I remember it exactly—a cold and snowy Monday night in February. The 11th, to be exact. We had our youngest’s basketball team over for our end-of-the-year party. The kids wanted to meet a couple of my chickens, so I headed out to the coop to grab Happy.
Happy is the reason I fell in love with backyard chickens. As I pulled open the door, the girls greeted me in the same way they do every time—they made their cute noises and then, of course, came up to me for their treats. As I looked around the coop, my eyes stopped abruptly, locked in on their dust bath area.
Now, I had calculated the approximate time my sweet hens would start giving us eggs for breakfast, and I figured it was still about a month away.
But there, laying beautifully in the dust bath, was a cream-colored egg.
The very first one!
Was this actually happening? Could it be true? I was a little surprised because all of my chickens should lay brown eggs. But I had never had that “first egg,” so I was unsure. My other flocks started as already-laying hens.
This was my first flock raised from chicks, so if you’ve done this you know how exciting that first egg is. I grabbed the egg, freaked out a little (okay, a lot!) and realized I’d better get this on video for my chicken followers! It was SO exciting!
I recorded myself jumping and squealing, swinging my chickens around like we’d just won the lottery.
I then jumped on our social media accounts and shouted to the world about our first egg…my first egg. I frantically ran to the Wingnest (our shop) and proudly showed my treasure to my husband and all the kids. I went and got Coco, the suspected layer, so she could get some recognition too.
We took pictures with the egg and Coco, washed our hands after holding it, and carefully brought it into the house. It was beautiful.
It’s what eggs are for, right?
The next morning, I went to prepare the egg. I got the pan hot, explained to my other kids why I was going to give it to our oldest instead of eating it myself. It’s because “that’s what moms do.” We sacrifice. I was honored to cook the first egg for our first born.
It was a moment of remembering why we raise backyard chickens in the first place. We want to give our families good, nutritious food. I grabbed my treasure and ever-so-lightly tapped it on the side of the hot pan.
Imagine my surprise (and horror) when it didn’t crack. I tapped a little harder while my husband Doug cheered from the counter, “Crack it harder!”
I was full-blown whacking that egg on the side of the pan and that thing would.not.crack.
Thoughts going through my head were, “Wow, these products really do make the eggshell hard!” And, “What on earth is going on here?” “If Chicken E-lixir makes the shells this hard, I don’t think it’s going to take off.” Haha!
Looking back now I can laugh. Doug came over and tried to crack it with a knife. After we dropped it on the floor and it still didn’t crack, we realized someone had pulled a prank on us.
A lesson learned
Now, I would consider myself a prankster and someone who can take a good joke. But this joke? At that moment it felt mean. Humiliating. Hurtful.
I couldn’t decide what to do or how to handle the situation, so I did what every good woman would do. I fumed, cried, stomped and crabbed about it for two days. I knew who did it. I knew who hurt me and I was mad.
The worst part was everyone else thought it was the funniest prank ever. After about 2 days, I was reminded of a quote I heard a long time ago. “God will sometimes offend your mind to reveal your heart.” Ouch. I had a choice to make. I could choose to forgive this person for this prank.
I mean, quite honestly it was admittedly pretty funny. It was just the “who” for me. That’s where I was stuck. This person had hurt me in the past and I just hadn’t fully let go. It took this crazy situation to make me realize that.
Two days later, he gingerly showed up. He knew I was upset. We said our apologies and hugged it out. And you know what? Those feelings of anger and bitterness and hurt are gone. I can even laugh about it now.
Who knew that raising backyard chickens would teach me a huge lesson on forgiveness?
Eggs as planned
And here’s the icing on the cake: Three days after the fake egg, my girls gave me an early present. My husband came in and told me the news. I ran out to the coop and sure enough, laying there was a beautiful, brown, somewhat small egg. It was Christmas in February!
I went inside and cracked it open right away. It was delicious.
Since that first egg we have had thousands of eggs from our girls. Along with them have been many more life lessons that have brought us joy, excitement, and even some sadness.
I am thankful for all of them and look forward to many more.
About the author
Annie Wing and her husband Doug, their four kids, and grandkids all live in a small town in southwest Minnesota where she is the Spokesperson for Strong Animals Chicken Essentials. Annie is passionate about her faith, her family, and her 40.