Happy New Year! I hope you had a fun and safe celebration. Here at the DB&DT house we welcomed two new members to the cluck club on New Year’s day. Although we started with 4 chickens we lost one when some of them decided to jump the fence of the expanded yard off their run back in the fall. We’re not sure exactly what happened, but believe the younger dogs saw them out and attempted to ‘play’ with them which led to one chicken having a heart attack as there were no obvious wounds or blood when she was discovered.
Since then the three remaining hens have been kept in their contained run and have been doing well, even with the below 0* temps we had for a stint. Since there was room for a few more we decided to add two. Luckily the same friend we got the original group from was still downsizing his flock so we didn’t have to worry about bringing in hens from a different batch.
The new ladies are settling in and learning the routine of our roost pretty quickly. We give them scraps to scratch and peck through every evening so the original group come running when we open the door, but the newer hens weren’t too sure about coming down the ramp with us and the dogs around.
Eventually they figured it out and joined in the exploring for special treats. We’ve named them Chicken Patty and Chicken Dumpling, continuing our “chicken foods” theme.
Patty is the black hen looking up in the center of the picture above and dumpling is the mostly white hen also looking over her flock mate’s fluffy rear. Everyone seems to get along, but I’m sure there was some adjustment in the pecking order when we weren’t looking.
Since our original group started laying we’ve been getting eggs about every other day. Some are white and some are brown, but they’ve all been tasty. One day I discovered this massive egg in the nest box! It was twice the size of the eggs we had been getting and had a wavy shell.
It was so big that we couldn’t even close the egg carton! The two eggs in the foreground are store bought, the slightly smaller one on the right in the background is the egg that is seen next to the giant above. Although both the hubs and I have raised chickens before, neither of us had ever seen anything like it before.
Eventually we did crack it open just to see what the heck was going on with this monster egg. Inside we found a second egg, shell and all! We asked our vet about it and she explained that this can happen when an egg forms but the hen doesn’t lay the egg and a second egg forms around the first egg!
Apparently our hens are super fertile because in addition to this unique egg, most of theirs have also been double yokes. We don’t plan to increase the flock via hatching (hence no rooster), so as long as that fertility means they continue to produce eggs regularly we’re happy. But I’m curious if any other backyard flock owners have had similar discoveries. I’d love to hear about them if you have!