There are some tense moments in the raising of baby chicks: Will they make it? Will they get pasty-butt? Will my favorite wind up being a rooster?
That last one, especially. At around four or five months, you start listening. You wake up before the sun and listen. You work in the garden and listen. And finally, one day, you hear it: a sound like a rusty gate opening. Your baby has just crowed. And now you have to decide whether you’re going to keep him, give him away, or … well, I’m not going to go there. Because if you’ve brought him up from a chick, you want to keep him, of course, depending on how tolerant your neighbors are.
In the case of a pullet, though (a young female), the moment is completely silent. One day the next box is empty, and the next, a little brown egg appears. This is what happened yesterday. I counted beaks at breakfast and Millie was missing, so I went into the coop to see where she was. I found her on top of the hay bale, picking up pieces of straw and laying them carefully across her back. Chickens do this. I don’t know why. But in any case, it indicated that the Blessed Event was imminent.
Sure enough, when I came back, there were two perfect brown eggs in the nest. I think one was from the day before, but since it’s the deeps of winter, it didn’t occur to me to look. My little girl is all grown up now ::sniffle:: Millie was a rescue from the summer—the DH found her dodging cars on the freeway onramp, hardly big enough to fit in his hand. She’s been growing like mad, and now her body shape has changed from sleek and elongated to a little broader in the beam, and her rump is very fluffy.
And we have eggs for breakfast!