When I took the plunge and got a small flock of chickens a year ago, I was thinking I was pretty smart to get different breeds and colors of chickens, so I could easily tell them apart and also identify their eggs. Turns out, I can tell them apart just great, but the egg thing remains a puzzle. My black chicken, Gert, who is a Black Australorp and quite the “boss lady” of the flock, lays huge dark brown eggs. But now the youngest one, Bebe,just started laying this week.

She is a classic New Hampshire Red and quite the beauty. She is a big girl. She makes me laugh because she’s still saying a high “peep, peep” all the time. Her eggs are also dark brown and as big as Gert’s. If I take off my yellow glasses and see the two dark brown eggs side by side in natural light, Bebe’s have a slight mauve hue in the brown. Then yesterday, Gert laid a really dark, copper-colored brown egg that I bet is a double. So I was not expecting the colors to vary. Forget identifying the eggs of the other two chickens. Penny is a Speckled Sussex and her eggs are light brown. Elsa is a Golden Laced Wyandott and hers are light brown, too. I am perpetually baffled which of them is laying. Neither is laying every day. I really enjoy having chickens. I have wanted to do this for years. They are endlessly entertaining us with the goofy things they do and their tight little social network together. And the eggs are fantastic. I’m just never more than 50 percent sure whose eggs they are.