Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

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 . . .

Season’s Gleetings!

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

We had had a rough couple of weekends, and hadn’t had a chance to go grocery shopping. When you don’t have time to do anything during the week because you commute, you have to cram a lot into Saturday and Sunday, and when you’re exhausted from the cramming, the last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store. We generally have to go shopping on Sundays, which seems to be when all the sports or snowstorms happen, so it’s always a madhouse. That doesn’t help with the motivation to get to the store either. If I could go into work late one day a week so I could shop on a weekday morning, that would be ideal, but I see a tough negotiation ahead if I pursue that. So here we are. We were out of most things, including yogurt and apple cider vinegar, which are staples of my chicken regimen. Both keep some nasty stuff at bay, but I figured it was like taking vitamins. You don’t come down with rickets because you stop taking vitamins for a week, so a week without yogurt in a dish and vinegar in the water couldn’t possibly cause a problem, right?

What I've been led to believe a chicken with rickets would look like.

What I’ve been led to believe a chicken with rickets would look like.

Well, the butts of Steve and John told a different story. The story they told was one of gross cloaca disasters. Or one specific disaster we all know as vent gleet. I usually have a run-in with the gleet once a year or so, and here it was just as Spring approached. The plus side, if there is one, is that Steve and John both have such big wattles that it’s very easy to get their beaks open to squirt the mixture of epsom salt and water down their throats that I’ve always treated this with. This is not an easy task by any means, but bigger wattles give me an edge. So I grabbed them one at a time, trimmed all the super nasty butt feathers off, then brought them inside for their “medicine.” (Side note: I ran out of my stock of rubber gloves during this episode, and when I went to buy more, the drugstore was clean out. Like, an entire shelf’s worth of rubber gloves was empty. How does this happen? What was going on in Harvard Square that that many people needed rubber gloves? Luckily(?), there are actually two drugstores of the same chain a block apart, so I was able to get more. I didn’t want to be touching these butts bare-handed.)

Oh, come on. No one has wattles this big.

Oh, come on. No one has wattles this big.

I’m not sure if it was Steve or John who was the easier of the two, but one of them was a breeze. Open, epsom, open, epsom, open, epsom, until it’s all gone. I think I even managed to not get any on my pants, which is rare. I usually can be counted on to miss at least one shot, but not this time. Then I brought in the other one. Let’s just say it was John. John wasn’t having any of this. My pants got soaked, then she got away, and it was just a big struggle, even with the wattle advantage. Then I did the thing they warn you not to do. I squeezed the dropper too hard and I got some down the wrong neckhole, so liquid went into her lungs. I could hear it rattle with every breath. I had no idea what to do. I held her upside down in the hope that the liquid would run out. It didn’t. I looked online, and I found a lot of people saying not to do this, but no one saying what to do if it happened. I figured all I could do was ride it out. A ton didn’t get in there, so she could breathe, but enough was in there that she rasped. I put her in the coop, then she sneezed, and that actually seemed to make the rasping better. I had to hope it would sort itself out.

It went a little something like this.

It went a little something like this.

I posted on a messageboard for help. No one really had any input on how to handle this, but one person asked why I was still doing the epsom trick. I said it was because that was a thread that had been stickied on that website. The other poster pointed out that vent gleet is fungal, so it’s much easier to just spray their butts with athlete’s foot spray for two weeks. You’re supposed to do it twice a day, and I don’t see them sitting still for this in the mornings, but nights are easy. So I’ve been doing that in lieu of the second dose of epsom salt. John’s breathing was fine the next day, and the gleet seems to be on the outs. I do have one lingering concern, though. Last year what I thought was a vent gleet outbreak was actually mites. So is it really the gleet, or am I fighting the wrong foe? Time will tell.

Still an enemy, but the right one this time?

Still an enemy, but the right one this time?

(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Some Smoke by National Promenade Band, record scratch sound effect by: simkiott)

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)

Steve And John’s Employee Review

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Winter seems to have finally arrived. I can’t say I’m happy about it, but it’s also not like I can do anything about it. I guess I’ll just sit here and put up with it like I did last year, but hopefully with less to put up with. The winter solstice came and went, and so the days have begun to get slightly longer. That’s always a cruel trick, if you ask me. The days are longer, but still can be terribly cold. I would like them to get warmer as they lengthen, but I suppose that would mean it would have to get colder sooner too, so let’s leave the current system in place. Even during the week of the solstice I got an egg or two, so the long darkness couldn’t hold the ladies down. And then the eggs just stopped coming around the 6th. I figured maybe the cold blast had something to do with it, but it warmed up, and nothing happened. Then I noticed that there were suddenly more feathers in the coop, and that Steve (or John’s) neck was looking awful sparse. It turns out the two chickens I got because Wyandottes were good winter layers have gone and molted in the middle of winter. Nice going, guys.

He did it.

Now she did it.

Suzy Creamcheese Junior only just came out of her molt. She got it really bad this year, but it was her first time, so maybe just a rookie mistake. That took her out of the egg laying arena for a while, though. Someone was holding up their end of things, since I’d find one just about every other day, or every two days. For winter, with a few aging birds, that didn’t seem so bad. But to suddenly just have none for such a long stretch seemed surprising, until I saw the feather explosion that was distinctly Steve and John-colored. The fact that this happened right when it got cold put me in a position I think I’ve found myself in every winter since starting with chickens. If they have bald patches of skin, they shouldn’t be out in the cold, right? But a chicken that is molting is much more sensitive to touch, so picking them up to bring them inside will be painful, right? So which is worse? Since they are in the coop with 4 other chickens, I vote to leave them outside. They do snuggle in with the rest to stay warm, so that’s good, but I worry. I worry about everything though. It’s kind of my resting state. There’s a long cold spell in the forecast, and more feathers seem to fall off every day. How long will I be able to resist bringing them inside? This ignores the question of how hard would they be to catch, which I think is a question best not put to the test.

Those suckers are fast.

Those suckers are fast.

Anyway, I would like to take this moment to address Steve and John directly. Look, you two, I know you’re new at this, but you’ve got colleagues who molted at a perfectly good time in terms of cold. They had their feathers back before it got really bad, and so are more comfortable than you right now. Yes, I know you can’t control it, but I just wanted to throw this out there. This is not a great system. I’ve got two chickens I’m concerned are going to get frostbite, and that aren’t producing any winter eggs, which was the exact reason I got them. I’m sitting here eggless, like an idiot, and worrying about you two the whole time. Do you know how much I have to do? Grow those feathers back this instant, and get eggin’. Given that this is your first evaluation, I can let some things slide, but next year, please get it together, o.k.?

Great. Now just sign this form that says we had this discussion, and I’ll forward it to H.R.

This is my "lecturing a chicken" face.

This is my “lecturing a chicken” face.


(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Maple Leaf Rag by The US Marine Band)

End Of The Year Wrap-Up!

Friday, December 18th, 2015

I’ve been doing Too Many Chickens! since January 2013. I’ve been posting about my chickens on the internet for even longer than that. When I first got chicks, I was so excited that I filled up my Tumblr with any little thought I had about them, and that eventually grew into this. First, as a segment on Garden Guys Green Revolution Radio, and then finally here, as a podcast. That’s a long time to be talking about chickens, but I’m still learning as I go, and I’m laboring under the delusion that if I share my mistakes, it may help other people, or at least entertain them. Pointing and laughing at people who don’t know what they’re doing seems to be a popular pastime. At any rate, I’m going to keep doing it, but let’s stop and think about what 2015 had to offer.

point and laugh at me

Just another day in my life.

This year was fairly eventful due to the mite infestation, which I’m still dealing with. It started in the beginning of the year, when I thought it was feather pecking, then as it spread from one chicken to another, I thought it might be more feather pecking, then vent gleet, and finally it dawned on me what was happening. Then I tried multiple means of treating it – diatomaceous earth and “poultry powder.” The affected feathers are still only just coming back in, but it took a long time to treat, and feathers aren’t the fastest-growing things in the world. I’m trying to feel positive that 2016 will be a year of butts with feathers in our household. You’ll hear about it one way or another.


May branch out into a butt-only podcast.

None of the chickens died this year, which is nice to report. That’s an improvement on 2014. I’d like this trend to continue, but I don’t really have much control over it. Even the best cared-for chicken can die under mysterious circumstances (like the late Mandrell Sister), or a disease there’s no cure for (like the original Suzy Creamcheese). I do what I can, and the rest is up to nature. I’m not going to slack, but I realize that even if I do everything perfect, there are still things out of my control. That counts for non-chicken things too, but those things often aren’t as fun as chickens. What’s the point of not being in control if it doesn’t come with chickens?

Being in control with chickens is the ideal situation.

Being in control with chickens is the ideal situation.

It’s almost the winter solstice, and we’re getting very few eggs. This happens every year, and it’s one of the few things that happens every year that I remember happens every year. Once the days begin to get a little longer, the eggs will trickle back in, and by Spring I’ll start to worry about what to do with all the eggs again. It gives me something to look forward to even when we’re still in the dead of February. I never really paid attention to the fact that February has longer days than December until I got chickens. It just always felt like the last awful month to get through until winter was over. Being more in tune with the daylight thanks to eggs has made February slightly less of a drag. I’m still no fan of winter, but I can see a literal bright side to it now.

Got the "Look On The Bright Side" calendar this year. Not sure it's working.

Got the “Look On The Bright Side” calendar this year. Not sure it’s working.

Mites aside, 2015 was a pretty good year for the chickens. I hope 2016 is even better. All it really has to do is avoid parasitic infestation, and it’s a big step up already. Looking ahead in the shorter term, I’ll be taking the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day off, and then we’re back in business January 8th. Happy holidays, happy new year, and may all your eggs be double-yolkers.

(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music Bed: Everybody Hula by Helen Louise and Frank Ferera)

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)

Subscribe to RSS feed