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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We have hen fruits again!

We haven't seen eggs from our hens since November.  It has been a long, hard winter (it still is!) and we have been reduced to buying store-bought eggs.  We've kept an eye out in the barn where the hens have been for the winter, but we had not yet found any evidence that laying had commenced.

Today, Kelly was cleaning out the lambing pen where Leslie the blue-faced Leicester is currently housed.  She's due on February 16th.  Yup, one week today!  Anyway, he gives Leslie her grain in a bucket each day, and we have quite a few buckets, so he'd been putting a new bucket in whenever she knocked one over, so there was a line up of buckets along her stall.  Finally he went to retrieve them all today, having run out of buckets.  Lo and behold, he found the stash! 

Eight beautiful hen fruits were sitting in a bucket!  And they really are hen fruits.  The store-bought ones just don't qualify for that name, but these are beautiful, deeply coloured, smooth, heavy fruits that hold such richness.  They are so much more than just eggs.

When you have your own free range chickens, you are spoiled rotten.  Not only because they are entertaining, and at times even affectionate, but they are the producers of the best hen fruits ever.  These little gems are not like store-bought eggs.  They have much harder shells (because free range birds eat a very broad diet and supplement it with calcium that they obtain from a wide variety of sources) so they are much harder to crack open.  When you do crack open a real hen fruit the yolk is usually a deep golden yellow, making the store-bought eggs look positively pallid in comparison.

Unfortunately, one of the hen fruits had frozen solid and cracked.  We are not sure when they were laid, but they are not older than a week, because we don't have that many buckets!  So finally, our darling hens have begun to put forth goodness, and we are so thankful that we will not be buying eggs now.  Hooray for the hens!!

19 comments:

Christy said...

My silly girls laid all winter! Congrats on getting eggs again.

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

Isn't it nice? We started getting eggs again a couple weeks ago and over a dozen today! *U*

Foothills Poultry said...

Those "surprise" nests are always so fun to find. We found a nest of 8 eggs last week. These were 1ounce bantam game eggs. We thought "Sugar" had stopped laying. The yolks are so rich they were orange.

~~Matt~~

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yay for Hen Fruits!!!

I bought my Welsumer and Cuckoo Marans pullets in September and they started laying in late November, right around the time my established flock of 2 yr old hens stopped laying. So I've had at least 3 eggs a day since November...and quite a few double yolkers, too.....so it felt like I was given more than just 3 eggs each day. hehe!

And now, several of my older girls are laying again. Mine aren't really free-range hens, though because we live on a raptor flyway and hawks, eagles and owls are a common sight around here. We also have lots of coyote packs and 'free-range' dogs, too. My hens can only free range if I'm out there with them. But they have a very large coop...when it's not filled up with a foot or more of snow, that is. lol!

Congrats on your eggs!


~Lisa

Melodie said...

My girls stopped for about a month,I was down to 1 egg! Talk about a sigh of relief when I went out there an found them laying again!

Louise said...

I have a dear friend who gives me hen fruits occasionally. They have spoiled me for the store bought ones. In my stupid town, you have to have five acres, and be a commercial farm, to be allowed to have chickens. Bone heads.

Flartus said...

*jealous*

colorandtexture said...

That egg in your hand is gigantic!!! I'm jealous, yet again . . .

Oh, love the new background paper on your blog.

Mom L said...

I wish you weren't so far away from me! I've got to find a nearby farm that sells eggs - my goal for now!

Nancy in Iowa

Michelle said...

Hen fruits -- what a delightful term! Why haven't I heard it before? We've been getting a few eggs all winter; seems like each hen has a spurt of laying eggs for a week or so and then someone else takes her turn.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I've been out of the blogging loop for a few days but now I'm getting caught up. My girls have picked pthe pace again too, I cherish my fresh eggs.

polly's path said...

"Homemade" eggs are the best!!!!
Our chickens slowed down a touch when the days got shorter, but have been giving us about 5 eggs per day-plenty for the three of us, enough to bake with, and then some leftover to share with friends.
I "heart" laying hens!!!

Kelly said...

We live in a warmer climate and our hens will slow production when it gets too warm. We hadn't been finding any in their typical places so we attributed it to the warm weather last summer. However, my then 3 year old son was "sword fighting with a stick" and brushed some vines back to discover a nest FULL of eggs. 29 to be exact! There had been more because there were pieces of broken shell on some of them. We were told that putting them in water would show which were still fresh, as the rotten ones will float. Only 3 had to be thrown out! Glad you're getting those yummy eggs again!

knithound brooklyn said...

I had no idea till I read this post that hens don't lay eggs all the time. I just figured they did it constantly. Thanks for the education and that one in your hand looks enormous!

Split Rock Ranch said...

Go hens! I miss my chickens. Maybe I can convince Jim to let me get a few this year.

Caroline said...

I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and have really enjoyed reading your posts, but I hadn't seen your post about your felting "Experiment" before today. That wasn't an experiment; that was art. It's just beautiful.

Oh, and I'm very jealous of the eggs.

Animals with Opinions said...

well im thrilled for you. the human misses her eggs from her free range chickens and ducks. she scowls everytime she opens a store egg. i like to watch her scowl.

gerald the free range goat (but i don't lay eggs)

Farmchick said...

Hi~

Hen fruits....that's cute! Glad the girls are providing them again. Hooray for the hens !!! Hope you can stop by my blog for a visit...come say hi!

Apifera Farm said...

This is the first winter we've still had 50% of the hens laying full time...I'm not sure why, maybe because they are only a year old...but it's been nice- excpet I end up making a lot of scrambles to feed them!