We are thrilled that our heritage Rhode Island Red hens have started laying eggs in the past week. When we purchased Sweetie Pie, Baby, and Tootsie from Brice Yokum of Sunbird Farms (http://sunbirdfarms.com) last May, he told us that since our hens were heritage birds, they would begin producing eggs later in their young lives than production hens would. The upside of that, Brice said, is that our hens would produce more consistently and for a longer period of time than industrial hens would.
So during several cold December days of late, we have checked the nesting boxes in the hen house and have been overjoyed that eggs were within. Already, the eggs have been part of some tasty omelets and other dishes.
Our alpha rooster Boss has also begun mating with our trio of pullets, and we are hoping that this spring, when the girls have become officially hens by the calendar, that at least one of them will become broody.
But for now, we are quite content with gathering eggs for the table.