Exploding eggs

Shortly after 6pm, I mixed the evening feed for the chickens, poured it into a bucket and walked around to the first of the chicken runs out on the hill.

I do the job day in, day out, which makes for a fairly sedate routine, even allowing for the odd cockerel attack.

Today was no different.

I walked through the free ranging hens, carefully flicking them left and right with my welly boots so as not to crush them underfoot. It’s the crofting equivalent of Moses parting the Red Sea as the hens haven’t twigged that it’s not a good idea to throw themselves beneath my feed as the rush for dinner.

The spare cockerels were fed first, as always causing a wave of frantic hens to wash over and around the run.

Next, the Johnny and his girls. Once again, the wave of free range hens surged up only to be thwarted, as ever, by the wire mesh.

The free range hens received their share, indulging in a frenzy of greedy pecking and squabbling to get the “best bits” as I scattered the feed beneath the trees.

Just the usual evening routine.

I left the main chicken area and headed out to the hill where we have an island of chickens amidst the pig runs. Psycho and his girls moved out there after their run flooded some weeks ago. The run is still sodden.

I walked along the track, past the hawthorn hedge and…

POP! POP-POP!

What?

I heard three distinct explosive pops, similar to the sound of a suppressed air rifle. Strangely, they came from beneath the hedge.

Puzzled, I walked over to have a look and…

Blech!

A stench that combined rotten fish, sulphur dioxide, rotten cabbage and urea grabbed hold of my nostrils, thrust itself down my throat, and clung on like dags on a sheep.

Resisting the urged to run for the Big Lad’s World War 2 gas mask, I leaned in closer for a look and discovered the remains of three, blown-apart eggs.

The contents, a frothing mix of grey, black and orange goop, hung in tendrils from the lower branches of the hawthorns.

A hen, or hens, must have laid the eggs some months ago. They’d sat there, fermenting away, building up pressure and waiting for the heavy vibrations of a stomping old galoot to split their ever weakening shells.

I beat a hasty retreat, still with the stench clinging to my face. So much for the daily routine.

Several hours later, after several washes and a lot of soap, it’s still there. Fainter than it was but still gross, revolting and sick-making.

Is there anything worse than the stench of exploding, fermented eggs?

11 Responses to “Exploding eggs”

  1. No absolutely nothing worse than addled egg. The smell makes me retch reflexively.

    As a child I collected eggs from all over my grandparents’ small farm and occasionally I would find a new hidden nest site. I soon learnt to be very wary of touching the eggs if the nest seemed abandoned. Happy days!

  2. Just thinking about it makes me gaggy. I too have had exposure to this sublime smell of pure nasty…

  3. My husband fantasizes about owning chickens, but we live in the suburbs. I’ll be sure to share this story with him. :)

  4. Haha. This reminds me of when my dad was trying different methods of removing the yolk from our emu eggs. I’m glad I was away at college when he attempted the leave-the-eggs-alone-in-the-cellar method. (I don’t mean to laugh at your experience. I’m laughing at my dad’s.)

  5. I once had some geese who laid great huge eggs. I despised the mean old things, and stole every egg I could find, lest they reproduce. My young son watched and helped – he was not quite four years old at the time. One day, I was cooking dinner when he proudly walked in ant=d said “I found you another egg, mom”! He carried an enourmous one which I could see was OLD, dirty, some crazing on the shell surface and… you guessed it… tripped just before he reached me. All over the kitchen floor was the goo you describe. I opened up the windows, put on my hazard suit, and fetched the bucket and scrub brush. Ewwwww. How completely vile. It has been many years and I still remember the aroma.

  6. Only thing which comes close is a skunk, which you don’t have in Scotland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk

  7. While I was using the front end loader to fill the manure spreader I hooked a plastic trash bag with what looked to be a pet pot belly sow and a litter of piglets. It had been buried in the manure pile for gosh only knows how long during a miserably hot 100*f summer. I’ve smelled rotten eggs before and that was worse, I have never thrown up that much before or since and it took days to get the reek out of my nose.

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