Breaking News: Barred Rock Lays First Egg at 20 Weeks, Three Days

Luma, caught in mid-cluck just after consuming a special post-laying snack of sunflower seeds.

20 weeks to the day after bringing our Barred Rock chick, Luma, home, she laid her first egg this morning. She’s proved once and for all that she is the baby sister no longer, beating out our slightly older Barred Leghorn and claiming the title of “First Laying Hen”.

We suspected something was up when, last night, we discovered that the girls had removed the straw from their coop. This morning, while I was at the nursery picking up replacement pickling cucumbers (most of mine mysteriously died after planting out), Kelly called to report that Luma had disappeared into the coop and was again moving straw around.

Upon my return, I peeked into the nest boxes and discovered the most adorable little brown egg.

Luma’s first egg.

Seems the Barred Leghorn, Petunia, may be quick to follow Luma’s example. This afternoon she too went into the coop and scratched through the straw for some time. This is a behavior we’ve never witnessed in them before. They appear to be taking the prospect of motherhood quite seriously and are going to great lengths to prepare appropriate nesting sites.

Smaller than a bread basket.

I was particularly impressed that Luma deposited her first egg in a nest box, since I’ve heard stories of clueless young hens that don’t realize what’s happening and lay on the go. My only concern at this point is a large peck on top of the little egg, suggesting that Luma considered eating the egg before she thought better. Let’s hope she doesn’t make a habit of it.

Perhaps it took Luma a moment to realize that she was pecking at potential offspring. Or am I hopelessly anthropomorphizing?

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