Wednesday 4 August 2010

An egg on the plate

It's was a wonderful moment, staring at the egg which our chicken had laid, which was laying on the toast  on the plate in front of me. But what was this! Curiously I found myself reluctant to start eating it! Why was I reluctant?  Because eggs normally come out of egg boxes which are purchased from a shop, that's why, and I don't think of the chicken which actually laid the egg. There is a food loop, and the origination of the food loop, the chicken, is not thought of, dismissed from my head as being irrelevant almost.

But the egg was there in front of me, fresh from the chicken's bum, and I did think of that chicken. Of the long drawn out process of the arrival of that egg into the world. Of the hours of cooing and long drawn out chuckling under her breath as the egg made its way through her abdomen, that is what I had heard.

Painful, her voice sounded pained during the process such that I was reminded of the time when I was birthing my children and I became in total empathy with that chicken. But I only had that experience three times, she does a similar process every day, of this I was aware as I observed that egg on the plate. I had shared that experience with her, cluck by  cluck. Being so close to the chicken run I hear and see most of what goes on with the flock, so I was made aware of the process of birthing an egg by the sounds which emanated from the chicken which was in egg laying mode, of the way in which the rest of both flocks quietened down while she laid her egg, staying out in the run, letting her have her space in the hut, not bothering her.

And they, too, did quiet little clucks, even the Boss Ladies (the two brown hens belonging to Gang 2, the Dark Cockerel's girls), who think they are the queens of all and allow only themselves to poke their heads through the chicken wire of the run to nibble at the greenery still surrounding the run, the ground in the run  now having been made into bare earth by the  poking of fourteen beaks and the scratching of twenty eight feet. Soon, today actually, is the day the door to the run is opened. Today they meet the dogs. Today we may have less that twenty eight feet left to scratch in the floor of the run by the end of the day. But they must come out and explore the Courtyard and enjoy all that the evironment has to offer. This we must do for them so they have a good life.

And so I looked at the egg on the plate, and I thought of the effort which had gone into the laying of it, and my respect grew for that little bird which had given it to me. Forever after my awareness will stay, because I was with her all the way as she laid that egg, and with her when she yelled her joy at having released it into the world.
So when you have an egg on a plate in front of you, stop a moment and think of the origination of that egg. That it does not come from a box, but that it comes from another living being who has the same rights to a good life as we do, which will actually make the eating of the egg all the better for you. It did for me. It was a lovely egg. I knew where it had come from and shared in the excitement when it arrived, as did the rest of the girls. We all cheered, the chickens clucking loudly at speed and me hooraying!

Off out for a long dog walk now to tire Bools and Gus out, in the hopes that they will not be too enthusiastic about chasing the chickens later on. They are good boys, and will learn, that I am sure of, although I am equally as sure that there are likely to be a few ruffled feathers as they do so!

Things I have learnt: that food tastes better when one has been involved in the process of its creation.


Diane said...

Certainly food for thought!! I am sure though it tasted so much better than the ones out of a box :) Diane

Ken Devine said...

That was so funny Vera. It obviously was quite an occasion. You should be very proud...smallholder supreme!

I'm sure the dogs will coexist with them just nicely.
What do you do with the excess eggs?

Vera said...

Diane, it sure did.

Ken:) Excess eggs? Will let you know once I get an excess! Will search the Internet for ideas meanwhile.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
Sounds as though you will be getting a lot of pleasure from your girls, as well as a lot of eggs. I didn't know that there were Limousin chickens, but Google says that they are blue/ black and their feathers are sought - after for use in fishing flies, so an all round useful bird!
Best wishes,

Vera said...

Ondine:) I looked on Google as well, and the photos posted up for the Limousin chickens hardly resembles our two girls at all! Ours have creamy feathers with spots of dark in them, but lovely dark heads. Methings probably crosses and not true bloods, but heck! They are lovely fluffy bottomed girls and we are glad to have them here!

Roz said...

So glad you are enjoying your hens Vera - lovely creatures. A local french lady freezes her eggs when she has a glut, apparently they are fine and don't need to be cooked first.
We tend to sell ours (cheaper than free range in the supermarket) to our chicken-free friends and they give us a donation to the chicken food fund. Works for everyone and by the size of your flock I think you will need to find some customers!!

DUTA said...

It's great to witness Creation as you did. No wonder you have respect for the egg and for the hen that has given it birth.

I like your use of 'boys' for the dogs, and 'girls' for the chickens. It shows your 'parental' love for them.

Anonymous said...

Pity that I don't live near you Vera, I'd definately be a customer for your eggs!!

Vera said...

Thanks Duta. We try to care for our animals, and are on a steep learning curve as we do so.

Ondine, would love to share our eggs with you, but at the moment are only managing two a day from our flock. Would still share, though.

Vera said...

Roz, sorry your email didn't show up until today. That lady that freezes the eggs - are they still in the shell? As for selling the eggs: we wouldn't charge a lot either, but we are only in receipt of two eggs a day off our girls so long way to go before we have a glut!

Roz said...

yes Vera - in the shell. Bizzare eh!!

The Accidental Author said...

I had some beautiful Marans when we lived in France. We've just decided to start henkeeping here and have just bought two gorgeous Buff Orpingtons and got a free lemon cuckoo bantam cockerel thrown in. He's just learnt to crow. Bless!

Vera said...

Prev(Lost): I caught up with your news when I read your blog, but didn't have time to post a response. Now we are into our third week of chicken-keeping I am so addicted to the little creatures that I find it hardly any wonder at all that you have decided to get another flock going. I am a chicken-addict, and it looks like you are the same!