I have chickens. I have had chickens for over a year now, or have they had me? My husband did not want chickens. My chickens have created a lot of work that I could not have foreseen. My husband does not participate in this work because he did not want chickens. He does often shake his head and walk away, and on very special occasions, he will give advice and suggestions on what I should do.
I do love fresh eggs. We all love eggs. It is extremely nice to never run out of eggs, and I do have enough to share and sell on occasion. If I tried to put a true value on my eggs it would be ridiculous. If I looked at all the expense, the extra work, the materials that we've needed to care for them, etc. - the price would be over $25 a dozen.
Now, for the most part, I do have scrappy little girls. They do fend for themselves most of the day, and they require little feed. I let them out in the morning and they have a huge pasture to roam around in. They mostly eat bugs and whatever else they eat, seed I guess.
They hang out under some trees near our creek. They go inside the hay barn during the heat of the day. They put themselves up at dusk. They pretty much fend for themselves. I close the hen house at about 9:00 or 10:00 when we shut everything else down for the night.
These hens have always been pretty good about laying. I started out with six, and thanks to a stray dog, I am down to five. As soon as they were old enough, they started giving an egg a day. On some days, I would have a hen that would give two. I am sure her friends were irritated because she was such an over achiever, but it did encourage competition. Even over the winter last year, which was very cold and wet, we usually got 3-5 eggs a day. On days that it was below freezing we would get less. One day we got an egg that was about half the size of a normal egg. In my mind, that day, she got up and said, "No. I don't think so."
Well, lately my egg production has been down. I have learned that that usually means trouble. I really wish that I would have taken some pictures of the events that I am about to describe, but I didn't know I would ever be blogging about it.
We had a possum infestation. By this I mean that an entire family moved in. Mom, nine kids, a distant cousin, Dad and an Uncle. Yes, 13 total!
We have had snakes. I have killed one myself. Three snakes have managed to get away. That is never a good feeling. You spend all your time looking out for them because now you know they are there.
We caught a skunk in a live trap. Inside the barn. For those of you that don't know, this means that you have to get the trap outside before you can have your husband shoot the skunk. It also means that you have to release the skunk before your husband will shoot it, because he doesn't want to tear up the trap.
That was one of those days that really gets your adrenaline pumping.
This is what I normally see when I go collect eggs:
Notice that there are two eggs and two golf balls. The golf balls are for the snakes. They eat them and then they can't digest them. I probably should feel bad, but if you have ever been scared by a snake then you will understand why I don't.
This is what I found the other night.
Please excuse my egg pictures. I know the colors and the lighting are weird, but I never claimed to be a photographer. I also don't have a fantastic camera, but I am sure it has more to do with the operator. I am trying to learn. Be patient.
Now, back to the point of the story. Notice the shape of the egg. I had a serious conversation with my girls when I found this. Which one of them actually thought this was a good idea? And, what kind of a slacker delivers this quality?
After about 30 seconds with my computer and Google I realized that this is a SNAKE EGG that has been laid in MY nesting boxes in MY chicken coup. That is all that I am going to say.