I had some potatoes that had gotten soft and wrinkly, so this afternoon I decided to cut them up and give the chickens a treat. They get to scratch around the yard for snacks all day, but they get REALLY excited when they get treats from the house. Here's one of the Golden Polish girls who found a piece of potato... (I like how the sunshine was filtering down through the tree into the chicken yard, too...)
On my recent post about farm fresh eggs there were some good questions asked, so I thought I'd respond to those here.
Q: Please tell us if these eggs taste different from the eggs the rest of us get from our grocery store.
A: Yes, farm fresh eggs to taste different than your typical white grocery store eggs. The yolk of a store bought egg is pale yellow compared to a farm fresh egg. And the flavor of a store bought egg is more mild than a farm fresh egg. The difference is caused by the chicken's diet. A chicken fed strictly a corn diet will lay eggs with a pale yellow yolk, and mild flavor. Chickens with a balanced diet of greens and protein will have eggs with a brighter yolk and richer flavor. It's hard to explain, but yes, there's a difference. If you're not able to buy farm fresh eggs from a local farmer, I encourage you to buy organic, cage-free or pasture-raised eggs. Not only are the hens providing those eggs being raised in better conditions, they're also fed a more balanced diet, which results in a better tasting egg. Sure, they're more expensive...but I think they're worth it.
Q: From the wide variety of chickens you have, do any of the eggs (whites or yolks) taste differently or cook/bake differently?
A: The only difference I notice with the variety of our hen's eggs is the egg size. The flavor and baking results don't change.
Q: Have you thought about blowing the eggs out of the shell when you make something and then saving the shells?
A: Yes, but haven't done it yet. I remember blowing out egg shells when I was a kiddo, though!
Q: Do the hens lay an egg a day? More?
A: Most chickens in "prime" laying condition will lay one egg every 26-36 hours. But there are a lot of things that can effect that as well. Like their breed, weather, food & water intake (quality and amount), health, and light.
Q: How do you store the eggs, either before you sell them, or while you're gathering a dozen of the same.
A: Every time I'm in the chicken yard and I see an egg, I bring it in the house. I collect about a dozen first thing in the morning, and then throughout the day will gather others depending on when the hens lay them. Once in the house, the eggs go into a bowl where they sit while I sort them. I check all of the eggs for any areas that need to be cleaned up with a damp cloth. I keep the nest boxes very clean with pine wood chips, so this is a quick process. Once they're all checked over and I've ensured they're good and clean, all of the eggs get put in cartons according to size and color and then put into the refrigerator, ready to eat or sell. If I don't have an even dozen, I keep the "spares" in a carton that gets pulled out the following day -- there's usually enough to complete the dozen from the previous day. Dirty eggs (sometimes a hen will lay in the chicken yard instead of in a nest box) get cooked up for Rover, the stray dog.
Q: Do you always group them w/ other eggs from same hen? Is that the typical way to sell eggs?
A: I don't usually group them by "hen", but I do tend to group them by size and color. The olive colored eggs from Olive Oyle are the exception. *grin*
Q: (via email) I get eggs from a local Amish family. I quite often get quite a few double yolkers. What makes this happen?
A: Occasionally a hen's ovulation cycle is too quick, and the result is typically a double-yolker egg. This is another example of what can occur when a young hen's egg laying track works out the kinks!
Q: (via email) As for the olive eggs, I would probably put them up and save them forever. They are lovely. Can they be dyed at Easter? How does the existing color affect the dyes?
A: Yes, I suppose they could be dyed, but I think they're pretty enough on their own. I imagine any dye that is put over the green shell would have a bit of green tint to it. I doubt they'd be very "pretty", like white dyed eggs are.
And you can read even MORE chicken related posts under the category Poultry, in the categories list on the right.