GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

Even Hens Have a Signature Look

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Many of us have that one friend- who no matter what the event, will show up looking stunning.  Many times it’s the same dress or top, perhaps accessorized a bit differently, but it’s their “look.”  Maybe Bohemian or casual beach or the classic all-black.

Rosie and Red have their own signature looks.  They are identical in breed, a cross between Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns, but as is common for chicken people to talk about, they are unique individuals.

Red is giving me the look.

Red, is the plumper of the two ladies, though you can’t really tell this until you pick her up.  She is slightly darker in color and has one black tail feather.  She exudes more confidence than Rosie and has shown that she can and will peck at you if you bother her.  She lays nice round, perfectly brown eggs.  And she lays one every day.

A contrast between Rosie’s taller variety and Red’s short and stout eggs. Those long skinny ones don’t fit in regular cartons very well!

Rosie, is slightly smaller.  She’s a little more high-strung, her pitch is higher in tone and her coloring is a wee bit lighter.  She lays long skinny eggs, and doesn’t do it every day; about 5 times a week though.  Also, her eggs often have white speckles on them and sometimes “dimples” appear in the texture of the shell, as shown below.

White speckles are nothing to worry about, according to the author. It is typically a glitch in the hens’ own system

All of this, variation, color and size is normal.  “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens” by Gail Damerow is one of the most highly rated chicken books out there.  It is very complete, and I can’t imagine needing another book.  She explains that the speckling of white is a “glitch in the hen’s own quality control system” and that the dimpling occurs if something interrupts the shell-hardening process. (Like perhaps a sudden stress, I wonder? Like the dogs barking too close to the laying box?)  It is nothing to fret about.

I say all of this because one of the primary reasons for the Green Box Garden (and assorted other projects) is to more firmly connect us to our food.  What we nourish our bodies with shouldn’t just be a simple commodity traded for cash in the way plastic, wood or metal goods are.  Inanimate objects are not the same as living things such as the plants we grow and eat- and the hens we love.  And we do love them.  They are pets, who have a natural instinct to lay eggs.  Hens will lay eggs whether a person is around to gather them or not.  And simply noticing all the subtle variations and how climate effects their mood and taking care of their needs places us closer to the food they give us that is full of protein and omega-3s.

And we don’t eat eggs from other hens.  We are snobs like that, because we don’t know what their signature look is, and whether it would go with what we are wearing.

Which one is Red? One black tail feather 🙂

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Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

4 thoughts on “Even Hens Have a Signature Look

  1. We are raising some chicks at the moment can’t can’t wait until they start laying eggs! Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Our hens add a whole different dimension to our household! They are conversation starters, bug eaters and amusing entertainment. Good luck with yours and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Such cool information about the eggs and I love that they have their own sizes and shapes per chicken:)

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