Remember the chickens?
I know, I know. I haven’t written about them in a while.
There are a few reasons why they haven’t made an appearance on ye olde blog lately, but it basically boils down to this: They are pretty boring.
It seems that the novelty of my miniature urban farming experiment has worn off and we’ve kind of settled into life here at The Little Hen House. Plus, Dagny isn’t around to stir up trouble anymore and the three remaining birds aren’t nearly as “fun” as she was.
And just when I thought the chickens couldn’t get any lamer, about a month ago they pretty much stopped laying. I can’t tell you exactly why this happened but if I were a betting person, I’d guess that it had something to do with the short winter days. Hens need sunlight to lay eggs and it’s not uncommon for their production to wane in the cold, dark winter months.
Well, I went out of town for my birthday last month and while I was gone, Whitney emailed me to inform me that they had stopped laying altogether. What a bummer! I’m telling you: It’s one thing to clean up after something and dispose of its poo when it is either the fruit of your womb or provides nourishment to your family, and it is an entirely different thing to be faced with this kind of mess without any reward whatsoever. Unless you count it as a good source of blog fodder… But I digress.
To be honest with you guys, I was seriously considering sending my girls to The Big Hen House in the Sky. I just really didn’t see the point in keeping them around if they weren’t laying eggs. I know some of you might disagree with me on this (Poppy) but I’m just not into providing room and board to fowl who aren’t keeping up their end of the deal. I know, I’m all cold-hearted like that. Anyhoo….
About a week after I got home, I realized it had been a while since I had checked up on those perimenopausal chickens of mine, so I took a little trip out to the coop.
And what did I discover?
Not only were my hens laying eggs, but they were laying more than ever!
Check this out:
That’s what a pile of 42 homegrown eggs looks like. 42!
I put this picture up on Facebook and the questions started flowing: “Where were all those eggs? Can you still eat them? How do you know if they are good? What are you going to do with all of them?”
Let me break it down for you:
- The eggs were all over the place: The coop, the side of the yard, one of my potted plants, and in a nest they made under a bush. I could get into how I should have known better than to trust 100% of that email, but I don’t need to do that, do I.
- Yes, we can still eat them. And we did. All except for one, which seemed a little funky when I cracked it. Homegrown eggs can last for weeks unrefrigerated, as long as the temperature outside is moderate. If they smell or look weird, then err of the side of caution. It’s been over a month since we polished off the stash and we are all still alive a kicking, so it seems like they were all ok.
- Finally, we ate them! All of them! We ate them scrambled, hard-boiled, deviled and in egg salad, Christmas cookies, and pancakes. It’s actually not that hard to consume 42 eggs in a reasonable amount of time.
I have to say that happening upon that giant stockpile of eggs has really renewed my zest for my hens. It reminded me of when we first got them and how exhilarating it was to find a single egg in the coop. Walking out to the coop every morning to see if breakfast is ready is one of the highlights of my morning and I love hearing them croon over the morning traffic.
Now, if only I could convince them to use a litter box.