Chickens and their eggs

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I have 5 hens that are laying eggs now. Is it true, or am I just imagining it, that their eggs increase in size after the first couple months they start to lay ?
They look larger to me, but since I have 5 different kinds of hens, they are all different sizes naturally. So it's kinda hard to tell ........ but the ones that I know come from certain hens, look a little bit bigger as time goes bye.

Also, I have 1 hen that should start to lay any day now. She's a RIR and I know her eggs will be brown.

Coincidentally, my buff orpington has not layed for 2 days, but I found a really dark, dark brown egg the size of a large marble in the nest today. Really tiny, even smaller than my smallest banty's lay. Banty's all lay white eggs and have been laying for several months now. So I don't think it's theirs. Wonder if that's the first for the RIR. It's way darker than my only other brown egger lays. Or wonder if there's something wrong with my buff orpington to make
her skip a day then lay a tiny one. She lays every day, it's unusual for her to miss a day. I confused now. Would a regular sized RIR lay a tiny egg her first time ?

Caistor, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Hi PeggyK, My chickens will lay a tiny egg when they are finishing their egg laying cycle tho sometimes they will pop out a small one to start. Mine start out smallish and then go to regular size as they get going. When they first start mine lay every other day for a bit and then daily going to every other day when they are getting ready to molt. I've only got Barred Rocks now but did have silkys,RIR and bantys too. If only the Banty's laid a bigger egg they'd be a great chicken!! Tough little buggers :o) hope this helps ...Lauri

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

good info you guys, thanks!

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Yea Lauri, I think the banty's lay the best quality eggs. They always seem to be perfect. My Buff Orpington always has meat spots in hers. Makes em kinda unappetizing if you want just plain fried eggs. Everything I've researched so far says the meat spots are harmless, so we use them and
just pick out the brown thingies.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Yea Lauri, I think the banty's lay the best quality eggs. They always seem to be perfect. My Buff Orpington always has meat spots in hers. Makes em kinda unappetizing if you want just plain fried eggs. Everything I've researched so far says the meat spots are harmless, so we use them and
just pick out the brown thingies.

Ozark, AL(Zone 8b)

When my new young hens start laying, the eggs are about 1/3 the size they will be after 6 months of practice. I also get some double yolkers, and rarely, eggs without shells (wind eggs I've heard them called) from these new girls now and then. It seems to take them a bit of time to 'get it right' ! ;)

The banty eggs are so small, I mix 8 of them well with a dash of salt, and put them in baggies in the freezer for future scrambled eggs. Equiv of four eggs that way, and I'm happy to have them when the hens go into no-lay mode.

My girls are Americauna, Silver laced Cochin, Silky, Mille Fleur, and two gold Buffs.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

oh, i have been eyeing buff orphingtons...

good idea about freezing the scrambled eggs. oh, how i miss them when they don't lay!

Peggy, my first choices for this year are Delaware and Rose Combed Brown Leghorns.

My ohter wishes are Buckeye, Buff Orphington, Mottled Javas (or any Java), Naked Necks (OK, i am really wishing LOL), Blue Andalusian, and Pea Fowl. And wild turkeys, and more colors of guineas.

so, what were you thinking of getting?

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I've really wondered about the Buffs, I think they are pretty color, and are said to be good eggers. I have one and she is a very nice gal. I wish I could find someone to share an order with me, as I really think 25 is more
than what I need. The Buff Orp. I have is a great layer, she's only missed 2 days this whole winter. But the quality is not so good, she's the one that has the meat spots in hers.

TamaraFay, sounds like you might wind up with quite an assortment. Good idea. That way there will always be "something going on, eggwise."

Thanks lagata2, good idea to freeze for those slack days.

Olympia, WA(Zone 7b)

It's so much fun having chickens! I was in charge of chicken care-taking as a kid, and now as an adult I'm happy to have chickens once again. They sure are funny to observe. :) We got ours in July, and so far two of four are laying. We have Americaunas, a Leghorn, and a RIR. Our eggs have been very nice so far, with one double-yolker. I'm expecting the other two chickens to lay any day now... I've been keeping track of the laying, and we get an egg almost every day from the Leghorn (even now in the winter), and two/three days on and one day off from the Americauna. The green eggs are sure fun.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

i just LOVE green eggs and ham! During both pregnancies, i refused ot eat any but hte green eggs. i had a good source for them at the time ;-)

PeggieK, i sure wish i could get you come chickens. if i knew what you wanted and how many, i could include them in my orders, and get them half grown for you. Then you could say "Is this the Way to Amarillo?", and we could meet there for lunch and poultry swap!

i suppose my guineas will be laying soon, i have four hens that hatched the first of August. can anyone tell what signs to look for when they are ready to lay, or will i just walk in one day and see an egg or two?

btw, i thought Buff was a color that a lot of breeds come in? Of all the buffs i have seen i think i like the Orphington best. You can even get a Buff Guinea!

tf

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

tf - my guinea hens would lay their eggs in a grassy spot, hidden away from sight.
They'd dissappear to sit on 'em and then one day would bring back a huge crew of
babies! I never did quite figure out their cycle but it seemed like they only lay eggs
for a month, then stop for a few months and then start again. Not like chickens. But
that's just my impression - they always hid the eggs so I can't be sure!

Caistor, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

LOL Tammy, Been there done that. Guineas and Bantys are both good for bringing home unexpected visitors =))..Lauri

Olympia, WA(Zone 7b)

Yay!! Our last hen started laying today, because we got TWO green eggs in one day! I'm so proud of my ladies. :)

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

How fun. It's always fun to go out and finally find that extra egg in the nest.
Seems like when we're looking for it, we almost think it will never happen, then one day ..........surprise !

Olympia, WA(Zone 7b)

I've been keeping track of the laying (I know, I go overboard with everything I do...) and realized we had quite a few green eggs in a row. I suspected that maybe they were both laying, but it still was a surprise!!

The RI Red, on the other hand, was no surprise at all. I knew she was about to lay. She started acting very different: more bold around us, vocal, and very interested in the nests and eggs. I was checking multiple times a day, and I think the second or third day there was a brown egg.

I was so surprised by our first eggs ever, though (white from our Leghorn), that there were already three eggs in the nest before I discovered them! It is a lot of fun. :)

Chico, CA

Hummmm had no idea you could freeze eggs...for later use in scrambled eggs...what kind of containers do you put yours in? Dottie

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Danak, finding that first egg reminds me of when I was a little girl and spotted the bright colored Easter eggs hidden in the yard. That element of delight and surprise..............takes me back LOL.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

they go nicely in ice cube trays...

Ozark, AL(Zone 8b)

yes I too have heard of the ice cube tray thing, Mixed, yolks broken, dash of salt, then poured into the tray, and when frozen pop them out and put them in ziplock or other container and consider each cube as one egg. But I do almost no baking, and rarely need one or two eggs at a time. I've always got bunches of projects going on, and usually go the easiest quickest route, which is app 4 eggs into a small ziplock which I carefully lay flat until frozen. Then I can stand them upright in the freezer door, and the bags thaw quickly in a warm water bath..

Ozark, AL(Zone 8b)

By the way Tamara, your mind/body knew what it was doing by demanding only the blue/green eggs during pregnancy.....I thought for years that I had suddenly become allergic to eggs back in the mid '80's, but loved them now and then anyway. And would get sick afterward :(
Then I got the Arucaunas and a few other types, and had my first fresh eggs. And got sick. But through happenstance, when I had only blue/green eggs available, I Didn't!!
Confused, I searched the web and came accross this ; Eggs; No Yolking Matter" which starts out " Eggs used to be safe to eat..."
http://www.cspinet.org/nah/eggs-ja.htm
I seem to be very sensitive to Salmonella, though healthy as a horse otherwise. (And from experience, I'd say the ratio of bad eggs out there is MUCH MUCH higher than they say!!) So I called the place I got the chicks from, and asked if they vaccinated against it, and told them why I wondered. I was told they didn't, but that because the aracaunas were a wilder strain, they just were not as susceptible as most domestic fowl.
Now I almost never get sick from them, as long as I stick to home eggs, and the bluer the better. These girls earned the palace I built them!!! Lol!

Thumbnail by lagata2
Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

so glad to know i'm not weird! everyone else thought i was. but i was always first on the man's delivery list, so i got all i wanted LOL. Some i boiled for midnight snacks... I also refused chocolate and milk products with my first pregnancy, and anything with food coloring, and ate little meat. that particular guy prefesr veggies, soy milk, and naturally colored foods! i goofed and gave into stress with my second, and he is a candy and chocolate holic!!!

hmmmm, this new information may change things. first of all, i would want chicks that were NOT vacinated, as i would assume the vaccination is a strain of the salmonella [dead or alive, wwill have to find out], and it is passed into the eggs, much like we pass on our immunities... and preventing it should be accomplished simply through a clean enviroment and healthy vigor by way of natural herbal remedies...

secondly, since guinea are wild fowl, and therefore less suceptible to salmonella, i think we will REALLY enjoy eating their eggs!!!

and yesterday we took a vote while i was making scrambled egg sandwiches for lunch. i said, "For our first year, do we want chickens that lay brown eggs, or chickens that lay white eggs". i had narrowed it down to Rose Combed Brown Leghorns and Javas.

they both answered: "Green!" No, i said, that is not a choice, i don't like those chickens as well because..... blah blah blah.

So they decided on white, and i was all excited about getting the brown leghorns. now you tell me more about the blue green eggs, and i will have to make up my mind all over again!!!

sigh...

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

lagata - that is an awesome chicken palace you built! I enjoyed that article you linked to, and even though it was from 1997, I would think that it is even more true today with the millions of eggs in the market now compared to 1997.

Ever notice when you buy eggs at the grocery store, they are stacked up in an open cooler, and you open the carton of eggs and the eggs do not feel cold? I always wondered why the milk and the eggs aren't kept in coolers with doors on them to keep them cold.

Culpeper, VA(Zone 7a)

Lagata - as far as I know, there is NO vaccination available against Salmonella. If there were, every commercial poulterer on the planet would be using it in order to increase egg consumption. Salmonella is not a disease like Marek's or Coccidiosis, but a bacteria.

And no breed of poultry, Aracauna or otherwise, is any more exempt from contracting it as any other. That's a ridiculous & completely false claim for a hatchery to make & has absolutely no scientific basis. (By the way, I'd LOVE to know what hatchery gave you this information so I can avoid them like the plague.) In fact, wild birds are more likely to harbor Salmonella than domestics, & most home flocks that do contract Salmonella pick it up from wild bird droppings.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

well, why didn't i think of that? brain not working, of course salmonella is a bacteria. i let my kids like the bowl when we bake, can't help it, it is the "Chef's treat". if they were to feel the least bit nauseous after that, i have a special rememdy

funny, that article is 97, and it was 1997 when i started eating green eggs!

OK, still can't decide which chicken to get this year. i want to go one breed at a time, so ican become familiar with them...

Ozark, AL(Zone 8b)

Ahh BreezyMeadow, it's your day to learn something new!!! :)
As a rule, birds/animals that are are Not severely inbred by humans or circumstance are better able to fight/avoid disease (and bacterial infections) than those that are. Many "pure breed" dogs are a great example of inbreeding that causes a greater susceptibility to certain diseases which out crosses (mutts) wouldn't be nearly as likely to have. Also, " wild strain, " vs "wild birds" is key in this, but actually it's usually unclean conditions and/or poor handling which cause the shells to be contaminated with droppings.
Throwing up etc (or not) was a biggie to me, and I didn't come up with all this without good reason and research. Vaccination is not against salmonellae itself, but against the disease salmonella enteritis. Here is a simple web page on the vaccination;
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981204074551.htm
Here is a more complex one.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no5/rabsch.htm
If the diseases is in the ovaries of the hen, the chicks born of those eggs will carry it. Of course cleanliness counts too, and any flock or egg could still carry it, regardless of breeding. Clearly the Hatchery in question kept a clean place, and was willing to answer odd questions from prospective or past customers. They don't sell show quality birds, but nice healthy ones, in lesser numbers than most of the others (15 vs 25) mix or match. Very friendly folks! It was Cackle Hatchery. I've never lost a chick in transit, and they usually include extras.

Tamara; one of the neat things with mixed color eggs is the fun of looking at the year around "Easter Basket" Effect :) No doubt the kids could astound some of their friends with the blue/green eggs as well. My husband loves to give them away to people who never saw/heard of them before. ;)

Yes Hmstyl I'm sure it's worse, or at least no better. One article I found then said that testing/vaccinating would be so horribly expensive, it was decided to warn the public rather than require the additional expense of the egg industry. (???!!!!)
The chicken "palace" is bright clean and airy, (I painted everything white as I built it) with elec and auto water, and built to withstand anything short of a direct hit by a tree or tornado!

Thumbnail by lagata2
Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

nice roosts! where are the laying boxes?

good info. it seems to me then, that possibly the antiquity breeds would also have a better resistance?

i see white japanese silkies and auracanas, what else do you have there?

tf

Ozark, AL(Zone 8b)

I'd say research a breed of ANYTHING before deciding a rule on it. Ask "real" people about the breed before you get it, and find where they got theirs if it fits what you want. A truely well bred animal will fit the "best" description, but the one of that breed you can afford may not at all!
You just want eggs, and apparently no one in your family is touchy to them. (one egg in a batter that made 9 hushpuppies made me sick on just 1 of them!!). Get what you like! Mix and match!!
I have 2 buffs, a batch of bearded ear tufted americaunas (mcmurry's seem to be stronger with true arucana blood, which lay more blue that green eggs) 4 silver laced cochins, 3 mille fleurs (sp?) and three white silkies, two of which are presently setting a batch of fancy silky eggs I bought. I Love silkies!! So sweet and gentle, or at least these are!! DH is more than happy to eat or give away any extra eggs we have.
The nest boxes are just out of camera range on the left. They are an aluminum (easy cleanup) two tier prefab type I bought at an auction. The roost is hung so it will lift up easily for cleaning underneath.
I never liked chickens until I had my own ;)

Olympia, WA(Zone 7b)

Bacteria contain molecular "markers" recognized by the immune system as foreign just as viruses do. It is this recognition that causes the immune response induced by vaccines. So why couldn't there be vaccines for bacteria, too? Aren't there vaccines for anthrax and tuberculosis, both of which are bacteria? As for the Salmonella vaccine mentioned above, I understand Salmonella enteritis to be the scientific name of the species of Salmonella bacteria. (I believe the disease associated with Salmonella infection is technically called Salmonellosis.) Also, once a person is vaccinated, the contents of the vaccine are destroyed by the immune system, leaving just the antibodies that can then react quickly in case of subsequent contact. I don't think one should have reason to worry about the vaccine entering a fetus across the placenta (not to mention that placentas and amniotic fluid have antiviral properties, and bacteria can rarely cross the placenta). I know less about chicken eggs. But if immunity was conferred to the offspring (chick or human), I would see that as a benefit. Anyway, I was left confused by parts of the above discussion. Hopefully this offers some clarification...

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I find the little bantums are very hardy & can fly fairly well. They do not seem as friendly though.
I love my aracana's (easter chickens). They seem to have a lot of personality - one has very pronounced
"ears", one honks like a goose and the other loves to be scratched /tossled on the back. And they
have beautiful eggs. For physical attractiveness, my favorite is a big black cochin hen. She's just huge
with feathers, all the way to have fuzzy slipper feet.

And every day I have an easter egg hunt. I have to search all over to get the eggs. Its fun.

Tam

Olympia, WA(Zone 7b)

We have a RI Red that began laying recently. Some of her eggs are a nice brown (as I remember them from our chickens when I was a kid), but some are very speckled white. Do the speckles indicate anything that I should be concerned about?

Thanks,
Dana

Hastings, MI(Zone 5b)

Me and my kids grew up with about 13 chickens. they laid eggs every day. Nice big
brown ones. the first eggs, the kids used to call them "floppy" because thats what
they were.

I thought the eggs got bigger and bigger the longer we had the chickens. some of
our girls were over 10 years old!!! Awwwk!!!!
They were in great shape because the kids used to chase them to see who could
catch them. They all could. We learned the fine Zen art of catching chickens. : )

Banana peels have a toxin in them as does peach and apricot pits, they have
cyanide? very poisonous. cherry pits too I think. never looked them up, but you have
to be careful with your critters around different food/fruits trees and plants.

Our girls were perfect bug catchers, and weed removers. We never had bug
nor did we have weed, or any poison ivy. they scratched it all out and away!!!!
When Lyme disease was becoming really big, there was a NY Times article
about Guniea Hens out on Long Island somewhere in a families backyard,
those Guniea girls would zoom around there large yard and keep it totally
tick free.

We decided to get chickens after that article, and it was true, but we got
Rhode Island Reds because the Guniea Hens were so noisy. (sorry).
Regards,
sheri

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I'd love to let mine out to free range around our yard, but I'm afraid they would destroy my flower beds and veggie garden. We could really use the bug patrol they would provide. We have crickets like crazy.
I know that my regular chickens would eat from my garden as they love anything green. I know they would be pretty destructive. But are the guineas like that, or do they mostly eat the bugs? Seems like I've heard of people letting their guineas in their garden to help keep bugs in check.
But then I've heard stories of people's chickens wiping out their gardens too. If they aren't too destructive, I think I'd like to have guineas.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I found that my bantums do not bother the flowerr gardens but the bigger hens love
digging in my beds.

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Some people put a chicken wire "moat" around their garden and the chickens can patrol there and intercept many, many garden pests.

Chickens are also very useful for wiping out the overwintering larvae of Japanese beetles, cucumber beetles, etc., in the dormant garden soil.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

there is a book called Gardening with Guineas that tells everything you need to know about that. they mostly DON'T disturb your beds, and they DO eat ticks and grasshoppers, etc. They can get noisy, either calling to each other, being lonely, or alerting to danger [great watch dogs!]

Our neighborhood is pretty used to them, as two other have had them in the past. Only one does now.

I am really loving my guineas! They took their first step outside the coop today. They didn't go past the front of the door, then came back in when i called them to eat :-)

Peggy, when they are available i will be ordering some guineas. Probably the lavendar. We can get together later if you want some!

tf

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Sounds good TamaraFaye, maybe we can split an order.

Zeppy, since most of my veg. beds are 4 x 4 or 4 x 6 raised beds, I suppose I could stretch some chicken wire around them to protect from my chickens. I had an awful time last year with the squash bugs killing my squash and cucumbers.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

OK. just to clarify, you meeant guineas but not chickens, right?

;-)

Falls Mills, VA

lagata2:
THAT is a beautiful chicken coop. It appears well constructed and well kept. Its even PAINTED on the INSIDE,.....I'm impressed. I doubt Martha Stewart could top yours.
Virginian

Ozark, AL(Zone 8b)

Lol!! Thank you! The feathered folk seem happy with it too ;)

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I saw a post on another thread that Zeppy said she washes the eggs.
Sometimes when I get dirty eggs, I don't know what to do. I read that if you wash them, it removes the protective coating that keeps bacteria from entering the shell....................but then if I DON"T wash them until time to use them, I got something icky in the fridge.

Zeppy, at what stage do you wash them ? I've done it both ways and can't decide how I should do it. Wonder about it every time I crack an egg, whether I'm doing it right or wrong. I'd hate for anyone to get sick because I was too ignorant to know how to handle a fresh egg. :-) Duh !

Anyone else got any comments on how they do it ? Anyone know anything about the egg-wash stuff you can buy, or is it just a gimmick for us dummies ? Seems that soapy water would be just as good.

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