Left shell-shocked by Sophia LaHen

It's a cracker: Jo with the giant egg
It's a cracker: Jo with the giant egg
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Shell-shocked. An apt description.

That’s eggs-actly how we felt on Friday night when we reached into our hen coop to retrieve the day’s offerings, only to discover the little beauties we were anticipating dwarfed beyond all eggs-pectation by one monster brown egg.

One of our girls had gone and produced something so big, you could make an omelette for four with it. No yolking, it looks like a small dinosaur’s.

Egg-citedly, we took the big, brown orb’s vital statistics; it’s an eye-watering three and a quarter inches long and almost eight inches in circumference. We’ve even weighed it – it’s an eighth over 6oz, at least triple the average.

Egg-statically, I started Googling, just in case we’d got a record-breaker and would have to contact Guinness. And I discovered that eggs of such magnitude are rare enough to land their owners publicity in national newspapers. Matilda in Ipswich whose egg was a whopping 8.3 inches in circumference got in the Mirror.

Damn it, Matilda had beaten us on size. But never mind the width, feel the quality, I urged Bloke; with parental pride we noted our egg was almost two ounces heavier. Same thing with Harriet of Southend’s mammoth 4.5 inches long offering.... a poultry (sorry) 5.7oz, did it weigh.

I also read about poor Roberta in New York, who delivered a five-ouncer then promptly died, but decided not to dwell on that and put “Guinness Book of Records; world’s heaviest chicken’s egg” into the search field. Our hopes of fame and fortune were smashed, though – the biggest weighed a mega 12 oz!

You’d think you’d be able to tell from which of our brood of five did whence the monster come. That having delivered what to a human would be a 24lb child, she would be either bow-legged and grimacing or lying in the corner in a state of shock, waiting for someone to bring her a card and a bunch of grapes and stick her throbbing nether regions in a salt bath.

But no; every single hen is strutting normally.

We suspect it’s Sophia LaHen’s, though, as she’d been acting oddly all week. We kept finding her squatting in the nesting box, looking up at us with beseeching eyes, urging us not to shift her off a stack of eggs well on their way to poaching in their own shells.

We had started fretting. A broody hen vainly trying to hatch a nest of chicks can sit there for weeks, months, even though nothing is ever going to happen because she has no cockerel.

Sophia, we theorised, was the avian equivalent of a Sex and The City single thirtysomething, rampant hormones fuelling a desperate desire to reproduce. I felt a rush of empathy; that was me 14 years ago.

But then, hours later, she would be outside scratching for corn kernels again. Obviously, she’d spent all week trying to get that darned thing out. Even though she’s not a record-breaker, I’m thinking perhaps a whole new career beckons for Sophia. In America she could produce super-sized eggs to go sunny-side-up on their super-sized breakfasts. Go west, LaHen, go West...