New chicken keepers get very excited when they get their first egg. No one wants to eat it. They take glamour shots and post them on social media. Then the excited congratulations from fellow chicken people come pouring in. This is the egg by which all subsequent eggs will judged. They stand no chance of being as awesome as the first egg.
But this isn’t me. I am a seasoned chicken keeper and breeder. I have raised hundreds of hens who laid their first egg for me. An egg is an egg is an egg…
Until this morning. In the months since we downsized from 60 chickens to 7 we have gotten a total of three eggs. Our girls are either too young to lay, too old to lay or too busy molting to lay. We haven’t seen a fresh egg in months.
I got a Welsummer pullet from my friend Kelly but she was too young to lay. All the pullets she hatched with have started laying for Kelly, but not my girl. Everyday I check the nest boxes and come away disappointed. Until this morning.
At 5:39 a.m. I heard someone singing the egg song outside my bedroom window. Could it be? It had to be. I got out of bed, made a cup of coffee, unlocked the house and opened the curtains. With Tucker at my side I walked down to the coop to check things out. The big girls were all out in the run and everyone was excited. The littles ran out when they heard my voice. I opened the coop door and went in to check for eggs. The first thing I saw was that the shavings in all three nest boxes had been disturbed. Then I saw it! Way in the back of the middle box was a beautiful little pale terra-cotta colored egg with white spots, a Welsummer egg for sure! Suddenly I felt the excitement of a first egg again!
I put the little egg in a bowl I carried treats out in, checked the feeder and turned to rush back in the house with the little egg. I was thinking about the photos I would take of the little egg, the posts on Facebook, and all the “likes” this little egg was sure to bring me. I stepped out of the coop with my right leg. My foot hit the step, wet with morning dew and slipped right out from under me. I fell backwards into the coop onto my side with my left leg twisted under me. I laid there awhile because I couldn’t move at all.
I was in pain and I knew my knee was wracked up. I tried to get to my feet every-which way I could, but I just couldn’t pull myself up. I tried to use the short roost to pull myself up but it is not attached to anything, and it fell forward on me. I tried to grab onto a vertical 2×4 and pull myself up, but I had two injured fingers and couldn’t get a good grip. I finally scooted around on my side in the shavings and poop until I was facing the nest boxes. I knew they were attached very well to the studs because I just installed them myself a couple of weeks ago. I reached up to the lip on the center nest box, the site of one little miracle already this morning, and used every ounce of strength I had to get myself upright. I made it out of the coop, but how I do not know. At that point I could not straighten knee enough to put my foot on the ground.
I was lucky that the grueling trip back to house offered lots of things to grab onto for support. I used the chicken fence, a tree, the HVAC unit and the side of the house. It took a long time to go a short distance hopping on my right leg. I finally got to the patio outside the window where Michael was sleeping. I knocked on the glass until he woke up then motioned for him to come out. At first he thought I wanted him to come out and see the sunrise. Like I would do that! Then the look on my face and the frantic waving brought him out.
Michael helped me back to the front door, brushed the shavings and poop off me, and got me inside and into my bed. It was almost 7:30! I was out there for an hour and a half. I was so glad to be back inside. I kept thinking about not being able to get up and waiting hours for Michael to wake up and realize I was missing. I think the thought of that was the motivation for me to get up.
I couldn’t stay long in bed because I had been rooting around in chicken muck and I had to clean up. Michael retrieved my walker and cane from the garage, relics from the days before my spinal decompression procedure. I was so glad I held onto them.
The rest of the day I spent in bed with NSAIDS, legs elevated, ice packs, and pain. The nurse in me has diagnosed an injury to my medial collateral ligament. That, along with a host of other aches, pains, and bruises appear to be the extent of my injuries. Of course the nurse in me won’t go to the doctor unless I absolutely have no other choice, so I will see how things go tomorrow.
On the bright side, just look at this first egg! Is this not the most beautiful first egg ever? Look at the spots. Just beautiful. Look at the color. Kelly says the color is good for a first egg!
I need some photo props for pics of this little egg. Oh look, a little chicken book on my nightstand! Perfect.
Well, you’ll need to excuse me while I take a pain pill and post pictures of this egg on Facebook. My chicken friends are going to lose their minds! First eggs are the best!
Edited later: my chickens friends are sorry about my fall, but what they really want to know is how I kept from breaking the egg! It was a first egg you fools! I had to save it.