The calendar may say that there’s still another week and a half until spring arrives, but the poultry say otherwise: the first goose eggs of the season were in the coop this morning. Along with those enormous beauties, the ducks left five of theirs, and I also collected two early-morning chicken eggs. Hooray for spring’s bounty!
I wasn’t entirely surprised that the geese have begun laying because the gander has been even more full of himself – hissing at me, chasing ducks away from his harem, and getting “friendly” with his girls – behavior that typically signals the start of breeding (and laying) season. Fortuitously, I decided to take the egg basket out with me this morning in case there were too many eggs to carry, and I definitely needed it.
The ducks had already begun ramping up the egg production, but five is the most I’ve collected so far this year. The Runners just lay their eggs wherever they please, and the waterfowl end up kicking the eggs around in the coop and helping them get extra dirty. Fortunately, that has no effect on hatchability because of the incredible protection provided by the egg’s bloom, and the bloom remains intact until the egg is washed. Some breeds of duck, like Muscovy, will lay in a nest box, but not the Runners. I’m just happy that no one’s laying in puddles.
While I was in the main chicken coop (housekeeping, the poop board needed clearing), I happened to notice something right below the pop door, half-buried in the shavings on the floor. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that it was a small egg from a Black Copper Marans – based on its size, my guess is that it was laid by a pullet hatched last fall, rather than being a fairy egg. It’s always exciting to find “first” eggs, but I hope the pullet figures out that the eggs should be laid in the cushy nest boxes soon!
Winter may not go out without a fight – last frost date here is in May – but the sheer enthusiasm of spring won’t be denied. With lots of eggs, I’ll be keeping the incubators busy and welcoming many new littles to the farm. Stay tuned for more of the sights of the new season on the farm!