Our chickens and ducks have not been terribly productive in the past month or so – we actually had to buy eggs to get us through Christmas! Free-range, of course. With all the cooking, fry-ups, pavlovas, etc of the festive season, there was no other option.
I’m not sure why the ducks were off the lay, but other people in the area have told me that their ducks haven’t been laying much this summer either. It has been a wet summer so far, and not as hot as it usually gets.
The chicken egg production is down because we have two hens with chicks (they stop laying until the chicks are independent), another one broody, a bunch of ageing layers that just don’t produce like they used to, and a bunch of young pullets that are not quite laying yet.
Things have started to pick up this week, though, with 4-6 eggs per day starting to come in! Below is an assortment of recent eggs:
Working left to right, they are:
- Chicken egg – 97 grams (yes, bigger than the duck eggs!) – from one of the Brahmas that recently hatched chicks. This one will be a double-yolker. You often get very large double-yolkers or strangely shaped eggs from older hens, especially as they come back into lay after moulting or hatching chicks, as their reproductive system gets going again.
- Large duck egg – 92 grams. From an Indian Runner duck. They’re not usually this big.
- Normal duck egg – 67 grams. Again from the Indian Runners, but this is more typical of the size.
- Barnevelder egg – 61 grams. This is the typical size for our Barnie. Her eggs are a nice light brown colour, with darker brown speckles.
- Brahma egg – 54 grams. You’d think these hens would lay much larger eggs, given their massive size! Their eggs are much rounder than other breeds’ eggs, very nicely proportioned.
- Crossbreed egg – 44 grams. I’m not sure who is laying these lovely brown eggs (they’re darker than this picture in real life), but it must be one of the crossbreed pullets. I’m guessing it’s from a Barnevelder/ISA Brown cross, since both those breeds lay brown eggs.
- Bantam egg – 36 grams. These are tiny, very cute, and kids love them. You need a couple to replace a single egg in a recipe, though.
What I first noticed when opening the commercial eggs we bought at Christmas, was how uniform they all were. I’m so used to seeing lots of different shapes, sizes and colours of eggs together, that uniformity is jarring. It’s the same with home-grown vegies – you get a lot of variation in size and shape, but when you go to the supermarket they’re all exactly the same. Maybe I’m just weird for noticing these things!