At the end of the day, when my hubby and I are sharing details of the hours passed, a question that always arises is, “Was it a three egg day?” Whether the answer is yes or no, we typically head to the fridge and check out the days deliveries.
We speculate as to why each egg has changed it’s shade or shape or speckles. We hold them, weight them, inspect them…and then eat them. A “3 egg day” means that every hen has done her duty for the day. We have 3 hens…hence only 3 eggs. Hens lay an egg about every 26 hours. Every 4 to 7 days they take a rest. Laying decreases in the winter, not because it’s cold, but because there is less light. Some hens stop laying altogether. In fact, the light absorbed through the hens eye stimulates certain hormones to be released that encourage laying. This is mother natures way of making sure chicks are reared in warmer weather, which increases chances of survival. We’ve got a light bulb rigged out in our coop, therefore hormones are being stimulated, eggs are being plopped out.
In fact, our Austrolorp has been going steady for about 14 days now. Her breed is known for that. The record being 364 eggs in 365 days. Wowza. That hen deserves a treat.
Fresh eggs are to die for. It is so much fun to reach into a nesting box and wrap my hands around a warm freshly laid egg. We love giving away eggs as a special treat for family and friends. In case you’re wondering why on earth fresh eggs are such a treat, let me share with you what I’ve learned about eggs. If you’re ever considering starting your own flock, you will find some of these tidbits very interesting.
Why are shells different colors? Each breed will lay a specific colored egg. This is not effected by what they’ve eaten and the color of the shell does not determine what the quality of the egg is. It’s simply a marker of breed. Every egg is actually white initially. Different breeds produce different pigments which effect the color in the process of formation. A chicken will lay a white egg if it’s earlobes are white. If the earlobes aren’t white or very pale but are red or pinkish, it will lay a colored egg.
Do they taste different from store eggs? Similar, but different. Better. I think the yolk of fresh eggs has a stronger flavor. When you compare a factory egg and farm fresh egg, the first thing you’ll notice is the color of the yolk. Fresh yolks are deep gold in color.
Are fresh eggs better for you than factory eggs? Simply and utterly, yes! That deep gold color of the yolk is a sign that it is packed with nutrients. Farm and backyard flocks are able to eat a better diet then in a factory. My hens eat worms, grass, fruit, leaves, little bugs, veggies, flowers, you name it! They also get a wide range of special treats from me. When they lay particularly large eggs, I reward them with a little oatmeal for their hard work. When it’s a little windy outside, I throw some sliced apples in their run to keep them busy pecking and scratching out of the elements. Usually fresh eggs are harder to crack because the shells are strong (A weekly dose of plain yogurt is a good way to get nice strong eggs).
Should you wash fresh eggs? No! Fresh eggs have a natural coating that keeps microorganisms at bay. Don’t wash them unless you are just about to eat them.
If you are grabbing them straight from your backyard, they don’t need to be refrigerated. They have a shelf life of at least a few months if you put them right in your pantry. We don’t get many eggs and usually eat them up quick so we put our eggs in the fridge. You can actually freeze eggs as well! It’s a complicated thing to explain, so just go google it. You can tell how fresh your egg is by doing a water test. Plop your egg in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks, it’s really fresh. A week old egg will tilt up in the water and is still great. At two weeks old the larger end will point up in the water and is still fine. If the egg floats, it’s too old and is no good.
I’m often asked if keeping chickens is hard. The answer depends on two things: A. what you consider hard and B. If you will treat your chickens as pets. If the definition of hard to you would include it taking time, then yes. Keeping chickens takes time. You clean their space, feed them, make sure they have water, etc. But the work itself hard. The tasks are simple. If you consider your birds to be pets then it’s even more time-consuming. My hens are my pets. I spend time outside watching them, holding them and getting to know their unique personalities. I give them special treats, keep an eye on their health and do what I can to make them comfortable. It’s rewarding for me.
Plus, have you ever seen images of chickens who are kept in a factory? It’s disgusting and inhumane. Kept in a cramped cage or room its entire life, eating manufactured food, never seeing the light of day. No animal, regardless of IQ, should be treated in such a way. Plus chickens are a lot smarter than they get credit for. So if you buy store-bought eggs, as we had to during the holidays to keep up with my baking frenzy, buy free-range, organic eggs. It’s not just about how the animals are treated, it’s also about what you are putting into your body.
I guess I’m on my soap box and I don’t have plans to get down. So go eat some eggs.