Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There's Just No Telling

Yesterday I posted about the various benefits of keeping chickens. Our hens are now about two and a half years old, which is older than 99% of all laying hens in the US ever get. They still produce eggs well. But as can be expected from their age, their output isn't what you'd call consistent. On Sunday they produced just one egg between the four of them. This was an unprecedented lapse on their part. Once or twice before I'd gone out to find only two eggs, and I gave them a stern talking to, which ruffled their feathers not at all.

But yesterday the girls surprised me yet again. I retrieved one early egg. Then on a later check I found in their nesting box two eggs of normal size and one tiny egg. So tiny I had to laugh. It looked like a jumbo quail egg. This diminutive little treasure made me very glad that I had taken a picture a few weeks ago when an egg the size of a goose's showed up in the box. I looked over the hens to see which one might be walking funny when I found that one.

Look at the differences between these two eggs! The one on top weighs twice as much as a grade AA large egg. When I cracked it open, it held two yolks. The one below doesn't even make the cut for a small egg, weighing in at less than an ounce! I can't wait to see what's in that little egg.
That's the thing about keeping hens. They'll surprise you. I never know for sure what I'll find when I take a stroll out to their pen and coop. The colors vary. The sizes vary. The quantities vary. There's just no telling.

This is the sort of simple daily entertainment I couldn't put a price on, but that comes to me free anyway. And then I get to eat an egg for breakfast.


Wendy said...

We get little tiny eggs like that from our two year old hen occasionally. They're yolk-less. I keep trying to tell her to keep laying those yolk-less ones. I could make a fortune selling them to cooks who want only the whites, but, alas, she doesn't believe that the money I'd make would substantially improve her life. Oh, well ;).

Kate said...

What a riot of an idea, Wendy! Now some mad scientist breeder is going to try and develop this trait to feed the food fetishists. I've been intrigued by the variety in chicken eggs that has been filtered out of the supermarket dozen.