Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hidden Riches

This is a house on our property. It was previously the farm hand's house, but as you can see, it is no longer habitable. A couple of weeks ago I saw two hens stepping out through the door. I walked over there and peeped my head in. I saw the familiar disaster that is the interior. I didn't see any eggs, and I turned around. I tried to jamb the door shut but it was impossible.

A few days ago, Edmund heard a hen squawking about having just laid an egg inside this house. He entered and, being more adventurous than I, went into the next room. There in the corner was an abundance of eggs.

37 if you're counting.

As you may have gathered, I hard boiled the eggs and made a most unappetizing egg salad, smashing the whole eggs, shells included. Edmund brought this to the chickens this morning and said that the chickens thought they had died and gone to heaven. They usually just get the shells. This was their Thanksgiving. I hope they don't associate their abhorrent behavior with the enjoyment of a massive feast. The door to the little house is firmly closed now so it would take a power greater than chicken to commence any secret laying again. We have been getting twice as many eggs recently, and now we don't have to wonder why.



  1. You fed the chickens their own eggs? I must admit, my first reaction was to find this disturbing.

  2. Okay Chuck. Yes, we expected to turn the stomachs of our readers a bit with this one. We even contemplated not telling you but that seemed strange because we have nothing to hide. The master of pastured poultry, Joel Salatin himself, is the one who advocated doing this, so we are just followers. You may also want to consider the fact that if an egg falls and breaks somehow on the way out the chicken will turn around and eat it herself, uncooked. There are chickens that develop a taste for their own eggs and so we must encourage them not to by smashing up the shells before we feed them to them so they don't recognize the shape. It is funny to think that we just take the insides and borrow the shells. Chickens are carnivorous, sometimes cannibalistic, creatures whether you can stomach their behavior or not. Oh well.

  3. Wasn't passing judgment -- it makes sense nutritionally, it's just not something I've ever thought about. Strangely enough, it hadn't even occurred to me when I visited and saw them eating egg shells.

    No objections here, but I don't want to read about you feeding the cows bovine spinal cords and brain matter!

  4. I hear you. If I found out our chickens were being fed the raw heads of other deceased chickens I would encourage a healthy debate on the topic. Let me assure you that our cows will never eat other cows. No one thinks that's a good idea anymore.