Carol started and agitated cackling and strutting around in front of the nest box where Angela was holed up. Something was definitely up. The girls had grown into handsome birds, all shiny new feathers and bright red combs and wattles. Their legs had paled, which is an egg laying sign. Maybe today would be the magic ovulation day for Angela. I was as excited as an expectant mother to think that soon I would be looking at Angela’s first egg. Waiting a respectable period of time to go back out and check on the progress was difficult, but I kept myself busy with an attentive ear out to what Carol was saying.
About an hour later, I could wait no longer and quietly ventured out to the chicken run to see if Angela had exited the nest box. She had and I went in to retrieve the egg I knew she’d laid. I peeked into the nest box and waited for my eyes to adjust to the dimmer light under the tarp. Hmmm. No hard-shelled egg. Wait, what was that shiny thing? Angela had laid a shell-less egg, all tough membrane surrounding the yellow and white. I tried to gently pick it up to keep it intact, but the second I touched it, POP. Now I had a snotty mess in the straw of the nest box I needed to clean out. It’s important to keep the nest box clean to keep the wrong kinds of bacteria and bugs from moving in.
A chicken’s first egg is often not completely formed, so I didn’t panic and fear there was something horribly wrong with her. She was eating good organic food and had plenty of oyster shell calcium to snack on. The next egg proved she a capable layer. It was a small, respectable, brown, hard-shelled egg. The eggs would get larger over time as her oviduct grew. In fact, Angela has been known to lay a jumbo egg, so large the carton won’t shut, in recent days.