I Know Who Lays Which Eggs (A Too Many Chickens! Mystery)
I’m no expert when it comes to a lot of things. In fact, I could probably do a very long-running podcast just on the things I am not an expert on. (Note to self: start long-running podcast on things you are not an expert on, amaze planet with breadth of non-expertise.) And while I feel like I’m still getting a handle on this whole chicken thing, even after several years of doing it, there are some things I do feel confident about. I know that anything new introduced into the coop will result in short-term freakouts leading to eventual acceptance. I know that if a treat is good enough, chicken society will break down as they pummel each other for the last morsel of something as unexciting as watermelon rinds. And, while this is not a complete list, I’ll end it by saying I know who lays which eggs.
“Now wait a minute!” you’re probably saying. “Just a few weeks ago you said you didn’t have any way of knowing who was laying which eggs!” Well, astute listener, thanks for picking up on that. I appreciate your ear for detail (or eye, if you don’t take in the audio portion, WHICH YOU SHOULD BE DOING). You probably also remember that I also clarified that I knew which breed of chicken laid which eggs. I don’t know for sure who lays which particular eggs, except for Boss Chicken, who lives alone, and therefore, if there’s an egg in her hutch, I’m going to bet it’s one of hers. In fact, her eggs are what helped me figure out the difference between Barred Rock and Buff Orpington eggs. Boss Chicken is a Barred Rock, and her eggs are smaller and browner than many of the ones in the main coop. Since Henny Penny is the only Barred Rock in the main coop now, I can then deduce that an egg that is smaller and browner than the others is hers. The Mandrell Sisters, being Buff Orpingtons, then would lay the slightly larger and paler eggs. I do on occasion get what I’ve heard referred to as “torpedo eggs,” which are quite pale, and about twice the length of regular eggs. Sometimes they’re even wider, and you can’t help but look at them and shudder about what it must have been like to push that one out. Due to the paleness, I’ve chalked these up to the Mandrells as well, though, since it’s an oddball egg, I suppose anyone could have done it, though Boss Chicken never has, which makes me think it’s an Orpington thing. So, I have a general idea of who is laying which egg.
Or I did until I got the new chickens. And lately, tiny eggs of about the same brownness have been appearing in the bucket. Since they’re small, my powers of deduction told me they came from a smaller chicken. That leaves Steve, John, and Suzy Creamcheese Junior as suspects. But unless I catch one in the act, I’m not going to be able to say for sure who it was. Steve and John are Wyandottes, and Suzy Creamcheese Junior is a Speckled Sussex. I don’t know what their eggs should look like to begin with, so I couldn’t match them up that way. In Flagrante De-lay-o was my only hope. But working all the time means the eggs get laid when I’m not around.
Until our recent brush with Snowmageddon. Trapped at home due to statewide travel restrictions, I decided to take care of some chicken duties during the daylight hours. I opened the coop, and there, in the bucket, sat Suzy Creamcheese Junior, looking at me like it ain’t no thing. Oh, it’s a thing, chicken. Even more of a thing if I come back later and there’s an egg there. And of course there was. So I got her number.
Until a day or so later when there were two tiny eggs in the bucket. The chances of Suzy Creamcheese Junior laying two eggs in one day is pretty slim. And yet the eggs were almost identical. So did she lay two? Or are the two different breeds faking me out with nearly identical eggs? I don’t know. Like I said, I’m not an expert. And it seems any time an egg pops out of one of my chickens, my level of expertise drops a little. But expertise hardly tastes as good as fresh eggs, so keep it up ladies. Make me look like an idiot, as long as I’m well-fed.
(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Trumpet: waldhorn33 – Paloseco Brazz Muted Trumpet Blues Samples)