[Sca-cooks] Storing eggs through Lent, WAS Re: Hi again everyone!!!

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Fri Apr 3 22:20:57 PDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stefan li Rous" <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 11:40 PM
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Storing eggs through Lent,WAS Re: Hi again 

> Mistress Jadwiga commented:
> <<< The big trouble with eggs in Lent is that the hens have already 
> stopped
> laying, and the number of eggs they were laying in the winter was very
> diminished anyway, so you've probably used up most or all of your stored
> eggs. >>>
> I thought that hens mostly stopped laying eggs back in late fall or  early 
> winter. And would have started laying again during Lent. So  when did the 
> hens start laying again?
> And I am specifically thinking about within period, not today. With  the 
> years of genetic manipulation and constant, provided grain  supplies 
> instead of scrounging for bugs and such, I doubt there is  much 
> resemblance in the rate of today's egg laying to medieval times.  However, 
> I seem to remember that even today, egg laying does drop off  during the 
> winter. The amount and size of eggs today also does still  vary depending 
> upon the age of the hen.
> Stefan

Here's a start, Stefan.

"There seem to be naturally two periods of the year in which fowls 
lay,--early in the spring, and in the summer; and this fact would seem to 
indicate that, if left to themselves, like wild birds, they would bring 
forth two broods in a year.  The laying of hens continues, with few 
interruptions, till the end of summer, when the natural process of moulting 
causes them to sease.  This process, which is annual, commences about 
August, and continues through the three following months.  It is the 
constitutional effect which attends the beginning, continuance, and 
consequences of this period, which prevents them from laying.  This period 
is a very critical one, in the case of all feathered animals.  Until it is 
very close, when the entire coat of new feathers replaces the old ones, the 
wasting of the nutritive juices, which are yielded by the blood for the 
express purpose of promoting growth, is a great drain on the system.  It is 
easily understood, therefore, why the constitutional forces, which would 
otherwise assist in forming the egg, are rendered inoperative.  The approach 
of cold weather, also, at the close of the moulting period, contributes to 
produce the same effects.  As the season of moulting is every year later, it 
follows that the older a hen is, the later in the spring she will begin to 
lay.  As pullets, on the contrary, do not moult in the first year, they 
commence laying sooner than the older hens; and it is possible, by judicious 
and careful management, so to arrange, in a collection of poultry tolerably 
numerous, as to have eggs throughout the year."   John C. Bennett, The 
Poultry Book, 1851.

"While few hens are capable of hatching more than 15 eggs, and are incapable 
usually of sitting more than twice a year, frequent instances have occurred 
of hens laying three hundred eggs annually, while two hundred is the average 
number.  Some hens are accustomed to lay at longer intervals than others. 
The habit of one variety is to lay once in three days only; others lay every 
other day, and some produce an egg daily.  A hen exhibited at the American 
Institute, in 1843, was reported to lay two eggs per diem, and Aristotle 
mentions a breed which laid as often as three times a day."  John C. 
Bennett, The Poultry Book, 1851.


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