"point of lay" pullet barred rock chicken "about to lay" expecting "first egg"

One Patch the Drama Queen, not knowing what to expect when she’s expecting.

Well, the girls are 21 weeks old tomorrow, and we’re all waiting anxiously for the first egg.  There’s been pacing, and growling, and constant checking out of the nest box.  And that’s just me.

One Patch (Barred Rock) has been ahead of the game all along.  Her comb and wattles were the first to redden, and a couple of weeks ago she started to do the “egg squat,” flattening herself to the ground and spreading her wings.  Since then, Feather (Ameraucana), Stripèd (Silver Laced Wyandotte), and Jumpy (Barred Rock) have all started doing it too.  The others still run off, skittishly, when you try to pet them.

We’ve moved the portable ark to garden bed #2 and fenced it in with bed #4, so the girls have a place to play, forage, hunt for bugs, and generally be chickens while cleaning up the debris from my tomatoes, pole beans,and cucumbers.  After they’re done here, we’ll move them down to beds #4 & #6, #6 & #8, and so on till winter, when they move into Chickhenge, the fortress-like permanent winter coop.

Today, One Patch has been more edgy than ever, pacing the edge of the fence and popping into the ark several times an hour to look at the next boxes.  She’s being very vocal, too–a sort of raspy, downward, protracted, complainy kind of growl, like a rusty barn door being opened and closed repeatedly by a restless toddler.  It’s about equally cute and annoying.

I understand all of this is pretty typical behavior for a pullet about to lay.  (Some people call it “chicken PMS”.) And I know that first egg could be today, tomorrow, next week, or November.  But it’s sure hard to wait…which is probably why I’m sitting here balanced on the corner of the asparagus bed with my laptop on my knees.