gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

A Whiter Shade of Pale

on April 13, 2014

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The great thing about keeping hens is that when things are going well, reasonable weather, a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, the odd treat , brighter longer Spring days the hens just keep on laying. The eggy song which can be heard from quite a distance echoes around, heralding another oval masterpiece is sung daily. A fair amount of baking and a family favourite of bacon and egg sandwiches made with fresh eggs, crispy bacon and fresh white bread keeps on top of this eggy abundance.
And so dear reader, my blog has been silent. I hope you haven’t missed us too much. Consider that no news is good news as they say.
One mystery I did solve is that the layer of the elongated eggs is Colonel Saunders. They are whoppers.
The last few days someone (it can only be Apollo or Darling) has been laying ghostly pale eggs, as you can see from the picture, much whiter shells than usual. The egg inside is just the same golden yellow yolk and clear thick white thankfully.
I have consulted the chicken internet oracles and the general view is that this is due to a hen coming to the end of her egg laying season, preparing to stop laying and moult. Calcium levels in the shell are dropping. In fact today an egg was lying broken in the nesting box, showing that the shell was very weak at the time of laying. I need to remove broken eggs quickly as hens love the taste of their own eggs and I don’t want them to get into the habit of deliberately breaking them for a tasty snack.
Early readers of Mrs Gillybirds blog may recall that egg shell colour is determined mostly by the colour of the hen’s ears. Our girls have rusty brown ears and eggs are usually a nice pale brown colour, not these freaky white shells.
Over the next few weeks I will provide more oyster shell grit to increase calcium levels, and keep a close eye for the start of moulting.
Meanwhile we can all enjoy the Spring time sun as the garden comes to life after what was a mild but horribly wet winter. I look forward to being able to take a trip to the coop without the hassle of Wellington boots. And no more dirty dog paw prints on clean kitchen tiles!

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