Sunday, April 13, 2003

Saturday afternoon, a cotton boll sky
at El Rancho

Sometimes we have as many as twenty eggs in the refrigerator, especially now that we cannot share them and Grandpa hasn't been home to eat them. Other times we have only two or three eggs accumulated. When we have six or eight eggs I feel a certain amount of comfort. More than five eggs means there are enough eggs to feed the boys, or fix a big recipe, and not be short.

Lately I have been watching egg production closely. Low production is one of the indicators of Exotic New Castle Disease, and since it is deadly, contagious and prevalent, we are definitely on the look out for symptoms and indicators. I have a sad suspicion that they are generally laying fewer eggs overall. Peak production is 3 eggs a day. Sometimes we only get 2. But since last week we have had some 1 egg days, and that has me nervous.

I wouldn't be disappointed if they stopped laying eggs all together. My affection for the Chicas goes way beyond eggs. Just listening to them is reason enough to feed, shelter and protect them. And when I can watch them spread their wings in the dust, chase their lunch on the fly, or follow Alex for a pill bug hunt, I am thoroughly delighted. No eggs is no problem, but the disease is, and the words of the USDA people weigh heavily upon my heart. If my Chicas really are going to be struck down in their prime, I will be very sad.

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