What a beautiful and surprising moment I had in the chicken coop this evening! As I've mentioned before, over the past few weeks I've had the sense that a couple of the pullets were getting ready to start laying. Especially "Monday" and "Tuesday" who are now 25 and 24 weeks old respectively and have recently started to seem more hen-like (I just stopped myself from writing "womanly"). Pullets can start laying any time after 21 weeks but with some breeds it can be much longer. So even though I've been eagerly awaiting our first egg, I haven't really gotten into the habit of checking for them yet.
I was out of town for a few days this week, so this morning when I returned I spent a little more time than usual checking on things in the coop. Without really thinking much about it I took a peak into the nesting boxes. To my surprise, I found the straw displaced in a nest-like way and could definitely tell that someone had been sitting in them. A first! I knew this was a sign that someone was getting laying urges but I still assumed it would be awhile before I'd see an actual egg.
Then this evening right before I started dinner I went out to make sure the chickens still had plenty of clean water. As I was leaving the coop I had the impulse to check the nesting boxes again, mostly to see if there had been any more signs of activity. And wow...there was a small but beautiful egg sitting there!
It's funny, but even after all the anticipation and effort that's gone into achieving precisely this result, it was still somehow a bit of a shock. For a brief moment, I honestly had the sensation of, "Wait, what's that doing there?" and the feeling that it was almost some kind of trick. I think part of that reaction is just my inner city-girl, but another part is my profound amazement and appreciation of the many miracles of nature. So beautiful!
Of course we fried it up immediately as a little pre-dinner snack. It was everything I imagined it would be--a vibrant orange yolk and full of flavor. Silly as it might be, I'm still feeling a little incredulous that our chickens are actually going to keep making these for us almost every day. It's hard for me to just take that for granted. Simple pleasures give me great delight!