Copper the Easter Egger

Copper in the private next box. She's wearing her saddle and wing protectors.

This is Copper, the Easter Egger, in her private nesting box, which is in the back vestibule of our house. We bought 5 of these as baby  chicks, and only have 2 left. 2 were my beloved roosters that we gave to the rooster rescue a couple of miles away. Diamond, who reliably laid blue eggs, was murdered by a hawk a few months ago. We love and miss her terribly. That leaves Copper and Turquoise, and they look nothing alike. Not only are they different colors, but they have different body shapes. I have read that Easter Eggers are a nice way of saying Ameraucana mutts.

We decided to keep Archie, since he was our chosen rooster. He's a classic Gold Lacewing Wyandotte.

The lowest chick in the pecking order

Copper was getting up on a dog crate in the chicken run, and flying out, when things got tough. She's at the bottom of the pecking order, and sometimes has egg issues. She is now our only blue egg layer. A few times a week, she's lays 2 eggs within a 24 hour period, which I've read is impossible. Usually when this happens, one of the eggs will have a very soft shell or a very thick membrane and no shell. We are trying all sorts of vitamin rich organic foods to mitigate this issue. Sometimes, she lays a fantom egg. 

Copper has some classic Ameraucana traits for an Easter Egger. She has a good size beard, which drags in the water dish and gets food stuck in it. We think her egg laying anomalies are more Ameraucana traits. Her eggs also have some lumps and bumps on the shell. Her shell isn't as healthy as everyone else. This could be her breed stock combined with the stress of being shy and the lowest chick. 

One day, I was visiting my mother and sister, and Andy was getting up early to go to the Ithaca Farmers Market. No one was going to be here to assist Copper getting back in the chick run after her private time. So Andy moved the dog crate, taking away the escape runway to fly out. I can see the chick run from my office, and it was painful to watch Copper frantically run up and down the fence line hoping to get out to lay her egg. 

I tried to coax her into the nest box a few times. She looked at it, and at me, groaning, "No, I don't want to lay there". At the end of the day, I didn't see her go into the coop with everyone else. I thought I'd try to get her in the nest box again the next day. I went to tuck everyone in, did a beak count, and didn't see Copper. I hopefully looked in the nest box, and there she was. We had a nice, healthy blue egg in the morning.  

She had a whole day with everyone, and they all laid eggs, which doesn't happen often. Maybe we worked through that drama.

The drama continues

She flew out of the run the next day, over a 6 foot fence and about 10 feet away! She's amazing and determined to have privacy. We plan on building a 2nd egg laying coop. With more room and privacy within the protection of the run, some of the girls may choose to be broody and hatch babies. As of now, there are 3 next boxes. Archie keeps everyone in line to make sure they all get a turn, and they all have a place. Otherwise they fight, storm around and threw each other out of the coop. It's very entertaining and loud, but it's much better, when they can all lay in peace.

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Above is a photo of Copper, talking about the egg she's getting ready to lay, in the escape private nest box. She's funny and is a little bit of a moaner. I was sure she would be giving us green eggs, but they are blue. They are also the largest eggs from all of the hens. She was the last of baby chick batch #1  to start laying.

For a while she had a hard time and her eggs had irregular shells. I adjusted her diet a little bit.  Now her eggs are beautiful. 

Since we embraced Amber's broodiness, and assisted her in hatching 4 chicks, this enabled Copper to moved up a bit it the pecking order. She no longer needs to escape to lay her eggs.

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