Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I used to be a bit squeamish about them.  When I read a book that said farm fresh eggs from free range chickens would be healthier for me, I loved the idea, but wasn't sure I could adjust.  It was worth a try though, so we bought some baby chicks and waited.  I didn't want to wait five months or more though, so I found someone willing to sell some laying hens.  The yold was like the book said-a rich, orange color.  Uh oh-could I get past this visual abnormality?  Oh wait, this is what they're SUPPOSED to be like, the abnormality is what I've been buying at the grocery store! 

We fried some up-I couldn't tell much of a difference at first.  Now I really can.  My son was finicky about eggs and now he'll eat all the eggs before he even touches the bacon.  Sometimes he even asks for eggs but no bacon.  So for the last 8 or 9 months we've had eggs from our own chickens.  Lovely!

A month ago one of them drowned.  We figured we should clean it up and cook it, and in the process of removing the innards, we found this:

I guess if I had thought about it, this is exactly what I should have expected to see, but I've never thought about it.  I'm curious how long it takes the egg on the far right to become the egg on the far left?

I think the hen that drowned had laid this a week or so prior:

Hard to tell without another egg by it for reference, but this egg was HUGE!  See how the tip looks like the egg shell cooled too quickly?  I don't think that's how it happened, but it's sure odd looking.  It wouldn't fit into a jumbo egg carton.

Then there's Helen.  At least I think it's Helen.  I named all the birds when we got them, except the last 4, and we've lost so many that I'm not sure if the last remaining Rhode Island Red is Helen or Flo.  Either way, she's a very steady layer.  An egg a day, with about 2 days per month with no egg.  I've only recently been recording it, so not sure how often she misses.  She missed yesterday and this morning when I opened the hen house, she'd been squawking and rushed around the corner to the place she likes to lay eggs.  I've seen her make a mad dash for the nest before, so I didn't think much of it until I went to gather eggs this afternoon.  Her egg was huge-no wonder she was in such a hurry!

The left one is today's and the right is from earlier in the week.  It's nearly twice the size!  I know it's hers because the other hens don't lay in this nest.  It's also bigger around.  Think it hurt on the way out?  I'll have to wait to see if this is an abnormality or if the raw cow's milk they've been getting is making them healthier.