Waiting for your first egg is like waiting for your baby to come but the difference is that you don’t really have a due date to go by, just a due “month(s).” Your labor consists of the months leading up to that first egg, where you go out each day and care for your chickens as if they were your babies.
…Wait, they are your babies.
It’s a painstaking process and one I know all too well. Last year when I purchased 6 baby chicks, raised them in my house for the first few months, then built a giant chicken mansion that could possibly also serve as a playhouse, it seemed like the days slowly went by — especially the last few months leading up to the 5-7 month old range when you know your chicken will start laying.
Every day I’d go out there and check the nest boxes. Towards the end of my “egg laying labor” I unblocked the nest boxes, put golf balls in there, and talked to my chickens to let them know I was ready for them to start laying eggs. Yes, I talked to them. No, I’m not crazy. Well, a little chicken lady crazy but if you’re not there yet, you’ll get there one day. It happens to the best of us.
Anyway, that last stretch of time I was looking for any signs that indicated I was getting ready to have my first glorious, delicious, homegrown egg. You read different things and you look for different attributes on your chickens like their comb and waddle getting larger and more vibrant in color but that didn’t do much for me.
What really signaled me was when I went to go pet one of my black sex links and she squatted down in an unusual way that I had never witnessed before. Holy cow, when she did that, my heart started racing and I got all nervous and excited at the same time. Thoughts started flooding my brain and I knew it was just a matter of time.
Sort of like contractions; you know the end is near but you don’t know exactly when.
And no, I’m not just relating to first time egg laying with pregnancy because I’m almost 6 months pregnant. Or maybe just a little, but they totally have their similarities!
I would say it was about 1 1/2 weeks after witnessing the squatting maneuver (which I eventually learned is when a hen is sexually mature enough for a rooster to mate with her) that I walked out to my chicken coop to discover all the girls in the coop watching the black sex link lay in the nest box and lay her first egg.
At that time I also talked to the chickens and let them know they could start laying any day now that the matriarch of the clan has started laying. “Get to movin’ ladies! Living is easy but it ain’t free!”
I recorded a short video for your demonstrating what this squatting thing looks like so when you’re waiting for your first egg and you notice your chicken doing it, you’ll know it’s really only a matter of time that you’ll have your brand new baby — I mean backyard egg — in your hands, and then ultimately in your tummy.
Sweet, sweet glory.