Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Hen's Eggs Change Color




In pondering about how to set up a chicken record chart that will tell me whether or not I'm reaching my goals on how to save time, and money; I've learned an interesting fact. A hen's eggs become lighter in color as her laying cycle advances. I have an Australorp hen and a Rhode Island hen who are both two and just started up laying again. Good thing because I was going to put them in the stew pot if they didn't get a move on. Indeed their eggs are much darker than the majority. I have a couple, I'm guessing, that are at the end of their laying cycle because the eggs are very pale. This works great because I have hens that though they are not all the same breed, they do lay about the same shade of brown egg when they are at the same time of their cycle. If your eggs are all white then it is pretty hard to tell a white egg from a whiter egg. 


But if you know what hen lays what egg which is easiest if you only have a few hens, then you can keep track. Of course that only works if you camp out and collect eggs as they are laid and the egg shape is distinct. I don't have all day to do that and I'm sure you don't either. But there is that chance that comes once in a while where you peg a hen for the unique egg shape she lays. 

That is why I want to build nesting boxes again. The last ones were for normal hens and only a few would bother to squeeze in. Hens use the same nests each time so that would narrow down the number of hens I'm watching in a particular nest. Also an interesting fact. Hens lay in a twenty-five to twenty-six hour cycle. Which means they lay later and later in the day until the circle comes back to morning again. That I have definitely noticed. Easiest to do when you hens do not all look alike.
Look at the difference in the color of eggs. No, I do not have a hen that lays white eggs. I'd guess she is just about ready to molt. The one on the left won't be too far behind and the one on the right is just getting started, either it is the Rhode Island Red or the Australorp. 

I've also noticed that the same hens are on the nest almost every day. My two Australorps crossed with the mystery breed rooster are two of my prolific layers. There is one more of this cross but I need to check her out. I don't think she has every laid an egg. She is always just too pretty. 10 and a half pound Pearl looked this pretty  and I had no idea until she died on me that she probably never laid an egg in her life. She is the one who started my research on being able to tell when in her egg laying cycle a hen is. It is those pale, pale legs  and pretty feathers that has me suspicious about this one hen. I'm in the culling mood since the present work load is far too steep. Watch out girl you might just be on the chopping block next week. This girl was always going to become chicken noodle soup because she is quite light weight compared to her other relatives but I never got it done.Then this spring it was because I did not want to pass on her genetics. Does that happen to you. The not getting things done part? Now I'm desperate to lower my work load and financial drain on the budget. Great motivation.

 So that is what I plan on learning to do - keep track of who is laying, molting, and setting. The last one of course is easy. She sits there and hardly ever gets up. The tricky part is to figure out who is laying and not laying. I researched to have a  more scientific idea on who that is. We'll talk more about what I've learned later. I want to try out the information on the girls first. That means nighty night so I can get up and check the girls while they are still on their perches.  Easier to catch that way. I've got twelve to catch so if it takes me a couple or more days its okay. Just as long as the task gets done.

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