A pleasant surprise

“Mom, you just can’t kill Oreo!” my middle son gasped.

“I didn’t say I was going to kill her,” I calmly replied.

“You said that if she didn’t start producing, she would be gone,” my son stated barely above a whisper.

I didn’t know he overheard his dad and me or knew what I was talking about, but then again he has grown up on our farm and knows what happens when animals stop producing. He has even helped butcher meat birds, but they were not our beautiful Barred Plymouth Rock hen, aptly named Oreo for her black and white plumage.

“Ok, you are right. I would need to butcher her. But a laying hen that does not lay is only a waste of feed,” I countered. “And we could make some incredible flys with her feathers.”

W is such a fishing fanatic, I can only hope to divert this conversation.

“We can buy the feathers and keep Oreo.”

“We will see what happens, but can’t keep feeding a bird that is not laying.”

I can tell I have struck a nerve as he starts to get sassy. “How do you know Oreo is the one not laying? Are you at the coop 24/7?” He challenges.

“Don’t get sassy. I know she is not laying because she is the only one with perfect feathers and no signs the rooster is trying to breed. Roosters always try to breed unless the hen is not laying.”

“Oreo, please start laying.” He has decided he has more of a chance convincing the chicken to lay than to change my mind.

I end the conversation with, “we‘ll see what happens.”

The next day, I see an egg not in the boxes, but in the mud as I move the chicken tractor to a new location. As lifted the egg out of the mud, I am surprised it is not cracked. As I wiped it in the grass, I have to smile. W’s wish is granted – Oreo has started to lay.

PS. This is a rendition of how the conversation with my chicken loving boy went over the period of about a week. These are the eggs I got from our chicken tractor coop that is a part of our afterschool program and a favorite spot at our elementary schools. What I learned when completing this post is that I was wrong about barred rock’s egg color. Oreo has likely been laying all along as we have had brown with darker spots eggs for sometime. The mystery is where this almost white egg came from because all of my chickens produce browns! More slices on our chickens to follow!

Eggs from our school chicken coop and our first white one.

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