It’s Egg-topia over here at Bunkersdown. Three of our ladies are now laying eggs regularly, five or six days a week. The fourth chicken is showing signs of starting up soon. (Chicken peer pressure is real.)
Unlike human females who sync their ovulation with other females they’re living with, lady chickens could care less. We have one lady who usually lays her egg first thing in the morning. We have another who likes later in the morning. Then there’s the chicken who decided that mid afternoon is the best time for egg laying.
But poultry doesn’t like to be predictable. Just when I think I’ve figured them out, everything changes. Occasionally, the planets align and all three chickens want to lay their eggs at the same time, in the same nest. So a little line forms on the ramp leading up to the coop. If the chicken on-deck gets too antsy and pokes her head in the coop while the lady on the nest is still working, well then. It’s not pretty. Apparently egg laying is an extremely private affair.
Laying eggs is also a very loud affair. The ladies squawk warnings when they get on the nest; growling to the other chickens exhortations like “If this coop is rockin’ don’t come knockin’.”
When they’ve completed their business, the ladies strut out of the coop, clucking to the high heavens that their mission was a success and they have just laid the most perfect egg in all of creation. One of my hens, in particular, is quite verbose and lengthy in her self-congratulations.
The eggs, themselves, are delightful. My ladies who have been doing this the longest lay large, brown eggs- sometimes jumbo eggs that fill up almost my entire palm. One was so big that it didn’t fit into the egg carton. When I saw it, my female reproductive parts clenched slightly in sympathy for that brave hen. Ouch.
The newbie layers start out with very small eggs. They are (usually) perfectly shaped, but look like little baby sparrow eggs. Every day the eggs get a little bit bigger, until they’re full sized.
The yolks are the best part, orange and perky. Half of the time when we crack open an egg, there are two yolks and then I have to shout out “Twins! Mazel-tov!” It’s instinctive.
Here’s a photo: The largest-looking yellowish yolk in the bottom right corner is store bought. The five other darker yolks are from our chickens. (You can see that two of them were double yolkers- fist pump!) The yolks from our chickens look smaller, but really they’re almost the same size at the store bought one, they just hold themselves up taller and act more alert. The store bought yolk is saggy and sprawls (much like my belly region after having three children.)
Yep- I love this job. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be a chicken wrangler forever.