Posts Tagged ‘homegrown eggs’

Before we had chickens, an egg wasn’t anything special to me.

I’d certainly bought and used a lot of them, and in more recent years, influenced by terrible accounts of battery hen farming, we’d made a concerted effort to only buy free range eggs.

But I’d never really given much thought to eggs, other than wondering whether or not there were enough in the fridge for my latest baking project. They’re relatively cheap and readily available, and as a result, I’d always taken them for granted.

It wasn’t until we finally had our own chickens that I came to appreciate how special and precious eggs really are. And whenever possible, and because we now can, I want to eat eggs from chooks I know.

Our hens do much more than just lay eggs – their primary function is actually to garden.  They dig up the spent beds, eat all the grubs and weeds, fertilise the soil, and then move onto the next patch.  The eggs are an added bonus!

Some of our chickens lay quite distinct eggs, and it always makes me happy to be able to match an egg to the chook who laid it!

Francesca’s eggs, for example, are always different from the rest, just as she is different from the rest of the flock.  They’re smaller, darker and always a little speckled.  I save these for my mum, because she loves the more petite size…

Bertha, on the other hand, lays the lightest coloured eggs, and occasionally the shell will be rough and quite pale.  We think she has a dodgy shell-gland, so her eggs aren’t usually as picture perfect as the others.   She has, on occasion, laid a shell-less egg, although she’s been in good form for months now…

Finally, it’s always easy to pick Queenie’s egg.  Our dominant hen rules the roost like a dictator, and will always insist on first pass at any protein that comes into the coop.  Her eggs are always the largest of the clutch, dwarfing Frannie’s little dark ones…

Every time I crack open one of our homegrown eggs, I feel a little wave of gratitude.  It’s like a tiny bubble of joy – I ponder whose egg it might be, admire the colour of the yolk, and think about how blessed I am to have something so fresh and magnificent to feed to my loved ones.

I know this all sounds like the ramblings of a chicken-obsessed madwoman.

I also know that it’s not possible for most people to have chickens, and I realise how incredibly fortunate we really are.

I hope though, that the next time you’re baking, you’ll spend a moment admiring the wondrousness of the humble egg, spare a thought for the chook who laid it, and thoroughly enjoy eating whatever you create with it!

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Debra of Bagni di Lucca and Beyond asked me recently how our chickens were travelling…

All six of our lovely ladies are very well – they’ve had two bed rotations since the previous post and are really enjoying their new position, which offers more shade than the previous spots.   Since the heatwave a month or so ago, they’ve been laying an average of five eggs a day, although today they delighted us with a full complement of six before lunchtime!  I rewarded them with leftover roast pork (free range of course, nothing but the best for our hardworking girls).

As a point of interest – the large egg at the front left was laid by Queenie, and the little dark speckled one to the right of it by Francesca.  Queenie continues to dominate the others, and always has first dibs at the higher protein food that goes into the enclosure, be it meat scraps or a wandering lizard.   Frannie on the other hand is the baby of the flock, and her delicate eggs reflect both her size and darker colouring.

I took the following video while we were making pickles – some of Di’s cucumbers were very large, so I removed the seeds prior to processing.  The chooks adore them, and I adore not having to throw them out!

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Our chickens have started laying.

Over the last couple of days, they’ve given us four little eggs.  They’re quite small – between 43 to 49 grams (yes, I weighed them), which is hardly surprising, since our girls are still very young.

Here’s one of them next to the standard 59g egg that we buy from the markets…

As I’m now chicken obsessed, I have, of course, been researching eggs.   I was interested to learn that there are two layers of albumin – a thick inner layer and a thinner outer one.  As the egg ages, the thick layer becomes watery and indistinguishable from the thin layer.

Our little eggs are so fresh that the thick albumin hasn’t started to break down at all.  This one was laid the day the photo was taken…

It made the most delicious poached egg.  Pete thinks the lovely golden yolk is a product of all the dandelions he’s been feeding the hens!

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