Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's All in the Egg

Of course, any person who has been in a grocery store knows that hens lay different sizes of eggs. Some hens lay large eggs, which some lay medium-sized eggs and some lay small eggs. And everyone knows that eggs come in different colors. The standard grocery store eggs are either brown or white. Chicken aficionados know that eggs can also come in olive, chocolate brown, and varying shades of blue, green and pink. You might find it interesting to know that hens also lay eggs of different shapes. We can tell which of our hens has laid which egg when we collect them from the nest boxes. It helps that we only have four laying hens at the moment. Though it won't be hard when the youngest two start laying because they're bantams and will lay tiny white eggs -  not hard to distinguish from the larger brow eggs we're already getting.

You might be wondering how chickens can lay different shaped eggs. Well, it's not like one hen lays oval-shaped eggs and another lays rectangular eggs. Except for that one time, but maybe I'll save that one for another post. An egg is shaped based on the passageway out of the hen. Some eggs are narrow, some are pointy, some are quite round, and some are just odd looking. Seeing is believing, so here are examples of our girls and their delicious, yet differently-shaped eggs.

Meet Bossy. She's a Barred Rock. Some might call her a Plymouth Rock.

She lays large brown eggs. They are always the biggest of our four hens' eggs. Though the others are catching up in size.

Next, meet Pouncey. I call her an Ameraucana, but she is more accurately a mutt. She's an Easter Egger crossbred with something else.

Pouncey's eggs are a little smaller than Bossy's and are severely oval in shape. They're sometimes almost pointy at the top. They're lighter in color too. Lately, they've gotten a bit larger and are getting almost too similar to Bossy's to tell them apart.

Then there's Erickson, named by my son after his best friend. She's a fluffy and fat buff Brahma. Her eggs are fat. They have a roundish shape to them.

Last, but not least, we have Ochocinco. She's an Iowa Blue that's probably got a little something else mixed in there too.

She's was making quite a loud barking noise when this photograph was taken. That's how she rolls. Her eggs are the smallest of the four girls. They are cute and little. Her eggs usually have little raised spots all over them. They're little buildups of calcium. Apparently, this trait is hereditary. 

It's interesting how varied eggs are. What you see in the grocery store is a mass-marketed product of what someone decided was egg "perfection." Wouldn't it be cool to go to the store and be able to buy chocolate brown or pastel blue eggs? Or there could be like a grab bag carton that had a variety of colors, sizes and shapes. I'd buy them. Well, I'd buy them if my own hens weren't laying me a third of a dozen eggs a day nearly for free.  

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