Eggs, eggs, and more eggs

Chicks. Pullets. Laying hens. Roosters.

The chickens arrived at our farm as “day old chicks” in the spring. It’s still chilly in Wisconsin then and head lamps suspended in the brooder shed (small tight building, ours was movable via skids).
They ate, drank, and grew. Yellow down was replaced with white feathers. They got over their panic and didn’t go fleeing into a corner (sometimes smothering their companions) each time the door was opened or a car drove past.
Soon we could tell the roosters from the hens by the size and shape of their coombs. We ordered all hens, but determining the sex of a chick a few days before hatching is not a perfect science (and we owned a frying pan).
By autumn the hen became pullets and began to lay eggs. This was the product our family was interested in. We gathered eggs several times a day. Most were in the nests we provided, but a few were in other favorite places in the chicken coop.
Every day or two we washed and packed them. Of course, the more hens we had that year meant more eggs to gather, wash, pack, and store for the Saturday morning trip to the buyer. We had a lot of hens. The most was the year we had 600. We were thankful for our egg washer that year. It was a counter top machine that we hooked up to the water supply – utility room sink. A long brush rotated on the top. A rubber coated auger moved the eggs along on the bottom.
My brother and I often worked the job together. Putting eggs into the washer. Then removing the clean eggs and packing them into the cases.
A case held 30 dozen. A corrugated cardboard divider separated the two “stacks” of lighter cardboard flats and uprights. Six by six in a layer. Then a new flat and upright to pack the next.
Thirty dozen equals three hundred and sixty eggs. Most weeks we transported five cases to the buyer, sometimes six. One thousand eight hundred eggs — touched by human hands to gather, place in washer, remove from washer and place in case.

We needed the protein in the cracked, checked, and rejects to maintain our strength!!!

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