I well recall the first egg laid by our pet chicken, Harold, ---OK, we were ignorant back then--- in Belgium. It was oddly wet and oblong in shape. We urged Harold to try harder, and so she did--the next egg was eggish. A desultory layer, she did bring forth a few, though never with the vigor and consistency of her non-science experiment sisters. ( Harold triumphantly survived a first grade egg-hatching project, but always walked with a limp.) Nonetheless, she did her best and we were thrilled at her output.
Most newbies to the great world of hens and eggs are similarly delighted. John, one of the Summit Springs Farmers, recently wrote:
"So, every Monday morning, I give the and the chicken's food and water dishes a thorough scrubbing. This morning, I got the dishes done and fed the excited chickens before opening up the back hatch of the coop to clean up the laying boxes and put down a fresh layer of bedding (shredded paper and wood shavings mixed together)...and there in one of the boxes was a single small brown egg! The very first! A bit later in the morning, I checked again and found that 2 more eggs had appeared, and later, one more still (making a total of 4 and enabling a proper breakfast for Sonya and me tomorrow.) Yeehaw!
I am excited and feel like a proud parent. We got our hens back in March when they were less than 2 days old, and now, they're laying! Go, ladies, go!"
While the first egg story took place on a Belgian fermette and the second on a farm in Maine, apparently the US is now seized with a growing "urban chicken movement." Two Albuquerquians have started the website urbanchickens.org. A California site has this: Chickens in the City. And there's Urban Chickens, a blog, and The Urban Chicken.
For the finest book we know on these birds, try The Chicken Book, by Page Smith, a classic.
(Actual Albuquerque city dwellers pic thanks to http://dukecity.ning.com/group/abqurbanchickens.)