THE DAY MY CHICKEN LAID AN OSTRICH EGG.

I like to check for eggs around 5 times a day.  It’s my thing.  Because I work from home, instead of screwing around in the office break room, I walk downstairs, put my disgusting bile green Crocs on and head out the back door. Which is exactly what I did a couple of weeks ago.

The weather hadn’t turned yet so it was warm and beautiful and I remember thinking that it was going to take a lot of self discipline to go right back into work instead of spending the next hour outside frolicking.  For real, genuine, spinning in circles through the fall leaves, frolicking.  It was a frolicking kind of day.

But when I blindly reached my hand into the nesting box and grabbed what felt like a knee cap I knew things were not so frolicky anymore.

 

row-of-eggs-2

Different sized chickens lay different sized eggs. Bigger chickens lay bigger eggs, smaller chickens lay smaller eggs.  You may have guessed this based on your higher education of grade 2 math.  Take my little chicken Sweetie. She’s an Ameraucana but she’s small for her age.  If Sweetie were in a class photo she’d be the little chicken asked to sit cross legged on the floor in front of everyone else. She lays tiny eggs.

Josephine on the other hand is a larger chicken; full, robust, hefty.  Back row material. She lays big eggs.

When a chicken settles into laying eggs at around the age of 6 or 7  months they’re all pretty much the same size.  No big changes.

But that day, the day the frolicking died, there was a very big change indeed.

Josephine was the only chicken laying at the time due to the great chicken moult of 2016.  All the other chickens were under the weather, feeling like crap and spending all their energy and protein reserves on growing new feathers.

The thing I grabbed from the back of the nesting box was like no egg I’d ever seen outside of Wilma serving Fred breakfast on the Flintstones.

It was huge.  Not normal.  Possibly painful.  Probably laid by an Ostrich.

josephine-and-sweetie

To the left as you can see is a regular egg from Sweetie.  To the right, is the bomb that Josephine laid.

To put it into perspective here’s Sweetie’s 38 gram (1.3 ounce) egg in a small frying pan.

small-yolk-in-pan

A decent sized yolk with whites that don’t even come close to filling the pan.

Josephine’s mammoth 96 gram (3.4 ounce) egg?

 

big-yolk-in-pan

It fills the frying pan about halfway up the sides.

From another point of view.  Sweetie’s yolk in the palm of my hand.

 

small-yolk-in-palm

 

And the yolk of Josephine’s 2 hours of back labour.

big-yolk-in-palm

It was the size of a tennis ball.  You’ll notice (and forgive) the few blood spots on the egg.  I mean, seriously it would have been a miracle if she was able to get that thing formed and out of her without a complete haemorrhage.  She’s lucky she didn’t require episiotomy stitches.

So what does one do with an almost quarter pound egg?  I scrambled it and fed it back to the chickens.

It’s the best thing you can do for moulting chickens, feeding them protein.  And not a lot of things have more protein than a dumpster sized egg.

I still take my 5 or 6 egg checking breaks a day.  Nothing’s really changed after this shocking little episode in my life.

Other than Josephine having suddenly developed a bit of a limp and a very pronounced Australian accent.

39 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Ouch! Interestingly not a “squeezy looking” egg either. Some look very “squeezy”. I’m impressed! 🙂

    • Tina says:

      I love it when you get the eggs that show a LOT of work went into them. Where there are ridges in the eggs shell. Where there’s dried fluids and bedraggled feathers stuck to it. When I had chickens, those girls got a parade!

      • Lisa says:

        I agree! The ridges and the muck – means real to me!

        • Tina says:

          The funny part is that when we lived in Belgium, we’d buy eggs in the grocery store and they all had dried fluids and bits of poop and the occasional feather. And me, being American, I’d never had a “natural” egg except at home from my own chickens. I thought eggs in the stores were cleaned!

          • Lisa says:

            Oh yes – rarely do you see eggs with “muck” in the stores here. Our RSPCA has put out the “Clucker” App – so you can check if the free range eggs you want to buy are really free range. As long as the cartons have a bar-code you can check. My market eggs don’t – but I buy from a trusted source.

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Wow! You coulda had a block party and fed everyone the world’s biggest omelet…lol..

  3. Isabella says:

    Poor poor thing. She’s needs some other reward though than to be fed her own effort with a capital E. Give her a steak for petes sake, or at least a little hamburger.

  4. Ardith says:

    Epic. To Josephine the Aussie Ostrich.

  5. Ev Wilcox says:

    “OW W WWWWW”! It’s a wonder we didn’t hear her clear down in Northeast Ohio, poor thing. Have you checked her bum? Anyway, congrats to Josephine!

  6. Auntiepatch says:

    WOW!

  7. Tina L says:

    Omigosh. I don’t raise poultry, but Isn’t chickens eating eggs kind of cannibalistic?

    • Elaine says:

      I know, Tina! It’s really weird, isn’t it??!! My parents raised chickens in England during the war and I remember my Mum serving chopped up hard-boiled eggs for the baby chicks.

      • kristin says:

        My daughters were super upset that I fed our chickens their own eggs, scrambled. The chickens thought it was awesome, however!

  8. Catt in Kentucky says:

    Impressive!!

  9. MrsChris SA says:

    Ouchie – that hurts me, I can only imagine how she must have felt!!

  10. Tere Crow Lindsay says:

    Like Ev…….my thought was to clinch my bum and say OWWWWWWWWWW for about 15 minutes.
    I hope you did a booty check and she’s ok.
    LOL!!!!

    P.S. I bet alot of us said Owwwww

  11. Fiona says:

    I hate to say this mate, but as a ridgy-didge true blue Aussie, I have to let you know that we don’t have Ostriches Down Under. That’d be an Emu you’re thinking of. Which’d still have bl**dy painful sized eggs to lay! That’s quite a chook!

    • Irene says:

      Yup. Come to South Africa for ostriches. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Do you know I was going to look that up to be sure and thought meh … no … I don’t need to Australia has kangaroos and Ostrich. So where are all the Ostrich, lol? ~ karen!

      • Lez says:

        As Irene said, they are all here in S.A! One of our indigenous birds! I am lucky to have an Ostrich farm right opposite my house! One has laid 4 HUGE eggs right next to the fence! 🙂

    • Cynthia says:

      We do have ostriches, just not native. They were imported. Love the egg holder.

  12. Gayle'' says:

    I birthed a 10 pound baby, and believe me, while you’re working at it nothing else matters except getting that thing outta ya! Anyway, afterward you don’t remember the pain (said no one ever)! I hope she’s doing well after that ordeal. From now on, her eggs will probably slip right out. I know I have that problem now. lol

  13. KathyB says:

    Oh, I was so sure that was going to be a double yolk. But, no, just a single huge yolk. I don’t have chickens anymore and your posts remind me how much I loved them.

  14. Meredith says:

    Do they actually feel under the weather when they are moulting? I always suspected that but never knew for sure. Mine always seem like they get loose stools and lay around under bushes a lot. Could I sub yogurt for scrambled eggs? I have 12 chickens and that would be a lot of eggs…..I would have to buy eggs to scramble for my chickens while they are moulting. My husband would worry about my mental stability. I could get away with yogurt.

  15. dede says:

    I wonder, had it been able to hatch, would this egg have been a giant chick?

  16. Ruth Vallejos says:

    This reminds me of Mel Brooks and his comedy routine “the 2000 year old man” and he said the name “egg” came from the sound a chicken made when she heaved it out. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegggggggg”.

  17. Elaine says:

    I know of an excellent proctologist on University Ave, Toronto if she needs any “doctoring”!! Poor Josephine – that first photo actually made me wince!

  18. Mary W says:

    Love that you showed them in a frying pan and in your palm. That was so much easier to see, to understand your surprise, AND to wince. She deserved a special treat for that or you may start looking for the sneaky ostrich that visited while you were actually working instead of rummaging through their nests!

  19. Kelli says:

    Wow, don’t know what you’ve been feeding Josephine lately but keep it up – Guinness can always shoehorn in another category to win, right?

  20. Teddee Grace says:

    Poor baby! I hope she’s OK and didn’t suffer any permanent damage.

  21. Stephbo says:

    Oof! Poor Josephine! Maybe she ate one of the monster grapes we just had.

  22. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    You are very, very funny!

  23. Pam'a says:

    Fascinating! What do your chicken experts say about such a thing? And I, like Dede, wonder what would have hatched out of such a behemoth. Thanks for sharing, Science Girl!

  24. denise HOSNER says:

    Karen, you need to build a recliner for the girls..that way, whoever is struggling can at least but her feet up..and btw, I know parrots can do kegel exercises so I imagine your girls can, too..

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