I was leaning on the tailgate of the pick-up, talking on my smart phone, when there was a flurry, squawk and something gripped my shoulder like a claw. I’ll be danged if a hen hadn’t flown up and landed on my shoulder. She seemed to be real curious about the phone I was holding, and inched her way down my arm to where she could get a better look at what I was holding.
Hen eyes the camera as Curt takes a selfie. “What the heck?” I thought. “No one’s going to believe this.” So I got rid of the caller (a salesman), figured out how to reverse the image on the phone, and started snapping selfies of the hen and me. She seemed to understand that she was getting her picture taken and even posed a little, pecking at the screen on the phone. I got the distinct impression that, like kids and dogs, the hen was jealous of me talking on the phone and was trying to redirect my attention to her. Are our hens pets? Yep. They would come in the house and eat with us if we’d let’m. And, boy, do they lay eggs. From 13 hens we’re getting about a dozen nice brown eggs a day.
Ginnie and I are eating a lot of eggs and giving away even more. Running low on egg cartons, we bought two dozen cartons from the farm supply store. A carton actually costs more than a dozen eggs in the supermarket. But these are farm fresh, free range eggs, with sunshine golden yolks. Y’all stop, you might just go home with a dozen!
Two different people have told me that unwashed eggs don’t have to be refrigerated. Never having heard this before, I Googled it and it’s true. Unwashed eggs are coated with something called “bloom” for protection. In England eggs are not refrigerated. However, Ginnie and I do wash our eggs in a non-detergent solution and refrigerate them.
Egg skelter and egg scale Googling this information, I ran across what’s called an “egg skelter.” It’s a spiral wire circular device that you can put your eggs in for display. First egg in is first egg out. I had to have one, and found them on the internet. People who are proud of their eggs, like us, can put the unwashed eggs out for display for people to ogle over.
Then, at a client’s house, I saw an egg scale, and had to have one of those, too. With the aid of eBay, I was able to find an egg scale. Visitors to our house can now pluck a dozen eggs from the egg skelter, weigh them individually, select small-to-extra-large, and go home smiling. No, we are not candling eggs as of yet.
Curt thought this monster egg (the poor hen) would surely be a triple yolker. It was an extra-large double. I thought I had a triple-yolker the other day. It was the largest egg I’ve ever seen from a chicken—the poor thing. I snapped a picture of the monster egg in my hand with the hens in the background. Turns out the egg was a double-yolker, but each yolk was bigger than yolks from most large eggs. I know we’re eventually going to get a triple-yolker. I’ve seen one or two triple-yolkers in my lifetime, and want to see more.
Next spring we’re getting a bucket-calf. I’m erecting a shelter for it now. There is never wont for something to do on the Empty Nest Farm.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read on 106.3 FM in Farmington.