An Egg-cellent End To The Year

My chickens did it again last month. They stopped laying and I had to resort to buying eggs. Given that I have a lot of hens - I’m guessing at least a dozen that should be laying - this was quite an oversight on their part.

Pearl

So the next time we went to the farm supplies shop at La Cellette for an animal food run, I added a sack of pellets for pondeuses (laying hens) to the usual order of maize, wheat and pig granules. Well, it’s jolly good stuff, I can tell you. I’m now knee-deep in eggs, and this is the time of year when you don’t expect that many. I hoped the pellets might mean I’d get a couple of eggs a week, but I’m getting half a dozen a day.

And what eggs! One of my chickens – the one whose eyes are still watering, I imagine – produced the monster in the photo below. (For comparison there’s also a normal size egg for my hens (which is large by shop egg standards) and an egg from my Silkie bantam, Pearl.) It has to be the biggest chicken egg I’ve ever seen. It’s 3.5 inches long and 7.5 inches in diameter, and weighs in at a whopping 5 ounces (125 grammes). I haven’t yet broken it to discover how many yolks inside, but I’m guessing at least two.

Three eggs

I was also getting one egg every few days from the chooks in the Eglu. Silkies Pearl and Pollyanna, and Rickety Chick (who has deformed feet and can’t walk properly) currently live in there. They used to be in the wonderful chicken bunker the boys built me for my birthday, but they never got the hang of the ramp up to their sleeping quarters. I was having to crawl into the run every evening through a very small door in order to put them to bed, invariably bashing my head and back in the process, and sometimes having to go into in the mornings too to get Rickety down. She was quite capable of fluttering out under her own steam, like the other two, but frequently couldn’t be bothered. Anyway, work is underway on a new fancy, less mentally-challenging chicken bunker. Mark One bunker will be for the next brood of turkeys I hatch. I put the young turkeys in it a few times and they were up and down the ramp all the time. The only reason I didn’t leave them in there was that I needed to integrate them into the main flock.

The bunker

But back to the fluffy and lame inhabitants of the Eglu. I’m now getting two petite eggs a day from them. One is definitely Pearl’s and I suspect the other is Rickety’s. She’s several years old and has hardly laid any in all that time.

Egg storage has always been a bit of a problem in these times of glut. In the past I’ve used egg boxes and a lovely wooden rack that Chris and the boys made for me one birthday. These store them nice and safely but not in order. It’s too easy to just shove the latest egg in the nearest available space. I bought a date stamp and inkpad for the eggs, but the results were never clear and I would occasionally misplace the stamp. I wrote the date on the eggs, but then didn’t always bother to check which egg was the one to use whenever I needed one.

So I was delighted with Father Christmas this year. He brought me this wonderful egg ramp, handmade by Chris using parts printed on the 3-D printer.

Egg ramp

Here’s a video to show you how it works. It’s brilliant. No more overlooked eggs now, they’ll always be used in age order.

The design is here on Thingiverse if you want to make your own, and I definitely recommend it:

I have two of this wonderful contraptions so my chickens can lay as many eggs as they want from now on!