Homegrown eggs are one of the major perks of keeping chickens. But it’s interesting how quickly you encounter everything that can (and will) go wrong.
Especially when it comes to those homegrown eggs.
Things chickens lay
My girls are good layers. Two of them started at 5 months (early) and the third started at 9 months (late).
In the beginning, we got a couple of “rubber eggs.” These are eggs with with shells so soft you can jiggle them.
But recently, we’ve had a new round of egg-ventures.
From the start, the chickens have been good about using the laying boxes. But last week, I found an egg under the trailer in the chicken yard. A day later, I found an egg on the ground next to the trailer. Then I found an egg under the coop loft (the laying boxes are in the loft).
The strangest egg of all was the one I found on the back porch—with absolutely no shell.
The yolk’s on me!
But one thing that’s pure fun and not at all alarming is when a chicken lays an egg with a double yolk. It’s fairly easy to spot—the egg is significantly longer than your chicken’s average egg.
And when you whip one of these up into scrambled eggs or an omelette, talk about rich flavor!
What can go right with homegrown eggs
So much then, for what can go wrong. The rightness of keeping chickens in your backyard far outweighs in favor of those homegrown eggs:
- You control the quality of the egg. What you feed your chickens directly influences what they feed you. You want organic eggs? Feed your chickens organic chicken feed. If you let your girls free-range, they will supplement that good feed with bugs, worms and grass. (Mine get supervised play time usually early morning and again late afternoon.)
- You can’t get fresher than backyard to kitchen. If you buy eggs at a grocery store, even a health food grocery store, they’re going to be sitting somewhere in a supply line generally about 2 weeks from the farm until they reach you. Sometimes more.
- Fresh, unwashed, homegrown eggs don’t have to be refrigerated. When a chicken lays an egg, it comes with a natural protective coating that keeps out bacteria. Washing that egg removes the coating. Commercially sold eggs are always washed, which is why you have to keep them in the fridge. Brush off any dirt or grime, and keep the eggs on the kitchen table or counter.
If you’ve considered getting chickens, don’t do it to save money. Do it for quality eggs. Or even better, do it because chickens make great pets—especially if you socialize them well when they’re young. Then you can think of them as I do: pets with benefits!
– Su Falcon, Editor in Chief
The Dirt on Organic Gardening Magazine