Thursday, February 2, 2017

Eggs, All Shapes and Sizes

Go to the store and you can choose, medium, large, extra large, and sometimes even jumbo sized eggs. You get a whole dozen or more of your choice.  What I get is small medium, large, and gumbo but I don't get a dozen of the same size, shape or even number of yolks inside. "I get what I get" and as my nine year old tells me, " and I don't throw a fit." Yes, I get whatever the girls lay. At first it is pullet eggs. Some eggs so tiny that the yolk is only a yellow dot inside the whites. Some are so large you would swear you had ducks instead of chickens. It takes a while for you young hens to get things right and consistent. Meanwhile it is kind of fun to see what awaits you each morning.

This Heinz 57 variety of eggs can be perplexing for the person who does a great deal of cooking like I do.  Scrambled eggs no problem but the standard recipe calls for large but I have such a variety of sizes. Oh what do I do with such a selection? I mix and match sizes all the time. I have this HUGE recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I half most of the time. It calls for three eggs. Halving three eggs, I don't think so , so I just put in one large and one medium and call it good. After all I am a dump cook. That means I substitute all the time and my measuring is very approximate. The simple fact is if you cook with fresh ingredients you have to make changes. Not big ones, just subtle to get the consistency you desire. Pumpkin is often not the same consistency as the canned store pumpkin you buy. It is not even the same for the same kind of variety.  Weather and the amount of water the plant receives change changes this quite a bit. A little more flour; a little less; a little larger egg; a little smaller one an it all works out. It is all about being flexible.

Pullets when they first begin to lay slip out small eggs. Sometimes really small like there are fairy hens in your coop. They lay ones with no shell, or lopsided ones but most of the time they do a pretty good job. Eventually the inner works get things running correctly and as time goes by the eggs get larger until they are standard size. Standard size for the genetics of the chicken. My Easter Egger hens lay larger eggs from the very beginning. I emphasize MY as in mine aren't fitting standards for their breed in size and production. As a rule a two year old hen lays a much larger egg than a one year old hen. From then on the size does not change but the frequency in which they lay does. After two years their production rate drops significantly and there after.
Genetics play a role with number of eggs laid a year, when the breed will begin laying, and the size of egg. Genetics also play a role in shape. This shape gene is individual to each hen, also the color tone. This is great as you can easily count how many eggs she is laying a week. Then there is the occasional oops! A hen will get things keewampus like this warped egg. The egg is a bit squoo..shed at the time of development when the calcium is forming on the outside giving it a hard shell.

Eggs are suppose to look like this beauty. Some are even a bit more rounded.  This is what you want as it plays a large role in hatchability. Some swear an egg with a more pointed end will hatch into a rooster and a more rounded egg a hen. There is no scientific evidence to this, in fact it has been proven false.
I have this hen that insists on laying a different egg each time. The brown specks are calcium she failed to put into the shell. The result is a soft shell. The shells often break when you try and pick them up. Other times she puts ridged bumps on the ends.
And sometimes in the middle. She will never get this part right as she has been laying for a couple months. It is genetic.

And sometimes there is no shell at all. This picture is from a different hen. For this particular hen has a wimpy lining also and if there is no shell it breaks at the mere thought of picking it up. She needs to be chicken noodle soup if I could only figure out which one she is. This hen also likes to lay the eggs scattered around on the floor of the coop and not in the nests. So far she has alluded me and I don't know who she is but that is not hard as I'm in a flurry of activity since our single daughter with four kids has just being diagnosed with cancer. Yes, the four grand daughters that are here a great deal of the time.  

2 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. Sometimes things just stink!!
    I love gathering eggs, and I wish there was a good way to know which hen laid which egg. I've had a few of those "strange" eggs here too.

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    1. Thank you. It does stink. It will be a very long road ahead. This sweet daughter of ours never does anything the easy way. I too wish there was a good way to know who lays what except keep checking and checking. I would put them one at a time in the rabbit cages for a day to see but alas, they are all occupied. Except the ones behind the frozen garden gate where a lo...ng foot high drift stretches on forever to get there. I guess I'll just have to wait until it thaws.

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