It's been a while since I posted a chicken update, and I know you're all dying to know how they are, so I thought it was about time for some pictures. Our ladies are 7 months old next week, and they've all officially started laying.
Cleo, the Ameraucana, lays the tealy/green eggs. Here she is, caught in the act:
She has the prettiest feather coloring, but is definitely the most skittish of the three. She was the first to start laying, at right about six months.
Bea, the Rhode Island Red, was the second to start laying. Hers are the light pink (yes, pink!) eggs. She's having little drink right here; chickens drink by taking up a bit of water, then tilting their heads back and moving their beaks to get the water down their throats.
Addie, the Buff Orpington, was the runt of the litter and the last to start laying, but is making up for lost time. She's now the fluffiest, and the most vocal after she lays.
They're not shy about letting me know if I'm taking too long to let them out in the coop, and they'll squawk and peck at the door until I open it. Then it's on to say good morning to the bunny! They do this every morning - cruise right by the coop, give her a little sniff and coo, and then continue on to checking the yard for anything new.
We've been getting the garden ready for new planting, so there's lots of turned soil in the yard right now, and their new favorite activity is digging holes and hunting for worms.
Right now it's working in our favor; they're helping turn the soil and fertilizing away, so I should have very nice planting dirt. Once we actually put things in, though, we'll have to put up netting to keep them out of the beds. We've already learned the lesson the hard way, as they totally destroyed a raspberry bush we put in.
I never expected to have so much fun raising chickens, but they are incredibly entertaining and surprisingly sweet. They're very attached to me, so whenever I'm in the yard, they follow me around, and recently Bea and Addie have started letting us pick them up. In fact, most times I go outside, if I don't pick Bea up or at least pet her to say hello, she will holler at me until I give in!
They do a funny thing that I've been calling "getting ready for liftoff" where when they see you coming, they squat low to the ground and stick their wings out a bit, then let you pet them or pick them up. I thought it was just a weird thing our chickens did, but after some googling, I found out that this is actually a really common behavior. Apparently, once hens start laying, they start the squatting thing as a submissive behavior - basically telling you you're the boss (normally they would be doing this for a rooster, but we don't have one, so they'll do it for whoever they see as the leader of their flock).
The only problem we have now is that we're now getting a dozen or more eggs in a week, which is way more than we can possibly hope to eat!