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First! (Then second, third and fourth).

There it is, folks. Proof that Spring is just around the corner, if you can hang on a little longer.

Specialist laying breeds will lay all through the Winter (and all chickens will lay through the Winter if you give them a few hours of artificial light). But fancy poncy fru-fru chickens like ours knock off between, oh, mid October and mid February. It’s the amount of daylight what does it.

How precise is a chicken’s internal clock? Wellll…Lucia laid that first egg (the grubby one on the end) on the 15th of February. Last year, she laid her first egg on the 16th of February. Of course, she is the Mary Poppins of chickens — practically perfect in every way.

Example: given that I have four chickens, you might assume that each of my girls has kindly laid me an egg. Well, you would be wrong. (Seriously, don’t you get tired of being wrong all the time?). The score would be Lucia 3, Vita 1. The other two just…better not…look too delicious until they start laying some damn eggs. Moochers!

I’ve been chatting up my chicken pushers, scoping out the new Spring collection. Hoping to add two more soon. Turns out, Vita’s sister won Best in Show at the Reading and District Bantam Society Annual Show last year. Same breed, same year, same flock, same batch of eggs.

Vita is the beautifullest of chickens, but she’s the very bottom of the pecking order in our little flock. Ain’t life funny like that?


Another Dead Pool?! *sigh*. I had no idea who Jerry Buss was, but Uncle Al was so chuffed to win dick, I couldn’t bear to see a hurt looked on that adorable little mug of his. You do have an adorable little mug, right Al? I mean, I had an Uncle Al who was as ugly as a smacked ass, but that’s neither here nor there. Meet you back here Friday, 6WBT for Dead Pool Round Umpty-ump!

Comments


Comment from Deborah
Time: February 18, 2013, 11:17 pm

Dang. The only time I ever took a dip in the Dead Pool, and there’s a winner before Stoaty puts up a new post.

My daughter-in-law’s mother has a dawg-daughter whose father was best in breed at Westminster. It ain’t chickens, but it’s all I got for now.


Comment from Deborah
Time: February 18, 2013, 11:27 pm

P.S. Are you pleased with your egg skelter? Do you put store-bought eggs in it when you don’t have fresh eggs from the girls?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 19, 2013, 12:09 am

I love my skelter. Before, I would swiftly lose track of which eggs were oldest. But, you know, when you pull a few from the front, they certainly do not gracefully roll down the chute all on their own.

When the girls really get going, they get ahead of us, and I end up having to boil a bunch of them to keep around for snacks. Pull seven or nine eggs off it, and you will manually be moving all the other eggs down to the bottom.

In the winter, I leave it empty. It’s for bantam eggs, so I’m not sure it would take a full-sized chicken’s eggs. Though, Lucia’s are getting up that size, so maybe so.

As a hen ages, she lays fewer eggs but larger. You can tell Lucia’s eggs are substantially larger than the rest. (Mapp is the same age, but she’s laid a tenth of the number of eggs. She’s a rotten hen. Lucky for her, she’s my favorite).


Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: February 19, 2013, 12:15 am

Perhaps you’d like some Campbell ducks? They lay February through November, and the eggs are of high quality. They do quite a number on slugs and snails too.


Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: February 19, 2013, 12:29 am

Ooo – if you get some ducks, then you can make Balut.

Best eaten with a spicy vinegar sauce and your eyes closed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_(egg)

As I have said in a previous post, the protein choices here are a bit dicey.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 19, 2013, 12:47 am

Uncle B badly wants ducks, but we have no place to put them. And a fox problem.

Oh. Balut. No. I really, really am not into eating embryo.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 19, 2013, 12:50 am

Oh, Timothy, dude…I just hit the link and checked out your blog. That is some interesting shit right there.

Go look at Carlson’s blog.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 19, 2013, 2:18 am

Adorable little mug? Hmm. Don’t know about that myself. I mean, I do have my vices but narcissism isn’t on that particular list. Over the years I have been told by a number of women that I was by their lights adorable but they might have only been after my money. They all but the last one moved on when they realized I didn’t have much. That’s fine – the last one’s a keeper!

As for it being a little mug, at 18 stone (252 lbs.) not much about me can be accurately described as little.

I envy you those fresh eggs. I’d have chickens and/or ducks but just as you have a small fox problem, I have a small alligator problem.


Comment from BJM
Time: February 19, 2013, 4:14 am

Timothy and this dude will be in high demand after the zombie apocalypse.


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: February 19, 2013, 5:58 am

Your wire egg device makes me think of Caractacus Potts’ egg cooking machine in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.


Comment from Mojo
Time: February 19, 2013, 6:16 am

Uncle Al? “The Kiddies Pal”?

I thought he was still in stir…


Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: February 19, 2013, 6:34 am

Comment from BJM
Time: February 19, 2013, 4:14 am

Timothy and this dude will be in high demand after the zombie apocalypse.

Haven’t you watched the movies/tv shows? The tech guy gets treated like carp and usually has to watch his megalomaniacal ‘leader’ get weird. No thanks. Just shoot me in the brainstem _now_.

I’ve been described as a ‘junkyard designer’ – build whatever I can out of whatever I can find. It’s mostly just to keep my mind limber in my medically-forced retirement. Maybe someday I’ll tinker up the next electronic ‘pet rock’ and get rich – but I doubt it.


Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: February 19, 2013, 4:54 pm

Bugger, I’ll be running a 5k and half marathon this weekend and friday will be doing all sorts of expo crap, no way am I going to remember to do this. Why do people have to die when I have plans the next weekend!!!

And no chickens for me either, same reason as Uncle Al. We can’t even let the dogs go out alone and there is no walking within 6 feet of a lake. Asshole builders feed the reptiles their left over lunch, they are not afraid of us.


Comment from Browndog
Time: February 19, 2013, 5:34 pm

“…as ugly as a smacked ass”

That there is one beautiful phrase.

Can’t wait to use it!


Comment from Redd
Time: February 19, 2013, 6:45 pm

I really like deviled eggs and fresh potato salad. Reminds me of Easter growing up.


Comment from tomfrompv
Time: February 19, 2013, 8:53 pm

I envy folks who can legally own a chicken. Out here in SoCal, most cities outlaw livestock and will confiscate all but “companion” animals like cats, dogs, and such. Some cities will allow the horse or pony, but never the chicken. School children go on daytrips to the Museum to see dioramas of farm life that have stuffed chickens posed in life like ways.

In the big city in my county (LA) the illegals own chickens but only because no laws are enforced in those parts of town. I’m pretty sure the lifespan of those chickens is pretty short given the real purpose is for cock fighting, another delightful facet of the illegal’s culture. No egg layers, in other words.


Comment from Anonymous
Time: February 19, 2013, 10:17 pm

Is it at all economical to have chickens for eggs?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 19, 2013, 10:27 pm

*thinks*

It can be hugely economical, depending on how unsentimental you are. That is, if you treat them mostly as egg-laying machines. Don’t pay fancy chicken money for them (ex-battery chickens would be ideal), cull them when they get sick. They will live in any old box or shelter. They will happily live on kitchen scraps and bugs and junk out of the lawn, and they will be madly productive egg layers (depending on species). Then, if you put them in the pot when their egg-laying days are over, bonus! You have had several years worth of high quality protein, basically for free and a little effort. They are probably the best deal in all domestic-animal-dom.

But the way we do it, nyet. Fancy chickens, fancy chicken house, trips to the vet when they’re sick. These girls are pets with benefits.


Comment from mojo
Time: February 19, 2013, 10:37 pm

Three words, Tom:

“Psychological support chicken”


Comment from Redd
Time: February 19, 2013, 10:48 pm

The problem with LA is that there are so many coyotes and raccoons – even during daylight.


Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 19, 2013, 11:40 pm

Hmmm, those eggs look odd, especially that first one. Thought at you weren’t supposed to eat eggs laid before April anyhow….


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 20, 2013, 12:02 am

What, throw out six weeks worth of eggs? Nevah.

Anyway, the first one of the season is always a little wonky. Cut the girl some slack. When was the last time you blew a delicious snack out your butt?


Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: February 20, 2013, 12:07 am

Comment from Redd
Time: February 19, 2013, 10:48 pm

The problem with LA is that there are so many coyotes and raccoons – even during daylight.

*sigh*

If only that was the only problem with LA.


Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: February 20, 2013, 1:32 am

When was the last time you blew a delicious snack out your butt?

This will be my rebuttal to all the things.


Comment from Nina
Time: February 20, 2013, 1:55 am

What color are they?


Comment from Nina
Time: February 20, 2013, 1:56 am

The eggs, not the chickens. :)


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 20, 2013, 2:01 am

Off-white. Probably white, if they didn’t have poo all over them.

Yes, it takes a strong constitution. Our garden is very muddy this Spring.


Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: February 20, 2013, 6:27 am

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 20, 2013, 12:02 am
When was the last time you blew a delicious snack out your butt?

Generally? Or after a bit of preparation?


Comment from Redd
Time: February 20, 2013, 4:37 pm

Apparently, the UK has gone nuts for chicken:

The Fried Chicken Shop

In the UK, the meat of a chicken used to be considered a treat, a rare luxury, with the average British person eating on average of one a year. However the poultry flesh has now become one of our most commonly eaten foods, with more than 3.5 million chickens slaughtered every year, making it our most eaten meat. How, when and where we consume chicken is evolving and out high streets are moving with it. In 2010 it was confirmed that there are over 2100 establishment dedicated to selling the meat and it’s fast food market is worth more than £4 billion per annum. This evening the special Cutting Edge episode focuses on relatively new fried chicken business Roosters Spot, using one of their establishments in London to examine the growth in the fried poultry industry.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 20, 2013, 5:02 pm

You ain’t seen nothing yet, Redd. This horsemeat scandal has sent chicken prices through the roof.

Oh, well. Perhaps it’ll depress beef prices. We were being told that beef was going to see the biggest price hikes of all. You wouldn’t think actual obvious chunks of cow would be affected, but people can be illogical about things when their revulsion kicks in.


Comment from Redd
Time: February 20, 2013, 5:28 pm

So, now’s the time to open an El Pollo Loco in London?

What about lamb prices? I really like lamb but they look so cute and then I feel guilty.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 20, 2013, 6:16 pm

I think lamb prices have stayed highest right the way along. Uncle B and I both hate lamb, which is lucky since we’re surrounded by the little buggers.


Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: February 20, 2013, 10:51 pm

Duck are very easy to care for, and our campbells have survived several dog attacks. (they can fly) All they really need is a little fortress to sleep in at night.

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