This spring I dove head first into backyard chicken farming. I purchased seven laying hens and 16 chicks. I was off and running, and a little overwhelmed, but happy. Twelve of my chicks were to be eaten and four were to one day become laying hens.

The chickens that were to be eaten are in my freezer now and have been there for a few months. However, I have been anxiously awaiting the day when my four young hens would lay their first eggs.

That day has finally come. All four of them have found a special hiding spot to lay their eggs. Of course, they can’t lay them in their coop. That would be too easy. No, instead they lay their eggs underneath the stairs to the back deck.

My boys found their clutch of little eggs and excitedly brought them to me. However, then they worried that the chickens would be upset they took the eggs, so they colored some rocks the same color as the eggs they took and placed them back in the spot where they’d found the real eggs. It must have worked, because sure enough, there was another little egg there the next day.

This is very exciting that my young hens are finally laying. However, there is one downside. Their eggs are about half the size of normal sized chicken eggs. This makes them super cute, but you need twice as many to bake with. The good news is that this is only a temporary problem. As my young chickens get a little bit older their eggs will get bigger.

I look forward to the day when I have 11 hens laying delicious eggs regularly. I have enjoyed my backyard chickens, and can’t wait for next spring when I can purchase a few more chicks and add to my backyard chicken herd.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.