July 11, 2008

What is going on with these eggs?

jumbo egg, bantam eggsFranken-egg, bantam hen egg, and a mistake

I just collected today's eggs. My hens have never laid such a small egg before. Even their first eggs were much bigger than this. How strange! The photo shows, from left to right, an extra-extra-large grocery store egg, a normal sized bantam egg, and today's surprise. The eggs weighed 2.5 oz., 1.25 oz., and 0.5 oz., respectively

I found this page on egg facts. The large egg would be qualified as a 'jumbo' in the US. Surprisingly, there is an official US classification for my banty eggs. It's called 'peewee.' How cute. The smallest one could only be classified as a....bird egg.

Three of the hens having been laying regularly since they finally got over their broodiness (urge to hatch babies). The fourth hen had been missing for about a week, at least − it's hard to be sure because three of the hens look almost exactly alike and we rarely see them all together. We were so sad, thinking that a predator had gotten her.

chicken with chicks, La Ceiba, HondurasThen she surprised us the other day by showing up at the feeding station with 6 brand new baby chicks! I have searched the entire garden and can find no spot where she could have been keeping those eggs and chicks dry and safe from these tropical rainstorms we have been having lately. She is apparently smarter than I am.

I wonder if the hens aren't getting enough to eat. I used to spend a lot of time in the estudio (studio). The chickens would flock to the window and squawk at me, letting me know that they wanted foodNOW!

I haven't been in that room as much lately. I feed them in various spots around the yard, but the dogs keep finding and eating their food. The dogs even eat the raw rice! Here is the proof:

jail time, chihuahuas, La Ceiba, HondurasIt must be jealousy because the dogs have plenty to eat at all times. I'm going to have to figure out a new system. Maybe the chihuahuas need more jail time.

About that big one

The other thing that I want to know is what is going on is with this grocery store egg. This egg is huge!

For years after I first came to Honduras, the grocery store eggs were small, or medium at best. One store, Piara, used to sell farm-raised brown eggs. They were large but the grocery store eggs never were. I'm not complaining. I don't care what size the eggs are. My point is that for the past several months, the grocery store eggs have been huge. I want to know what changed.

I saw a show on Canal 10 Educational TV* showing a commercial chicken farm. They explained how they gave the chickens hormones and antibiotics to make them "healthy." The confinement area was large and looked clean, but it was wall-to-wall chickens who appeared to do nothing but eat, eat, eat. Are these Franken-eggs a result of hormones and antibiotics? Not a nice thought.

I'm glad that we can mostly eat our healthy, free-range, organic, home-grown eggs.

* For those living in Honduras: At 11 p.m. on Canal 10 every night, they have a narrated program about some form of agriculture, artesania, or other type of small business in Honduras. These programs are interesting and enlightening. They often show a farm in the more remote areas of Honduras. The people are often poor, hard-working, but knowledgeable about what they do. It's good to see the dedication.

It's also sad to see how little some of these small businesses know about hygiene, marketing, and business in general. It also disturbs me how reliant they are on hybrids, chemicals, hormones, and all those unnatural expensive additions that they have been led to believe are miracle products.
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