Q) What do you get when you cross a hen with a cement mixer?

A) A brick layer 

That gem comes courtesy of one of my best customers, Chris in Country Living’s art department. And sets the tone for this week’s goings-on at the Smallholdings.

Among the clutch of simple but hugely enjoyable little jobs that henkeeping entails, is collecting those all-important eggs. There’s the subtle differences in shell colour and texture – from the pale porcelain and chalk-like finish of the Black Rock to the mahogany and shiny creation – the layer of which still remains a mystery. (Unless you catch – and alarm – the birds in the act, it can be hard to match egg and maker.) Then there’s the surprising difference in size and never has this stopped me in my tracks until this week. I reached into the nesting box as usual on Tuesday evening and got way more than I’d bargained for. After removing the naughty old brown hen who’s taken to sleeping in the straw I put the eggs, one by one, into the basket as usual. But I had to pause for a moment before  picking up this comedy whopper. I couldn’t believe that something so huge could have been laid by one of my little hens.

The said whopper with little Mabel’s egg for the purpose of comparison

How does that work? It must be exhausting not only to make it but to deliver it, too. And it’s just as well I already had enough eggs for my Country Living colleagues this morning as there was no way I could possibly transport this giant in even an extra-large egg box, the lid simply wouldn’t close. It has to be a double-yolker (which will produce a great, deep-orange omelette), so I look forward to investigating over the weekend.

The egg box simply wouldn’t shut with its giant contents

For anyone who read last week’s blog and wondering if the oyster shell I was intending to give the white Araucana Audrey to help her lay proper eggs worked – yes, it did. On Monday evening, I gathered her beautiful pale blue egg alongside the black Araucana Mabel’s gorgeous khaki one. Curiously, though, Audrey’s has taken on the bobbly bits on the shell that Mabel’s had, while hers have become perfectly smooth. 

Bobbly bits on Audrey’s (left) eggs, while Mabel’s are blemish-free

Rather odd, but I can’t spend too much time pondering on the finish of my eggs’ shells. Must crack on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s