Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cute Little Devils, Aren't They?

At least two of the four new hens are beginning to lay eggs now. When a hen first starts to lay, her eggs are smaller than they eventually will be ...possibly nature's way of easing her into called purpose in life. As she matures, her eggs will gradually get larger until they are full-sized.

This is only our second batch of hens. We bought our first hens as day old chicks in 2009 and when they first started laying eggs, we had nothing except store-bought eggs to compare them to. So the size difference didn't seem that noticeable. One of those three hens lays HUGE eggs that will only comfortably fit into a Jumbo size egg carton. They will fit into a Large or Extra Large carton, but forget being able to close the lid. At least two of those three original hens are still laying, including Dora who lays the HUGE eggs. But production is way down, partly due to their age and partly due to this oppressive heat, I'm sure.

This spring, we bought some new chicks. Hens don't lay eggs forever and we figured we needed to start phasing in replacements for the older birds. We started out with five Barred Rock chicks, but lost three to chicken snakes. It was the Last Supper for all but one of those chicken snakes. The third one was sporting a couple of 22 caliber holes when it slithered away ...hopefully it didn't survive the trauma. A few weeks later, we found a guy down the road that was selling some two month old Production Reds and we brought two of those home as well. Now we have seven chickens in the coop. That's really more than we need for eggs for just the two of us. It's also possibly more than we want unless we pick up a couple more egg customers. We're not really (and don't want to be) officially in the egg business. But for now, the seven hens are producing three to four eggs per day.

Since the new hens are so young and have only been laying for a week or two, their eggs are still really small. I used a carton marked 'Grade A Large' because it was the biggest I happened to have on hand today.  The HUGE eggs that Dora lays barely fit into a carton marked Jumbo.  If I put what I refer to as our 'normal' eggs from our other two mature hens in a carton marked Extra Large, I can close the lid but it's tight.  They will fit into a carton marked Large, but forget closing the lid.  All this is for reference so you know what you're looking at here.  I put six of the little bitty eggs in one side and six of the normal eggs on the other side. I laid two of the HUGE eggs and two more of the little bitty eggs on the open lid as a visual reference for size. Aren't the little bitty eggs cute?!

Sweet red bell peppers were on sale for 50 cents each at the grocery store last week so I bought six. We love bell peppers. Sometimes I stuff them and sometimes I slice them up to steam with kielbasa or grilled chicken tenders. I bought six peppers and made stuffed peppers that night. I make the filling with one pound of ground beef, one egg for binder, about 1/3 cup fine seasoned bread crumbs, some spices and a bit of tomato sauce. The one pound of ground beef is enough to generously stuff six halved bell peppers. I slice them the long way and Yeoldfurt eats two halves for his supper and takes two halves for his lunch the next day. I eat half a pepper for supper and take the other half for my lunch the next day. Normally when I make these, I use one of the normal sized eggs. That time, I used two of the little bitty eggs. I was curious to see the quality of the egg itself since it was so tiny. But they were excellent quality.  The yolks were dark yellow and, if anything, disproportionately larger than the whites. The two little eggs were perfect to replace the one normal sized egg I usually used to make this recipe.
Tonight we're having a chef salad for dinner and I decided to make some deviled eggs to go with it. I usually use two of the HUGE eggs when I make deviled eggs but decided today to use the little bitty eggs.

Now who would have thought you could fit a dozen deviled eggs on one 6-inch dessert plate?  Tell me these aren't the cutest 'little devils' you've ever seen!


  1. Cute little devils, indeed! I'll have to remember that when my girls lay the wee eggs, lol! The heat made them back down production, but the girls are back on track here again.

  2. Cute for sure! And I LOVE your backon press!

  3. Hi, Lamb...
    The heat has slowed the older hens down quite a bit but the young ones are just beginning to lay and probably think this weather is normal. Ugh... thank goodness it's NOT normal and hopefully it will be over soon!

  4. Thanks, Craftivist... that bacon press was my mother's I think but she probably got it from my grandmother so it's been around for several generations. I never use it for a bacon press because I cook my bacon in the oven. But it makes me smile when I see it, so I like to keep it out where I see it often.

    : )