July 14, 2010

Eggs

Eggs! We are finally finding eggs!

My hens are not champion layers. And it's not just the breed of chicken I have - I've changed breeds a couple of times, beginning with black australorps, then buff orpingtons, then hybrid red stars. None have had a stellar record.

Currently I have a multi-breed flock. Very colorful. Very entertaining. Not terribly productive.

There are barred rocks, some red stars, a black australorp, a cuckoo marans (I think), and an "easter egger" that lays blue-green eggs. I'm down to just seven hens.


I haven't found a blue-green egg in a very long time. I've never found a dark brown egg, and I wonder if what I bought as cuckoo marans really aren't. On the other hand, that little game hen that friends gave me when they moved laid her little light brown egg faithfully and consistently until she died recently.

The other hens all lay brown eggs so it's impossible to know whose are whose.

There are also three roosters, a buff orpington and two barred rocks. (Or a barred rock and a cuckoo marans - did one of my marans pullets turn out to be a roo?) There are too many roosters for my small flock of hens, but the two barred rocks were *supposed* to be pullets when I bought them.

The "easter egger" belongs to my 6-year-old granddaughter. She was visiting us with her mommy and daddy and stepbrother three years ago when eggs in the incubator hatched. She named this one Nemo. Nemo is a cross between my buff orpington roo and an americauna hen.

Recently the mystery was cleared up when I caught the black hen and a rooster EATING an egg. Aha! The hens are laying, but the eggs are being eaten! Unfortunately, once a chicken learns to eat eggs, the only way to break them of it is to cut off the end of their beak, or invite them to Sunday dinner. Or take them to the auction. I think that will be my solution. (Those excess roosters need to go the auction too.)

The hens have recently moved their communal nest to an upside-down Rubbermaid bin that has a hole in the side. Now I'm finding eggs. Evidently they are well-enough hidden from the egg-eaters.

An aside: did you know that you shouldn't wash eggs before storing them? They are laid with a protective coating on them, to keep air and bacteria out. Washing them removes the coating and significantly reduces their keeping qualities. Store them unwashed, and wash them when you use them. Give the really gross ones to the dogs.

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