their egg formation so the size, shape and colour may vary.

The egg on the left is a store bought white egg for siz and colour comparison. The top right egg has a paper-thin shell that was pecked. The middle egg is the long, slim white egg (mystery layer) and the bottom egg is super teeny and freckled (I suspect Chip laid this one).

The egg on the left is a store-bought white egg for size and colour comparison. The top right egg has a paper-thin shell that was pecked. The middle egg is the long, slim white egg (mystery layer) and the bottom egg is super teeny and freckled (I suspect Chip laid this one).

We are a bit confused about who is laying and where. Chanteclers lay light brown eggs and Welsummers lay terracotta-coloured eggs with freckles. So who laid the white egg? My bet is that we actually collected an egg laid by one of our migrating Cedar Waxwings!

After reading up on it, I have placed a golf ball in each of the nesting boxes. This is supposed to show the hens that this is where eggs belong. I have also read that hens need a dark, safe place to lay eggs. Unfortunately, one of our nesting boxes gets the full brightness of the coop light so I am working on a way to darken it some more.

This was the first egg laid in our nesting boxes. The two nesting boxes are a recycled kitchen cabinet from above the stove hood fan.

This was the first egg laid in our nesting boxes. The two nesting boxes are a recycled kitchen cabinet from above the stove hood fan.

Do you think I’ll get the title of “Crazy Chicken Lady” if I sew curtains for the nesting box?  Tune in to find out!

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Build It and They Will Come

Last year, we had a flock of swallows pass through the Queendom, but their stay was short. I really only remember them visiting for a day or two, swooping and eating thousands of bugs during their short visit. I was ever-hopeful that they would stay and eat pond insects all summer long. But alas, they carried on their migration and weren’t seen again.

Definitely a Violet-Green Swallow on the hydro wire.

Definitely a Violet-Green Swallow on the hydro wire.

This year, once again, they made their stop at the Queendom, but this time FM was ready to take action. The day that we noticed them darting around, FM headed into the shop with swallow nest box measurements and, as quickly as you can say “Are those Violet-Greens or Trees?”, he had produced the ideal nesting box and had mounted it at the roofline of the workshop.

Within an hour or two, a couple of pairs of Violet-Green Swallows were checking out the new digs. One would hang out on the exposed roof rafters while the other went inside and peeked out to report.

This is a one-bedroom fly-up loft with a fabulous view and its only a short flight to fine dining.

This is a one-bedroom fly-up loft with a fabulous view and it’s only a short flight to fine dining.

We were sure that our new neighbours had come to roost. But, unfortunately, they didn’t jump at the opportunity. A week went by with barely a sighting.

Swallows

Awaiting residents

Just yesterday, while having some quality Chick Time, I noticed that the swallows were back. And this morning, there is a flurry of nest-building going on inside the new house. In fact, it seems that two pairs of Violet-Green swallows are getting very territorial about the new real estate. FM has plans to build another nesting box to accommodate the other couple. We are very hopeful that a new crop of insect-eating machines will hatch just in time for mosquito season and that they will return for years to come. Stay tuned!

And we have take-off!

And we have take-off!

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