My twelve girls do me proud. Fresh eggs daily.
I try to collect the eggs every day around mid afternoon. This gives latelayers time to lay and not miss out on the lunchtime treats. In the morning it’s chaotic. Everyone is either laying, thinking about laying and hovering round the laying hens or all trying to fit in one egg box! Plumb has a habit of falling asleep in the eggbox much to annoyance of the others who are probably standing cross legged like us girls do at the shopping centre toilets!
We have three large egg boxes, a drawer (the girls favorite laying spot) and a mini coop for hens who like more privacy. Generally variety of egg laying places is better than volume. If you provide say 12 chickens with 6 identical boxes in a block, very likely they will all lay in just two.
Teesel our feather picking hen makes a big show down of laying. Emerging from the egg boxes, she crows and sings for a good five minutes. Everyone else just gets on with the job.
A funny thing…egg shades can be identified by the colour of a chickens ears in many cases. It’s not scientifically proven but appears to correlate in many cases…white ears mean white eggs and brown ears, well, varying shades of brown eggs. All eggs start out white and as they pass through the oviduct, a 26 hour journey, pigment is laid down onto the eggs surface. If you dye your eggs for Easter with red onion skins, and once dry carefully scratch a decorative pattern on the surface, the white under layers of the shell can be revealed. It’s hard work but very pretty.
The white eggs seem more brittle however. Eggs should have a smooth surface, regular shape and be free of poop and mud. The eggs have pores but a coating of protection. Do not wash the eggs until needed. The coating seals the pores and the eggs will remain fresh for weeks. We keep ours in a spare fridge stored in small containers in week order. If the egg supply gets too large, we scrabble the raw eggs and freeze them. Six months is an average storage time and honestly due to some chemistry reaction during freezing, the eggs greatly improve for baking use. Somehow they thicken and the white and yolk combines better.
A few of you asked where a chickens ears are located. Well here is Collette. Just below her eye is a tufty flap. Behind that is her ear. The pinky fleshy bit below is her ear lobe. Collette will likely lay light brown or white eggs. If you can match your eggs to your girls it’s a very useful way to keep an eye on their health and avoidance of any egg laying issues.
Wrinkly egg shells or elongated ones, chalky surfaced ones mean a little extra observance needed and maybe vitamin or calcium boost needed. Sometimes little eggs known as fart or wind eggs are produced. Likely the hen was stressed and the egg was produced quickly without a yoke, a little reproductive tissue triggering the shell production instead.
Thanks Collette. She was actually really fed up here as Pickle had just eaten the only worm found at the worm hunt. Happy egging everyone.
Is Plumb out yet?