Friday, February 19, 2010

The Incredible Egg

(Hmmmm, I wrote up this post in February of 2009. In looking thru my Edit Posts, it seems like it got saved as a Draft and never did get published...strange...oh well, here it is!)

We Love Eggs! Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em.....and they're good for us too! Mother Earth News had a great article about free range eggs. Did you know eggs raised on pasture in general have:

1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fats
2/3 more Vitamin A
2 times more Omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more Vitamin E
7 times more Beta Carotene
Than store bought eggs, coming from confined chickens? Yes, true....head over to this link to read all about free range eggs.

If you place a regular store bought egg next to a farm egg, you can see the difference clearly! (I'd show ya, but of course I don't have store bought eggs)

The farm egg will have a brighter yolk (often more orange in colour) and the yolk will stand wayyyy Up on the plate.

Compare that with the flat pale yolk of a store bought egg.

The reason for the darker more vibrant colour in the yolk, is because the chickens are out there free ranging, eating lots of greens.

So, since tomorrow is Egg Day around here, I got them all washed up today. I'll pass them around tomorrow afternoon....

I Don't wash the eggs when I pick them up from the hen house. There is a natural bloom on the egg....if you have ever seen a hen lay an egg, you will notice the wet covering on the egg (it dries quickly tho!) That moist layer is called the "bloom". This helps preserve the egg.

I store all the eggs in our cold room. You don't need to store your eggs inside the fridge. Any cool place will do. (Don't store them on your counter!) Since we keep our cold room around 40 degrees, it works just fine. If it does get colder in there, I will lay a towel over the eggs. Eggs will easily last 2 months in the cold room.

To test the freshness of eggs, put them in a pan of water....if they float, they're too old. Feed those off to your dogs or back to your chickens. Just Cook them up first tho, you don't want to feed raw eggs to the hens, as it can lead to bad habits....yes, they LOVE eating raw eggs. Ever dropped an egg in front of your hens? Stand back!

I wash the eggs when they are ready to go out the door. Only the ones that Need washing get cleaned. I just use a cloth soaked in warm water, then wrung out well.

I don't sort my eggs either, some people do, but I don't bother....and no one has ever raised a complaint with that. The people get them in the same order I pull them out of the there's always a couple really big ones and usually one small one.

Then there are these.....
We don't know which hen lays these, but we call her Wavy....every day she lays an egg, and every day it has waves and ridges in the shell....frankly, I think that would hurt, but she never fails to give us an egg!

Another one of Wavy's eggs....


Some eggs are speckled, others have lighter lines running thru them....

Here's one of the best parts about our eggs. You CAN'T close the carton! That's how big some of these eggs are....and the carton they are sitting in is a Large Egg carton from the grocery store!

To transport them, I will put towels in between the egg cartons, to protect them from breaking. I can't stack them of course.

Free ranged hens raised on a farm in the fresh air, sunshine, chasing bugs - those are going to lay the Best eggs ever!

Get a rooster if you want to let some hens go broody and sit on eggs to raise chicks. We buy our chickens ready to lay, so we don't need a rooster.

We had one for awhile last year....damn thing! Not only did he crow at ALL hours of the day and night....he was way too rough with the girls. I mean no compassion at all. Seeing my hens going into winter with feathers missing, skin thank you! He went into the stew pot!

BTW, if you want to increase the Omega 3 content in your eggs, add some flax seed to your hens food....just a bit.

Oh, one more matter how tempted you are, don't pick up an egg and put it in your jacket pocket. Murphy's Law dictates that as SOON as you do this and walk away from the coop, you will find something that needs to be done, picked up, a weed pulled....something will happen to make you forget you have an egg in your pocket! Ask me how I know :)

If you've never had to either wash your jacket because of a broken egg....or heard it crack and try to whip it out of your pocket before it starts ooooozing....well, let's keep it that way!
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Aunt Krissy said...

That just backs up all that I read in a chicken book. I'm looking forward to getting chickens this spring!

ChristyACB said...

I say it at least one time a day that I can't wait to have chickens. Yet more reasons...and thanks for the great info!

pamela said...

Another great post Annie (I have always wished my mother had named me Annie or Anna). I am so excited about getting chickens.Thanks so much

Linda Foley said...

Have you had a shell-less egg yet Annie? They are caused from the chickens not getting enough calcium. It is very strange to see one and pick it up. Generally, having eggs that are to soft shelled is what causes chickens to start eating eggs.

I also feed my leftover eggs back to my chickens - they think they are a great treat!

I used to keep my fresh eggs on the counter for a few days, but we usually ate them up before they had a chance to go bad. Fresh 'farm' eggs are sooooo much better'n store bought! I can't wait to have some chickens again! Besides that I miss hearing the rooster crow in the morning (or any time of day really lol)

I save all my egg shells to feed back to my hens when I get some. I have been saving them for almost a year and have about half a grocery bag full of crushed shells. The shells are almost 100% calcium carbonate so they sure help in the cost of buying oyster shell.

I hope to have some chickens again this year, but not sure yet what will happen, but it's in the plans.

Annie said...

Krissy and Pamela, how many chickens are you getting?

Christy, one day hopefully you will! they are great!

Linda, yes i have had the shellless eggs, and wind eggs too (where there is no yolk)....


Jean Campbell said...

What a thoughtful, informative post!

The only thing I can think of worse than an egg in a pocket is a visiting child who is 'helping' who tosses the egg into the basket instead of carefully placing it.

Cincinnati Speech Therapy said...

Wow - lots of neat info - never realized how much better natural eggs are.

Sarah said...

I put an egg in my coat ONCE and forgot about it, leaned up against something, and POP! Oh no... Never again... Great post. Free-Range really are great for you!

Kellie said...

We are considering getting some young chickens this spring too. Ours are all getting old. When ours first started laying I was surprised by the bright yellow yolks and how the shells could be so different.

My daughter will ride her bike to the barn, put the eggs in her basket and ride the bike back to the house and ferry the eggs into the house in her shirt. I can't tell you how many eggs that have been donated to the cats or dogs with this method. Got so bad for a while there that I threatened to charge her a buck for each broken egg!

Anonymous said...

to get the same nice dark yellow yolks feed the chickens good quality hay this time of year.

why not give your daughter the chickens, chores and expenses/income from eggs?
a good way to learn.

Tim and Kari O'Brien said...

What a great post! We just picked up 25 little peepers from the postal exchange station in Medford today. They would have been delivered to Grants Pass tomorrow, but I am so glad we drove over to get them as they were born on February 19. The two day old Giant Black Jerseys, Delawares, and Americanas are adorable under the red light by the woodstove!
You always have such perfect timing with your posts!

Tim and Kari O'Brien said...

How many chickens do you have? What kind are they?


Crystal said...

So inspirational! I love seeing all your eggs! Can't wait till we get our chickens going

ponderthis said...

I love hearing about your chickens and your garden. Question, We have had our chickens for about a year. Ever so often the shells seem really thin, is there something I can give them other than oyster shell or the egg shells from the used eggs? Thanks!

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