Those who know me know how much I like my chickens; I spoil them rotten with treats and toys. My younger chickens have finally started laying eggs. That’s a good thing, right? Well, I noticed one race out from underneath the coop with something in her mouth and then several others quickly chasing after her. By the time I reached the chicken yard it was apparent they had devoured one of their own, a freshly laid egg. That’s not good, right? If you have ever been around chickens and examined their eggs you know the shells of the younger ones are more fragile; their shell glands have not fully developed or they are deficient in calcium, either way, it will work itself out in time. The problem is now they have a taste for it. Another issue I have found with these new chickens is they have decided to lay their eggs outside the layer boxes, so, ever day is a bit of an egg hunt, so you really must walk gingerly, as to not crush an egg. Now, I must make some changes in how I manage the flock to prevent further issues.
Etymology is interesting. In considering my experience with the hens, I find the idiom, “walking on eggshells” curious in our culture. It is an exercise in carefully speaking and crafting each word as to not offend or perpetuate an alternative interpretation of message meaning. As a scholar in communications, I find it all an interesting study. Narratives and storytelling to frame a perceived reality, when the truth is, a perceived reality can only come from oneself, yet, we all walk on eggshells. Defined injustices, hypocrisy, conspiracy all make perceived realities real. Maybe the shell glands just haven’t matured. Maybe we are living in an alternate reality, or maybe we just need a little more “calcium”. Either way, I’ll keep tending to my hens, fluffing up their laying boxes and making sure they have all they need while protecting them from the coyotes. Yes, there are real threats to my flock.
Egg shells are fragile, and they do break from time to time. I’ve added some calcium to their diet, and I’ve increased the number of times per day I gather the eggs. I’ll just need to coddle them a while until their shell glands mature, the calcium kicks in and they find their way to the laying boxes.