Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I had read how some chicken farmers keep track of which chickens are the best layers so they can cull the flock of the non-productive hens. While I have no intentions of culling anything and don't consider myself a farmer if I'm only giving away a dozen extra eggs a week, I wondered how one would determine who's laying and how often. Now that I only have two Silver Spangled Hambug hens (read here why), telling them apart has become alot easier. The four Americaunas have always been easy to distinquish as they have varying colors.
The Hamburgs lay small, white or lightly tinted eggs, the Americaunas lay the famous blue-green "Easter eggs". When the Jersey Giant starts laying (hopefully soon), her eggs will be brown. So identifying the breed of chicken the egg came from is easy. I started visiting the nesting box where the hens go to lay at various times during the day, making note of which hen was in there and the resulting egg. I suspected that each hen had her own unique egg size, shade and texture as I'd noticed the eggs are not uniform within their breed.

I've labeled the eggs with the hen's name and you can see the differences in the photo. Foster, the mostly white Americauna, lays a smooth, almost shiny, paler egg. Fenix, the bigger, golden Americauna, lays the perfect egg; large, great color. Flo's are somewhat mottled or freckled and Faye's (with the darker head) are long and narrower. Of the Hamburg's, Righty is the hen whose tail cocks to the right and reminds me of a sail. Her eggs are the smallest. The other Hamburg is called Tighty by default. The Hamburgs used to have other names, but since I couldn't tell the 4 apart very easily, those names didn't stick.

I am very excited about the new chicks arriving Easter week. I've ordered one of each breed, six of them in all, from the Meyer Hatchery. In case you want to look them up on the Meyer website, my chosen breeds this time are the White Sultan, Red Silkie, Mille Fleur, Light Brahma, Buff Orpington and Black Frizzle. The new girls (and I hope they're all girls, the 3 bantam breeds are too small to be sexed) should start production in October.


  1. With names like Righty and Tighty, does this mean Lefty and Loosy will be among the names for the new chicks? I hope so. Then you could come visit the new chicks and say, "Loosy, I'm home!"

  2. Thanks to Howard, I'm now referring to the Rhode Island chick as "Lucy". I'm waiting to see if a new chick develops a tail that veers to the left so I can call her "Lefty". The Plymouth Barred Rock is called Pilgram. The Light Brahma may turn out to be white enough to call "Whitey" so I have Righty, Tighty and Whitey. The Buff Orpington has the unoriginal name of Buffy so far. Kelsey has named the Silkie chicks after Lord of the Rings characters (due to their hairy feet), but I can only remember Frodo and Bilbo. I still hope the Silkies are girls though.