Chickens lay eggs. This you know.
What you probably DON’T know is just how MANY eggs a group of eleven hens can lay in one month’s time with some if not all of them taking a day or two off each week.
Go ahead. Guess.
Here’s a hint. We get anywhere from 6-10 eggs each day. We’ve not gotten less than 6 in quite awhile but have yet to get 11. Keep that in mind as I tell you a thing or two about chickens and their eggs.
Thing the first: Hens do not need roosters to lay eggs. I believe I’ve covered this before, but just in case, ’tis true. Hens (like human females) are born with the total number of ovum they will ever possess all packed away in their little avian ovaries, but unlike human females who only release one (very tiny, miniscule) egg a month (although on occasion there might be two or three), most hens lay about one egg per day (with the occasional double or triple yolker–and those suckers are BIG).
Thing the second: Would an egg of any other shell color taste as good as a brown egg? Yes. All eggs taste the same with the exception of fresh eggs possibly tasting a little “better” because they are fresher. Brown, white, cream, pinkish, blue, AND green shelled eggs whether they are small, medium, large, or jumbo taste about the same. If a hen eats a lot of a certain type of food, the yolks of her eggs can be much, much darker, but this does not normally affect the taste. (Although, if you feed your hens an exorbitant amount of onions or other strong tasting greens and foods, it CAN affect the taste.)
Thing the third: Eggs last a LONG time and can be kept on the counter for short amounts of time. Of course, they last longer if kept in the fridge, but some doomsday experts state that sealing an egg with wax or oil can keep it fresh for up to a year. We don’t plan to try this–but I suppose it’s good to know. If your fridge is PACKED for the holidays or a party, just put those eggs on the counter. They are better for baking and scramble, mix, and froth (the whites) better when they are at room temperature anyway.
This is the back side of a hen (no “guess what” jokes, please).
Victoria tells me that this is Rubye Mae (named after my Granny), and I can think of no finer specimen to carry that moniker. Seriously. I LOVE this picture. Do you know WHY? Because it shows (much like the ovum packed ovaries of fetal pullets/aka: future hens) how incredibly creative, thoughtful, and awesome God is. This is a New Hampshire red. She is perfectly suited to sit on a clutch of eggs–those downy soft feather will keep them warm and protected should she ever go broody (which she won’t unless we get a rooster). Her tail feather curve back perfectly to help create her chicken shape. That is some serious soft right there. Feather pillows, feather beds, feather duvets. . .geese aren’t the only fowl who can stuff a tick. Rubye Mae, however, will keep all of her fluff for herself as I plan to pluck no chickens.
Tony discovered that our red hens are laying the eggs with the chalky coating. He said it is called “bloom.” It is a natural coating that is on eggs when they are first laid.
Okay. . .any guesses as to how many eggs 11 hens can lay in one month? Well, in the month of August with only one hen laying starting on the 7th and the others joining in fits and starts, we got a grand total of.
For the month of September the hens totaled out at 256 (no including some misfires in the form of soft-shelled eggs and one that was just plain wonky–it looked like a hen drawn by Dr. Seuss laid it.) So far in October we have 126 which puts us on track for 250+ again this month. Of course, the time is changing, so Tony is trying a “trick” to keep the girls laying a bit longer by having the coop light on a timer so it stays on for a bit after they come in for the night and turns on a little earlier than the sun actually rises. I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, how about an omelet.
*There are many, MANY words I heard pronounced as a child that do not strictly adhere to the rules of (American) English phonics. I spent a large portion of my early childhood wondering why on Earth a soldier of Christ who had gone through all the trouble of arising AND o’ercoming through Christ alone would want to “stand in tar at last.” Tar is hot. . .and sticks to your feet, and tires, and makes gravel from newly paved roads adhere to a paint job as though attached with super glue. Seriously! It took a bit before I realized that the word was “entire” and that standing in tar was not required of soldiers of Christ or any other cohort. Eggs was yet another word that rattles around in my memory as being pronounced “aygs.” It was REALLY more like “aaayyygs.” Rubye Mae said it that way. She also let her aygs come to room temperature before making meringue (which Daddy told me was calf slobber. . .OH, The South!) and her (world class) divinity.
ALSO, FYI a website has to say this about storing eggs:
Store your eggs pointy end down to keep the yolks nicely centered.
Keep them in an enclosed carton for longer freshness.
And don’t forget to keep your eggs refrigerated – an egg kept at room temperature ages the same amount in one day as a refrigerated egg ages in an entire week.