On Thanksgiving Day, we had something (somewhat) unexpected to be thankful for. While making Thanksgiving Dinner preparations, we noticed that Ethel, our most vocal chicken, was making crazy noises. It sounded like something was strangling her. When I went out to investigate, she was upstairs in the coop by herself, screaming away. In fact, she sounded like one of those Chicken Vending Machines from my childhood (http://tinyurl.com/7zpz5ta). She screamed for about five minutes, but nothing was visibly wrong with her. We finally (duh!) realized that she might be trying to lay her first egg.She had been acting strangely recently. The day before, she squawked loudly on our back porch until I opened the door. Then she walked directly into the house and looked up at me to see what I would do. I picked her up and held her for a long time, with absolutely no protest from her, just contented chicken noises. This was highly unusual, but a wonderful experience. Then early Thanksgiving morning, she had tried to get in the house again by jumping on the barbeque and then on the window sill, about five feet from the ground. All the while, she was looking directly at us inside the house.
Around lunchtime, after several more long cackling (screaming?) episodes from Ethel, and long secretive silences in the coop, we looked again and found our first egg. We were so proud! (Ethel was famished.)She laid another one this morning, waking us up with her egg-laying noises. Both eggs are a bit small, but apparently this is normal for the first eggs – some people call them pullet bullets. We can’t wait for Lucy and Strawberry to join her in a few weeks!