A few weeks ago, our once little chicks reached the milestone of their first birthday. They’ve had an eventful year, and now they are beautiful, full-grown Rhode Island Red hens. I’ve found that you can learn a lot from a chicken — especially seven of them!
They love having free-range of the yard and have settled nicely into their coop, making it their own home-sweet-home. In addition, Jonathan has attached a pen to the back of the coop for days that we will be gone and want to ensure they are safe and not wandering too far.
At around five months of age, we began waiting with great anticipation for the first egg(s) to arrive. We didn’t have to wait long — Rhode Island Reds are known to be exceptional layers, and our hens did not disappoint! We found the first egg only a few days after they turned five months, and soon after, we were getting seven every day. Spinach-cheese omelets, french toast and chile rellenos are only a few of the dishes we love to prepare with the hens’ organic eggs!
In addition to cooking, I love to bake. It’s definitely in my genes. Cakes, cookies, pies – you name it! I have learned that even with all of our cooking and baking, we can accumulate a surplus of eggs very easily. The hens do a fabulous job, and it’s a joy to be able to share their bounty with family, friends and neighbors.
I have also learned that even with the prerequisite amount of nesting boxes, our hens prefer one nesting box in particular. Each morning, I hear the distressed calls of a hen who desperately wants to lay her egg, thank you very much! But instead of using one of the available nesting boxes, the hens will wait for “the” nesting box. I’m not sure why they favor one in particular. It was very amusing to find three of the hens trying to lay their eggs together. Occasionally they seem to realize that maybe it’s alright to use the other boxes available, but only on occasion.
I never would have dreamed that chickens could be so expressive! If any one of us goes outside, one or more of the hens will come to greet us. Their contented murmurings or loud grumblings seem to convey what kind of day they’re having. Often, they will wait patiently at our dining room doors for one of us to come out and join them or bring them a favorite treat. They seem to enjoy our company, as we enjoy theirs.
I love their loyalty. Typically, they will scatter off into two or more groups, but if one hen strays a little too far, she gets called back by her sisters. They have their squabbles, but they also know how to stick together!
Yes, you can learn a lot from a chicken, and we’ve certainly learned that they’re a wonderful part of our life bellissima.