One Hen’s Special Effort


One of the joys of living on a farm is walking out the back door to harvest what is needed for a meal right out of the ground, or the orchard, or the berry patch, or from within the hen house. 

“Eat local” is nothing compared to “Eat from the Backyard”.

So over the years on the farm, we’ve owned chickens -starting with the chicks under a hot lamp, watching the growing pullets start laying little miniature eggs which,  over several months of hen development,  become full size oval jumbo AA eggs, found warm in a cozy nest under a hen’s breast.   There is distinct satisfaction of a “eureka!” moment anytime a new egg is gathered.  It is even more gratifying when the egg is broken in the pan and two yolks pour out instead of one, a symbol of that hen’s special effort that day.

When our hens were free range, the finding of the nest and gathering of the eggs was definitely a greater challenge than simply opening a chicken coop door.  It required investment of time and ingenuity to think like a hen trying to hide her brood.  I would remind myself that a hen’s brain is smaller than a walnut and mine is, well…. bigger, so this should not have been such a difficult task.

So I keep my ear tuned to the cackle of a hen as she is about to lay, the musical hum she makes when she is happily brooding on the nest, and the feel of her plump fluffiness as I reach underneath her to wrap my hand around that smooth perfect surface.

I break one of those fresh eggs, into the pan, and it is a double yolker.  A hen has made a special effort, just for me.

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