A female chicken is known as a pullet for the first year of her life. Afterwards, she is called a hen. Various breeds begin to lay at different ages, some as early as four and a half months while others can take six months or more. We currently are awaiting the first chalk-white egg from our Dorking hen and she was hatched last March! She's quite the late bloomer.
When a young pullet begins to lay, her eggs are small due to her bone structure and they can be rather challenging to find. As we like to say she is just learning her 'way about the nest box.' We've even had some to lay while sitting on the roost which has resulted in more than one egg breaking from the fall to the ground! Her body is just figuring out how to do what it was designed for and as time passes, both it and she begin to straighten things out. As the season progresses, her bones begin to shift and the egg size gradually increases making pullet eggs a special treat which come only once in a chicken's life.
A few interesting points about eggs:
The color of the egg shell relates only to the breed of chicken and there is absolutely no difference in flavor or nutrition as the color is only on the outside of the shell. Taste and nutrition are a result of the overall health and diet of the hen as is yolk color which can and frequently does change over the course of the year on our farm with the varying availability of seasonal vegetation and bugs.
Some interesting stories concerning yolk pigment:
One guy performed an experiment and fed his chickens a large amount of red chili peppers for an extended period of time. (No harm ever came to the birds as they lack the ability to taste the heat from the peppers. Herbalists around the world know that cayenne pepper is a natural anti-parasitic for poultry and is commonly used to treat Blackhead in turkeys.) He quickly became known at his market by his red yolks!
The yellow pigment in corn also deepens yolk color. In some areas of Africa, it is much more common to grow a white variety of corn. The yolks from their hens tend to be very pale, almost white, despite free ranging. All because of the color of the corn they're fed.
Many commercially produced feeds contain extracts from marigolds or chemical dye's to 'enhance' yolk color and the latter is the standard in commercial egg production. As these confinement hens are denied access to grasses and bugs (including those raised on certified, organic farms- another story for another entry), without those additives, commercially produced yolks would be white!
So, what makes the eggs from Walk Ahead Farms different? The rich yolks are 'au naturel'. We do not use any chemical inputs to deepen the color and all of our poultry grazes the land in the open air while consuming bugs to their heart's content. Just as their Creator intended. We allow our birds to live a peaceful life in a natural setting while eating highly nutritious, freshly mixed feed without medicines, antibiotics, animal by-products and empty calories from fillers. This in addition to an unlimited diet of fresh grasses, weeds and bugs. Yep. These are the things that set apart the eggs from Walk Ahead Farms.