Great Expectations

Marguerite...heading up the ramp to lay an egg, perhaps?

Today: one egg. (Thanks, Goldie.) I’ve been told that in the hotter months, the hens simply go on an egg-less hiatus. Stop laying. Zippo scrambled delight on Sunday mornings. Zilch on the free ingredients for the best lemon meringue pie in the world. Nada on the three-a-day habit I’ve been getting used to for the last couple of weeks. I feel like an addict forced to go cold turkey. I can already feel the jitters coming on, the shakes that will, no doubt, wake me from a serene sleep into a darkened room of horror upon discovering there might be NO EGGS today! The withdrawal that has me seeing hallucinations of fields of turquoise-blue eggs and The Most Productive Egg Layers award in the Guinness Book of Records. (Which I would proudly display on my living room bookcase.)

The truth is, you don’t get eggs every stinking day from your hens. Mabel lays one about every 36 hours. Goldie has laid a few shell-less eggs that she decided to banish from her body before the shells formed completely. (FYI, this isn’t a pleasant discovery.) But on those consecutive days where one hand is full with a trifecta of glorious protein-rich gems, dammit, you get used to it! Friends are waiting to behold the precious treats you’ve so eloquently preached about from your “my backyard chickens’ eggs are the BEST!” pulpit, and neighbors are due their hush money for putting up with the daily squawking fits that erupt from my backyard.

One egg. ONE.

But back to my point. Hens don’t lay every day of the year. Summer is hot, and they spend most of their time seeking the breeze from a fan, beaks ajar and wings outstretched. (Much like me.) And then in the winter, chickens molt. For those of you who haven’t brushed up on your avian science, this is when they lose their feathers and grow a luxurious new covering of downy feathers to be pruned daily. They don’t lay eggs when they molt.

So. Less eggs in summertime, molting in the winter. That leaves fall and spring for the egg lottery. I will do my best to keep these girls cool and comfortable (it’ll take another whole blog post to convey how I’m doing this…), and in the meantime, shell out (ha ha) eggs as they become available.

 

For previous “The City hen” blog posts, visit https://thecityhen.wordpress.com/.

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