Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Whose egg is whose?

The many shades of brown

Yesterday I went out to check on the Ladies.  I love doing that. It's become my "coffee break."  Sometimes I go out particularly to check for eggs, sometimes to check water level, sometimes just to say "Hi!"  Whatever the reason, I always check for eggs.  Yesterday two eggs were waiting for me in the nest box.  Each time it still gives me a smile to find an egg!  I got to wondering if it will ever get dull.  I kind of doubt it.  It's like getting a little gift several times of day.  Or the anticipation and reward of an Easter Egg hunt every day!

Each time I get an egg, I marvel at how perfect they are (even if they are different).  It really is pretty amazing how it happens.  But I won't give you a biology lesson.  Trust me to say there is a ton that goes on inside that little chicken to make an egg most days.  And if one of those things doesn't go quite right there is evidence.  You can end up with a soft shell egg, a huge egg, a tiny egg, an egg with shell blemishes, an egg with two yolks or with no yolk.  And I'm sure there are many other things I haven't heard about yet.  In addition to the joy of finding an egg - I also use it as a way of keeping an eye on how each of my Ladies are doing.  If the shells are soft it tells me I need to offer more calcium.  If I haven't gotten an egg from one of them in a while - I would worry that something else was going on.

Something different here!  Maybe a double yoke?

No biology lesson but a couple egg facts.  1.) When a chicken first starts laying, the eggs are usually small and then over a period of months they get larger until they reach their full potential size.  All of my Ladies should ultimately give us large or extra large eggs.  2.)  Different breeds lay different color eggs (brown, white, blue, green, pinkish).  All of my Ladies are brown layers.  But Wow!   There are a lot of shades of brown!  3.)  A hen's egg generally stays consistent in color, size, and shape once she reaches maturity.  Some of mine have just started so they haven't gotten the size thing down yet.

 Our first 3 egg day

My current obsession is to figure out which Lady is laying which egg.  But whose is whose is not an easy thing to figure out, I assure you.  Unless you happen to be standing there when one of the Ladies lays, it's kind of a matter of detective work.  I don't know about other people's chickens but mine seem to frown on not having privacy while they lay.

Of course I know Lacy's egg.  Since she was the only Lady laying this fall I learned hers very well.  Hers is a light tan.  And very typically egg shaped - wider at one end.  When she was the only one laying I was so excited to be getting eggs that I thought hers were unusually pretty.  Don't tell Lacy but now that I see the others, I think hers are the least unique.  But they are still beautiful in their evenness of color.

I'm certain I know Luna's egg.  She was the first of the younger Ladies who started showing signs that she was ready to lay.  So I'm guessing that first different colored egg was hers.  She's also a breed that will likely be my best layer and so far I get a lot of the eggs I think are hers.  Luna lays a dusty darker brownish, pink egg.  Her eggs also almost always have what look like little scrapes on them.  I'm honestly not sure whether they are scrapes from Luna moving around in the nest or just irregularities in the surface coloring of her eggs.  Her eggs are really round and fat - hardly narrower at one end!

No mistaking that this wasn't Lacy's egg!

Here's where the guess work begins.  I think JiJi was the next to lay as she seemed pretty close behind Luna.  The problem is we ended up with a bunch of frozen eggs right around this same time so it was hard to determine color.  The egg that I think is JiJi's is a pretty putty color with a hint of pink.  Similar to Lacy's but a little darker.  I think it would be easy to mistake for Lacy's if I didn't get two in one day. JiJi's egg is a fairly symmetric oval.   I also think JiJi is still working out her laying cycle.  Sometimes her egg is really small and other days normal.  Today it was HUGE!

Subtle color difference - Lacy's on left, JiJi's on right

Then comes Ebony.  But as I go on, I get less and less certain.  I think, Ebony was next.  The egg I think is hers is a orangey brown - sort of terracotta.  I'm not getting very many of these eggs yet so I'm not totally sure on shape.  One of these eggs came out with a kind of cool irregularity - a sunburst kind of shape imprinted into the side of the egg.  Even the irregular eggs are cool!

This last one I am totally uncertain of.  I'm not even sure if it is a different Lady's egg.  I've found a couple eggs that are the same color as JiJi's but have white freckles.  So far these generally seem to be very small so I'm thinking Bella must have just joined the others in giving me eggs.

I love the freckles!
I can't wait until our first 4 egg day!  Better yet - our first 5 egg day!
The Chicken Chick

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it so confusing? Our brown layers are tough to tell sometimes. The only two that I can tell right off are our EE, because her eggs are blue, and our Australorp, because her eggs are extra-large. Our RIR and Orp confuse me sometimes. Your girls' eggs are gorgeous! Congratulations!! I love the speckley one.

    Great post!