Photo: Eric Weiss
All day, I dreamed of tofu meatballs with spaghetti. I drove home this afternoon thinking of them. As I did my afternoon chores, I picked the ingredients I needed. I watched the time—meatballs take a bit of extra preparation, and I’d have to start cooking dinner earlier than usual.
The time came, and I washed the vegetables and started to chop them.
And realised I didn’t have any eggs.
I couldn’t make meatballs without eggs—they’d never hold together.
It’s not a problem I usually have. I usually have more eggs than we can eat, and I have to come up with creative ways to use them.
But the chickens are on strike–my lovely hyline chickens that are supposed to lay for years…but only managed about 18 months before they were done. I thought, well, they’re just moulting…they’ll start laying again. Then I thought, well, it’s the middle of winter…they’ll start laying in spring. But, no, they are not going to lay again. They’ve retired already, much to my disappointment.
I have mostly had brown shavers before, and they are productive, but short-lived birds, and I was tired of “disposable” livestock. My attempts with heritage breeds died with the three expensive birds I bought years ago that came riddled with disease and died within weeks. So I was thrilled with the idea of the hylines—a ‘new’ breed with a longer lifespan than the shavers.
Ha. My last brown shaver laid eggs until she was 4 years old, but none of the hylines are still laying.
I have been trying to contact the local brown shaver breeder, but have had no luck, so I still don’t have a young flock on the way to point-of-lay.
And I still have no eggs.
I bagged the vegetables I had prepared and put them in the fridge. I went out to the garden and picked a different set of ingredients, and we had a lovely Indian charcharis instead.
And tomorrow I’m going to try calling another breeder. I may have to drive an hour to get my birds, but I need some new birds. Now.