Since I got my first chickens a few years ago, it’s been a running joke as to how I now have “poultry therapy.” As you do when you form an interest in something, people buy you things related to that interest. I now have shoes with chickens on them, a few “love my flock” chicken t-shirts. Pictures and signs that declare that I am from here forward a “chicken lady.”
American Red Sexlink hens
But really, I am. I am a chicken lady. I never resent the time spent carrying out feed, water, shoveling out old poop and straw, and collecting the eggs. The hens are always delighted to see me, and their needs are fairly simple. The few minutes a day give me a chance to step away from my desk and enjoy a moment outdoors.
This morning, the hens clucked at me and hung out at my feet, straining to see what I had in the bucket. They don’t mind sitting on my feet and will sometimes squat and stretch out their wings to allow me to pet down their backs and scratch into their feathers. It’s probably some kind of defense mechanism, but I’ll take it as some kind of weird affection. I studied the eggs as I walked back to the house. They are not like the pristine white eggs that you will find in the carton at your favorite grocery store. These eggs vary in shades of brown, one being much lighter than the other, although I can tell you from experience that once I fry it up, I can’t tell the difference.
Another one has what I call a wart at the end of it. It’s just a glob of extra eggshell that perhaps didn’t get smoothed over while still inside the chicken when it was forming. To be honest, I’m guessing as to what causes it. But again, it causes no change to the flavor or quality of the egg inside it.
Which makes me wonder about the process of selecting those pristine eggs for the grocery store. I’m sure the quality control standards are in place to ensure we don’t get any rotten, cracked, or deformed eggs that might make us sick. Especially, since they are not going from chicken to frying pan within a few days as they do at my house.
But I can’t help it, I like that my chickens produce these unique little eggs. The eggs are as different as my hens are from one another. They do not conform; they do not sit in the carton looking just like all the others. They are warty and come in different shades. I think everyone should have a few chickens in their backyard and spend a little more time meditating with the hens.