Sunday, 2 February 2014

Ducks demand recount

Can you spot the odd one out?

Think you've spotted it?
I'm afraid I'm not sure if I can help you. I think it's the bottom middle but, on closer inspection, there may even be two odd ones out! I couldn't even tell in the flesh, let alone from a photo.

So you'll imagine my surprise when the penny finally dropped. Eight of these are not what I thought they were.

Let's take a step back a week:
January's nearing its end and the chickens are laying more and more eggs every day. The Crested Cream Legbars, which lay beautiful blue eggs, have been laying very well of late. That's to put it mildly, for I am beginning to suspect that two hens are somehow conspiring to lay more than two eggs per day! I'm not quite sure, for I collect eggs several times a day and don't always remember what I've collected. Furthermore the morning eggs could, in theory, have been laid late the previous day. All other possibilities seem impossible though. The other hens do not lay blue eggs. The young Cream Legbar hen is still a chick and could not feasibly be laying eggs yet. And it is pretty unlikely that Spike the Cockerel has started to lay!

Now fast forward to yesterday:
This morning I found a blue egg lying all on its own in the mud. This is very unusual behaviour from one of the Cream Legbar hens.

Yesterday afternoon:
I collected another three blue eggs. Something is clearly up.

Then I realised. I can't believe I have been so short-sighted. Ducks! Not the three white ducks, who lay white eggs, but the black Cayugas... who lay blue eggs. Or, more precisely, the young Cayugas, the ones who are due to be going off to the poultry house in the sky round about February half term.

Once I'd realised, it all fell into place. For Cayuga eggs have a strange, dark film on them, a bit like dirtied eggs but it won't quite wash off. They're a subtly different shape to hen eggs and usually much larger. I guess it was because they are being laid by ducks just coming into lay that had me fooled, for the size difference is not yet marked.

So it appears that Chickens 8, Ducks 1 may well have been wrong. It was probably Chickens 6, Ducks 3. That's actually more eggs per duck than per hen.

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