The chicken who laid those eggs for your nutritious breakfast may have been white, brown, black, tan, even blue or lavender in color, but whatever her color, she had a lot in common with every other hen. She was pre-programmed with the ability to lay a specific number of eggs during her egg-laying years. The number totals about 4,000! Let’s see, if you (or I, or any one person, really) is in the habit of eating two eggs every morning, oh, let’s say we start at age twelve. And, if we live to be 90 years old, we’ll have eaten 56,940 eggs.
In other words, that’s one person eating all the pre-programmed eggs of more than fourteen hens! That’s not even counting the eggs we eat that are added to many other foods. That puts a whole new perspective on the importance of the mighty chicken, doesn’t it? Of course, we all take a few days off and eat a different menu item occasionally, but we still rely a whole lot on the amazing egg.
Hens lay an average of 180 eggs each year. The average age that a pullet starts laying eggs is five months, and her first eggs are very small. The process of laying one egg takes approximately 24 hours, then starts all over again. Yet, hens (those who make up backyard flocks, anyway) go about their business scratching for bugs and worms, taking part in “hen parties’, cackling and taking dust baths, and sleeping on their perch… to them, the miracles taking place within their bodies are just “all in a days work”. Their “vacations” occur during the molting season, which is actually quite stressful to them, during the dark winter months, and after they’ve already laid all of the eggs they were pre-programmed with.
Historians say human beings have been relying on the nutrition of chicken eggs for centuries. Scientists tell us eggs are nature’s most perfect food, and they come in perfect packages, too. The way the eggshell is shaped gives it the strength needed for the hen to be able to “set” on it for 21 days until it hatches. Of course, for that to happen, it has to be ‘fertile’, which is the primary focus of the male of the species, the regal rooster. Some people think if they’re eating fertilized eggs, they’re getting added nutrition, but that’s been proven not to be the case. In urban areas, people who raise chickens don’t usually keep any roosters due to legal restrictions, but they’re pretty special animals, too.
Chickens, in addition to providing our nutritional needs also make great pets. If you haven’t considered raising a flock of your own yet, it’d be well worth it… Go ahead, check it out.