Archive for the ‘Eggs’ Category

What the?

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Well, I was working on an animation for two weeks straight, and while I’m done, I didn’t finish in time to do a podcast for this week. But I’m now in the clear! Until my next class starts.

In the meantime, behold the egg shaped like a creamer potato. This was in the nesting bucket last night. Not sure who’s responsible, or what they’re up to, but it sure was a surprise.

You say eggtato, I say eggtato . . .

You say eggtato, I say eggtato . . .

Surprise Butt Freakout!

Friday, May 20th, 2016

It’s been a long spring, but now that summer is almost here, everything’s about to settle down for me. Of course, this settling will probably only last for two weeks, but I’ll try to make the most of it. My ten page paper that was due swelled to 13 pages, and you’d think it would be a relief to be done, but it’s actually kind of like trying to sleep after a stressful late-night drive home. It takes a little while to decompress. Probably like two weeks. Then it’s back into the grinder.

Like I ever actually get out of it.

Like I ever actually get out of it.

Luckily, I have chickens, which I find therapeutic, provided I get to spend time with them. When I’m overworked, it’s not always possible, but it’s nice if I can fit it in. The weather has been pretty decent lately, so outdoors with the birds is usually the best place to be, at least until the mosquitoes blossom. And even on the days that I can’t let the chickens out due to time constraints (you know, like non-weekends) I can always pay a visit and talk to them through the fence, while hoping that the neighbors aren’t out. I’ve learned to check for witnesses after the “Way to go, chickies!” incident of a while back. I suppose the damage is already done, but I at least sometimes try to appear sane. It doesn’t usually take, and I don’t try very hard, but you know. It’s the thought that counts, or something. Luckily my chicken duties and visitations tend to fall during non-cookout hours, so that helps keep the embarrassment to a minimum. At least as far as talking to chickens while your neighbor is out goes.

He's always watching.

He’s always watching.

In the event of an emergency, I may throw all concerns about appearances out the window, though. This holds true in the event of a perceived emergency also. These are the kind that are much more frequent. For example, if it’s sunny out, Boss Chicken is usually out basking, but one day not too long ago I walked out to visit everyone, and she was nowhere to be seen. I opened the door to the main part of her hutch, and stuck my head in. She was in the bedroom part, with her “business end” pointed in my direction. “Maybe she just wanted to take a nap,” I thought. Then her butt enlarged like nothing I had ever seen, and I was certain something really bad was about to happen. “Just my luck to stick my head in as she prolapses,” I said to myself, and after about a second or two of what seemed like a sure cloaca disaster, an egg popped out and her butt went back to normal. “Oh,” I said. “So that’s what was happening.” In all my time of raising chickens, I had never actually seen an egg bust out of the egg chute up close. That seems amazing, but here we are. The Boss had once laid an egg next to me, but the barrel of the egg gun had been pointed in the other direction, so I hadn’t witnessed the whole mechanics of the act. I’m not going to say it wasn’t freaky, and I’m not going to say I’m all fired up to see it again. But I will say I’m glad that I actually saw it, as egg laying is a key part of this whole chicken venture. I’d just like a little more warning next time. Maybe if she yells, “Fire in the hole!” beforehand or something to let me know not to panic. Because chickens yelling always calms me down.

So soothing.

So soothing.


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: The Old Red Barn Medley Quadrille by John Baltzell)

The Great Flood

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Have you ever seen a movie where some wall or dam has a leak, and it starts off as a drip, then becomes a bigger drip, and then the whole thing just collapses under a rush of water? Well, I am seeing that in real life, except instead of water, it’s eggs. I am collapsing under a rush of eggs. You might remember that when my ladies started laying again, there was an egg every other day or so, then if I was lucky, one a day. Well, that time is over. Now I’m getting five or six eggs a day. I’m so used to no eggs, or just one or two, that I always forget my egg basket when I go out to the coop at night, and then have to go back into the house to get it, mumbling to myself about how long is it going to take me to remember it’s egg season. Knowing myself, it’s going to take at least a few months.

Ride the wave.

Ride the wave.

I had to put plastic Easter eggs filled with sand in the nesting buckets again because everyone is so out of practice that they seemed to forget where eggs go. I originally took the Easter eggs out because they were making one of the Mandrell Sisters constantly go broody. She must be a big fan of Easter, or really into challenges. But I got tired of finding eggs all over the coop and run now that the factory is open again, so I made some new decoy eggs and put them in place. One has already fallen prey to my inability to work with super glue, and it split open and dumped a bunch of sand in the nesting bucket. This is fine, for the most part, since it was in the bucket they all like to use, so there’s probably going to be at least one egg in there anyway, so the rest can use that as their example. I just have to hope whoever gets the urge first knows where to go.

Where's the nestroom?

Where’s the nestroom?

Since we’re getting so many eggs, it’s safe to assume that the Old Guard are still productive. That’s good. I had expected to see a tapering off from them this year, but if they want to work during retirement, that’s fine by me. I’ve gotten one torpedo egg so far, so I know at least one Mandrell is still at it. We got one that had a weird lump of extra calcium on the end, which just seemed like someone maybe trying a little too hard, and then the really big surprise happened. I was fishing around in the bucket, because sometimes they bury the eggs in the chips, and pulled out what I thought was a golf ball. It turns out it was just a small, white egg. None of my chickens are the sort that lay white eggs, so this confused me. It still confuses me a little bit, but my best guess is that it’s all related to the “egg machinery” not quite running as smoothly as it should. If I get a bunch more of these, I’ll start to worry, but one, right at the beginning of the season, is not quite panic attack material. Maybe.

Even regular golf balls kind of freak me out.

Even regular golf balls kind of freak me out.

I can now finally begin dealing out eggs to people that I owe them to. One lady I work with has been bringing me egg cartons all winter, and telling me how many eggs from the grocery store she’s been eating. I have always had to meekly shrug and apologize that it’s just been a really slow winter for us. Come Monday, she’s getting one of those egg containers back, filled with eggs of course, and then I can remind her that all those store-bought eggs she’s been getting taste like cardboard compared to mine. Or maybe I should tone it down a bit and just thank her for the cartons and say, “Enjoy!”

(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Ulma Gloderl by Franz Lichurtichentaler)

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Boss Chicken Laid An Egg!

Friday, March 11th, 2016

The title of this episode refers to a song my son and I always used to sing if Boss Chicken did in fact lay an egg. It somehow never got old. If my son was inside when I made the discovery, I would run inside and just sing, “Jingle bells, Batman smells,” and he’d stop whatever he was doing and answer, “Boss Chicken laid an egg!” It was a pretty good bit, but I was worrying we had seen the end of it. Spring, or something like it, is landing on us, and while a few of the ladies in the coop are back to work laying eggs, I wasn’t sure if Boss Chicken would be. I assumed whoever was laying the eggs was a n00b, since the Old Guard are getting a little long in the beak, and so I’m not hanging onto any expectations of them reaching their old levels of productivity.

batman smells

Seriously, dude. Wash the suit once in a while.

An odd thing I noticed was that when we finally got eggs again, the first couple looked suspiciously like Mandrell Sister eggs. I can tell the difference. Since they were the first eggs of the season, I didn’t want to be so sure right off the bat though. They were a little odd-shaped, which isn’t surprising. Have you ever stopped exercising for a while and then started again? It’s always a little tougher at first. Now imagine doing that with an egg. Things are going to be a little rough around the edges at the outset. The Mandrell Sisters have a history of torpedo eggs, but I wasn’t about to point fingers. I wasn’t sure where anyone was in their egging career, so I took the time to just sit back and let things happen, even if said things were slightly deformed.

weird eggs

Workin’ on it.

Just in case, I decided I ought to check the Boss for eggs now too. I didn’t want her to feel left out, but I also didn’t want to make her feel bad if the magic wasn’t happening “down there.” That didn’t stop me from picking her up every night and looking under her while asking, “Got an egg under there?” I realize now that this was probably too forward of me, but social niceties aren’t always my strong suit. To make matters worse, there usually wasn’t an egg under there. I was messing up all over the place.

egg shaming

Egg shaming is real.

Then last week, she was out enjoying the sunny side of the hutch, and I went to check the state of her bedroom. Often, there is a poop situation in need of wood chips in there. I opened the door, and while there was in fact poop, there was also a brand-new, perfectly-shaped egg sitting there. It was a Boss Chicken miracle! Or just a sign that she’s not ready to retire yet. Since then, I’ve gotten another couple of eggs from her. This is good news to me. I get more eggs, she gets to feel like she’s a productive member of the flock, and most importantly, we get to keep our family’s favorite bastardization of an already bastardized song. Winning all around!


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: The Great One Step by Victor Dance Orchestra)

A Chicken Miracle Occurs

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Sometimes the impossible, or what feels like the impossible, happens. We didn’t get any eggs between January 6th and February 15th. That’s the longest stretch of no eggs we’ve ever experienced, and I was honestly beginning to think that we’d never see another egg again. Well, at least from our chickens. I know where to see eggs, they just weren’t showing up in the place I wanted them to. My house. Or the coop, because I can carry an egg into the house myself, if I have to.

I mean, within reason.

I mean, within reason.

On the 15th, I opened the coop, saw the egg, and was so excited I said, “An egg! Thanks, chickies!” Notice that I included them all in the praise, in the hopes of encouraging the whole group to get on the egg train, or at the very least to not egg-shame anyone. We fell into an egg-every-other-day pattern for about week and a half. This was where we had left off in January before everything just stopped. I figured we’d hold there for a month or so until it really started getting light out, since the pre-hiatus egg pattern had gone that way. So when I went into the coop on what I thought was an off day, I was pleasantly surprised to find another egg, but figured they’d make up for it by skipping the next day. You know, a put in some extra hours at work, then take a comp day sort of thing.

Phonin' it in.

Phonin’ it in.

The evening of February 26th, I stepped out into the cool night air, and smelled the smell of someone cooking out. This is not a big surprise. It was a nice night, and people cook out all the time. I went about my chicken duties, saying goodnight to Boss Chicken and closing up the front of her little bedroom in the the hutch. I closed the main door to the coop, removed their yogurt dish and waterer, closed the door to the run, and set the electric fence. Then I went to check for eggs, though I was fairly certain there wouldn’t be any. I opened the rear door to the coop, and there, in the nesting bucket, was an egg. “An egg! Hey, thanks chickies!” I said again, a little louder than last time, since I was so surprised. Then, just as a force of habit, I checked the nesting bucket that they never use. And in there was another egg. “What!?!” I shouted. “TWO eggs, way to go chickies!” I wasn’t faking my enthusiasm, either. They, at least statistically, had really gone overboard this time. I gathered everything up and brought it into the house. “We got two eggs today,” I announced to the household. The household was not as impressed by this as I was. I put the eggs in the carton and marked them down in my egg journal. Then I went outside to get one more thing that I had forgotten to bring in the first time, and that’s when I noticed that the reason I smelled someone grilling was because our new next door neighbor was out there at his grill. And had been the whole time I was yelling with joy at the chickens. And his grill is about 50 yards from the coop, so there’s little doubt that he heard me.

They get that far-away look in the eye whenever I appear.

They get that far-away look in the eye whenever I appear.

Oh well. He was bound to figure out I’m a nut sooner or later.


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: The Royal Vagabond by Jockers Dance Orchestra)

Get Eating, Ya Ingrates!

Friday, February 12th, 2016

One of the best things about doing this podcast is that I have a pretty good record of all the chicken problems I’ve run into over the years, and how I dealt with them. Sometimes, my memory isn’t that great (or most times, if I remember correctly), so I may forget that I had a certain issue come up, and then I actually find my own post when searching for a solution. It would be embarrassing if I thought anyone saw. Right now, we’re in the middle of winter, and my chickens don’t seem to want to eat very much. The problem with that is that they need to eat in order to generate energy to stay warm, and for those of them that are still molting, to regrow feathers. I go and check the feeder regularly, and think, “Hmm, they’re not eating much.” Then I go to mix the latest podcast, and for some reason, whenever I try to save a new file, it always wants to save in the folder called “Not Eating In The Winter,” which is the third episode I did post-Garden Guys. So this “dieting” has been going on for a while, and I should know they eat less in the winter because I am reminded of it weekly, but every few days, there I am looking into the feeder and thinking, “Hmm, they’re not eating much.” THANKS, BRAIN.

Wise guy.

Wise guy.

I always wonder how much of their eating behavior is a vicious circle. I give them high-protein snacks when it gets cold, to help with staying warm, and with feather re-growth. But checking the archives, I see that they originally stopped eating their normal feed before I started adding extra goodies. The goodies came in because I was worried about them not eating, and had to tempt them with exciting food. But then if you can eat cake all the time, why would you eat oatmeal instead? Once the cake is out there, you can’t go back. Sure, the cake is actually scratch and sunflower seeds, but you can buy that in cake form if you want. It’s great if you celebrate chicken birthdays, but your kid will never forgive you if you try to be funny at theirs.

Children don't like gag gifts, or seed cakes.

Children don’t like gag gifts, or seed cakes.

The first winter they stopped eating I was so concerned that I mixed their yogurt with regular food, apple cider vinegar, and scratch. I asked a guy at the feed store if he knew what was up, and when I described this concoction to him, other people in the store began to make fun of me for spoiling my chickens. Maybe so, but they’re still alive, right? They’re not starving to death on my watch.

Not that not starving.

Not that not starving.

I’ve begun to wonder if the fact that they only eat the high-protein stuff instead of the layer feed could have something to do with why we haven’t had any eggs for almost a month now. Sure, some of them are getting old, and some are molting, but this is an unprecedented dry spell. We had to buy eggs recently, and that fills me with shame. Shame is the mother of invention, at least for me, and so I’ve arrived at a compromise. I still give them scratch and black oil sunflower seeds, but I mix it in with layer feed. In their excitement to get the treats, they end up eating the regular food too, so I know they’re now getting at least a small dose of the full nutrition they need. I’m pleased it’s worked, and I’ll see if any eggs come about as a result.

The things I get excited about.

The things I get excited about.

I’ve heard of people who try similar tricks with their kids, and somehow this feels wrong to me. It’s o.k. to trick chickens, but tricking children feels like a violation of trust. Plus, my son only eats pizza or macaroni and cheese, both of which are difficult to hide things in. Perhaps if he ate food that lent itself to deceit better, I’d change my tune. I suspect this may be where his distrust of smoothies comes from. Good thing he’s not a chicken. I’d never get him fed.

Somebody say pizza?

Somebody say pizza?


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Placeholder by Jahzzar)

Egg Shortage Looms

Friday, November 6th, 2015

We’re down to two eggs. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a couple more today, but between the molting and the shortened days, we’ve entered into the Zone of Egg Conservation. Luckily (I guess, not sure this counts as luck, really), we don’t have time during the week to have nice egg breakfasts. We save those for Saturday mornings, and then Sunday mornings we have waffles. Waffles take two eggs, our egg breakfast is usually five, though if I have to, I can get away with four. I prefer to not have to “get away” with anything, but what can you do? In the summer, we have enough eggs that I’d steam a bunch and have two as a snack every day at work. That seems like a magical time, now that we’re in a drought. I even worry in the summer that too many pile up, and I find excuses to give them away. Now, I have to think about scrimping so that the people I give eggs to will continue to get them (since it’s usually a trade arrangement, and I get something in return). This is kind of like looking for change in the sofa when you’re broke and want a candy bar or something. I have to think about who really needs the eggs, can I space out my interactions with these people so I have time to build up enough of a supply to share, and if I share, will I have enough for myself? I’m not very good at math, or planning, so this gets really tricky. If it was just eggs for us, we could get by on one egg a day coming in. That would leave us with our five for Saturday, and two for Sunday. But I have created a world for myself where I have decided to be generous, and so I have people who rely on me for the occasional egg handoff, and I don’t want to let them down. There’s a lot of goodwill built up around eggs.

two eggs

Two is the second loneliest number that you’ll ever do.

Boss Chicken is always reliable with her eggs. I could usually count on her for one every other day. However, she is molting, and molting hard right now. I went out at night to check on her the other day, and all I could see in her cage was feathers, and so many, that I had a brief shock that something had gotten into her hutch and ripped her to pieces. There were that many feathers. She was fine, hanging out in the “back room” part of the hutch, but it was a scary couple of seconds. I know I won’t be able to count on her for eggs for a while. The others are touch and go. They started molting sooner than Boss Chicken, but since there is still the possibility of mites in the main coop, I really can’t predict what may happen. The average seems to be two a day, but sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s zero. Every so often, it’s three, and then we have a huge celebration in honor of the bounty. Not really, but we’re reaching that point.

Something like this, but with more chickens.

Something like this, but with more chickens.

I know this time of year is always coming, but I haven’t figured out a way to prepare for it yet. Stockpiling isn’t great, because I want the eggs to go to good use. When they stop coming, it’s usually pretty sudden, though I know this is the time of year for it. I’ll just have to hope for a quick molt, and a speedy return to regular production. Of course, that pretty much overlooks the presence of winter, which after last year, I’m pretending isn’t going to happen. It may just be another year of giving what eggs I have to the people I’ve promised them to, and then wearing a disguise to the grocery store to buy eggs for our home use. If I had just shut my mouth about having chickens, I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping up appearances, but here I am.

Keep an eye out for this guy.

Keep an eye out for this guy.


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music bed: Just Gone by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band)

Tornado Eggs

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

One of the nice things about my son being more involved with taking care of the chickens is seeing him get excited and make observations about the various things the chickens do. Since his main job is to gather the eggs, a lot of his commentary is egg-based (or poop-based, because there’s a lot of poop, he’s seven, and I set a bad example). I’ve pointed out the differences between the different eggs, so he can start to figure out who lays which ones. He knows that Henny Penny’s eggs are smaller and darker than the ones we get from the Mandrell Sisters. It’s very easy for him to pick out Steve and John’s eggs, which are the smallest and palest (we’re hoping the eggs get bigger as Steve and John grow, but they’re almost a year old now, so maybe this is it). And he knows that Suzy Creamcheese Junior’s eggs are speckled, and this seems to be the thing he is most excited to look for.

speckled egg

Rich with speckly goodness.

There are certain occasions where he gets even more excited than when we find a speckled egg. Every so often we’ll get an extremely long, pale egg, and it is always greeted with a “WOW!” and sometimes a “look at that crazy egg!” I explained to him that sometimes people call these “torpedo eggs,” because they’re long and sort of torpedo shaped, but since he doesn’t know what a torpedo is, he ends up calling them tornado eggs. Tornados he knows about. It’s not quite as cute as when he was three and called the elevator the “alligator,” but I’ll take what I can get while it lasts.


He may have been trying to warn me about something.

Whenever we get a tornado egg there is always a discussion about who could have done it. I’ve never been able to figure this out. They’ve shown up ever since we’ve had chickens, so I would guess one of the original crew is behind this. I’ve always suspected a Mandrell Sister, since the coloration of the egg is about the same, but since it’s a mutant egg anyway, the color could be messed up too. Unless I put a camera in the nesting bucket, we may never know. And that’s probably not going to happen. It feels a little creepy. Sometimes these sorts of giant eggs are double-yolkers, but we’ve never had one that was, that I know of. I should check with anyone I’ve given eggs to over the last 3 years to see if they had any giant, double-yolked eggs, but I don’t think I have that kind of time. As far as I can tell, the occasional big egg is nothing to worry about. The shells are fine, they’re just a little big. It sometimes looks like it was something that might have hurt a little, but everyone is walking fine, so maybe they’re built to take it. I’d be sitting a little gingerly if I dropped a tornado egg, but I think I’d have bigger things to worry about if I was suddenly laying eggs.

call the doctor

Another one of those calls.

Tornado eggs, or torpedo eggs, are both safer than their namesakes. They seem to be safe for the chickens too, and they give my son something to marvel at while he helps me out with the chickens. This seems like a situation in which everybody wins. Except that I keep getting hosed on the double-yolk front. I’m seeing the glass half empty here, because my glass can hold two yolks. Come on, mystery torpedo egg chicken, make me proud!

single yolk

There can only be one.


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music bed: Gypsy Blues by Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra)

Back In The Egg Business!

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Ok, enough about winter. Spring is coming soon, and I’m not just talking about meteorological Spring. A number on the calendar doesn’t seem to have much effect on the weather, as evidenced by the April 1st snowstorm back in 1997. I don’t think the snow that’s fallen is going anywhere for a while, but things are beginning to look up. It’s staying light later, which tends to cut through a bit of the gloom, even if the evening sun is reflecting off ice dams and monster snowbanks. Longer days, even if they’re not that much longer, also mean that the chickens are getting more light. Whether this improves their mood or not, I can’t really say, but I can say with much authority that it makes them start laying eggs more frequently than when we were in the depths of winter. No light, no eggs. More light, more eggs. Some light, some eggs? Yes. I think that’s where we are right now.

light, eggs

Some light, some eggs.

My original flock was pretty in tune with the light situation during their second winter. Exactly one week before the solstice they all stopped laying eggs, and then exactly one week after the solstice, eggs began to trickle back in. This was surprising not only because of how in tune with the amount of light they were, but also because their first winter of laying, it just didn’t matter at all. It was like someone just came by every day and dumped half a dozen eggs in the coop while I was at work. It also made me feel like keeping my egg journal was worth it. I write down how many I get each day, and that’s how I was able to catch the influence of the solstice. I had felt a little nerdy about the journal, but this discovery made it seem worth it. It also helped me figure out that nothing was wrong with the chickens. I looked at the dates, and it made sense. No one’s sick, it’s just really dark all the time.

winter chickens

Healthy chickens in winter.

This year hasn’t had any of the dramatic egg events of those first two years. The new chickens started laying in the dark part of winter, but not nearly at the rate of their predecessors. Some chickens like to take their time, I guess. I was happy to be getting any eggs at all, honestly. The old guard had stopped in late Fall, and I was hungry. The n00bs weren’t dealing them out as fast I could eat them, but as time went on, I started seeing larger eggs popping up in the buckets too. The old guard was back from vacation. However, like an athlete after some time off, they were easing into it. Getting back in shape takes time, so I’m not going to sweat them about their pace.

no rush, chickens


We usually only eat eggs on the weekends, time being tight on weekday mornings. Even so, in winter, the weekend would roll around and we still wouldn’t have enough. In the past week or so, we finally got to where we had a dozen eggs on the counter, just waiting for us. I even had enough to give away my first bunch of the season. When you have chickens, it’s not just you waiting for eggs, it’s also your network of people who get eggs from you. Like a flower, the sharing of eggs blooms anew.


egg tree

The tree of egg distribution. (First layer.)

My son is now helping me out with the chickens at night. Since it’s sunset when we get home, we usually check the chickens first thing. It’s still freezing, so the coop door should be shut as soon as possible. Lately it’s been light enough that we don’t need flashlights when we go out there, but dark enough that the chickens have gone to bed. “Why do we always have to do this right when we get home?” he asked the other night. “Because then we’re done with it, and then we can stay inside,” I said. “Soon it will be light so late that it may be your bedtime before it’s time to put the chickens to bed.” And then it hit me. Soon it will be the time of year where I want to go to sleep shamefully early, but the chickens are still awake, and I have to wait for them to go back into the coop before I can sleep. Did I really want that time to come? I looked at the size of the snowbanks in front of our house, and an arctic breeze hit me in the face. Yes. I want light, and I want warmth. That is certainly worth staying up for.


This is how I roll. (Cartons donated by a coworker, snazzed up by yours truly.)

(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music bed: The Old Town Pump by Handy’s Orchestra)

I Know Who Lays Which Eggs (A Too Many Chickens! Mystery)

Friday, February 6th, 2015

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.

chicken and watermelon

A whole slice to herself? Must be a dream.

“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.

tall egg

Damn the torpedo eggs (because they make it hard to close the egg carton.)

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.

baby egg

A (smaller than usual) clue!

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.

chicken in bucket

Stone cold busted.

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)

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