The ex-bats have been providing us with between five and thirteen eggs every day. The other hens have clearly noticed, and worried that they might be replaced they’ve started laying as well, giving us two eggs from them a day. This is more eggs than we can eat, even though I really do like eggs.
The ex-bats haven’t really got the nesting concept yet, so they lay their eggs anywhere. There was one outside the door yesterday, and I’ve found several more around the shed. Within the shed there is one corner they seem to be favouring, but otherwise it’s a little random. The problem with this is that their eggs often end up wet, or covered in poo, or both. Egg shells are a little porous so when they’ve been wet it’s advisable to either eat them quickly or throw them away, otherwise bacteria might grow in them, and make them somewhat dangerous. This is one of the reasons we have a nest box in the ark for the old hens, and we keep it cosy for them with a fairly thick carpet of woodshavings. It means they’re out of the weather, and generally the only thing on the outside of their eggs (when they bother to lay them) is some shavings.
Yesterday I decided to see if the ranging had started to make a difference to the ex-bats eggs. They’ve started to peck at the grass, so I figured it might be having an impact on their yolks. When we first got them their egg yolks were rather pale, as expected, and I was hoping that they would start to head towards the vibrant yellows we get from the yolks of the old hens. I also had some shop bought free range eggs (for reasons obscure). So I cracked one of each into a pan to see the results.
The one at the bottom left is from our old hens. Lovely colour. The bottom right is a shop bought free range egg, not really in the same league. The top one is from our ex-bats. It’s not yet as bright as our old hens, but is already, I think, a little brighter than the shop-bought one.
I will test again in a week or so and see how they look then!