I've been feeding and watering my neighbor Jennie's chickens all week, and collecting the eggs each day. In four days I collected 30 eggs. So far I've dropped one, given three away to a passing neighbor, and eaten several each day for breakfast.
There are 16 hens in the coop. When I went over on Tuesday, the first day, three were outside the coop. I caught two of them, but the third - a large white one with a black tail - eluded me. It had returned to the coop by the next morning.
Yesterday - Friday, the fourth day, I was picking green beans in my garden and I heard a rooster crow close by. I thought it might have been a neighbor boy imitating a rooster, but it sounded very authentic to me. It was repeated three more times in ten minutes. I noticed my Jennie's husband Jason had come home and wondered if he'd stopped by someplace and bought a rooster to join the hens.
Today when I was walking home from the library I saw Jennie in the yard. We chatted about her trip and then a rooster crowed! Turns out the large white hen with a black tail who escaped the coop wasn't a hen after all. Jennie and I discussed how eggs get fertilized - something I wasn't familiar with. As we stood there, the rooster mounted a hen. It was very fast - like maybe two seconds - and then it was over. Jennie and I laughed about what a quick thing it was, and how easy for the hen. Then she said the rooster might only be practicing. Remembering its robust crowing, I wondered.
So, for you keepers of chickens out there, is it really that quick? I told Jennie I'd post a blog entry and ask.
Saturday at our house...
3 hours ago