Many people just go to the store and buy their eggs, crack them open and eat them. Today I want to share some interesting facts about the Incredible Edible Egg!
So which came first the egg or the chicken? Well I believe God created the chicken and henceforth came eggs, but that’s just what I think. Your next door chicken might have a different story.
Lets clear the air first, you do not need a Rooster in order to get eggs. Many backyard flocks don’t ever see a rooster and they may be happier for it! Some roosters can be obnoxious and annoying not only to your neighbors but also to your happy hens.
A chicken has a set number of eggs inside her body, just like women. Once those are gone she will no longer lay, this of course will be years after her first egg is laid. Having a rooster with your flock just ensures you’ll have fertilized eggs if and when you’d like to hatch chicks. Even then the egg must be incubated either under a chicken or in a incubator at around 99.5-99.9 degrees for a few days before it can actually start to develop. After 21 days of being at that temperature and about 75% humidity, daily rotation of the eggs you’ll see a tiny chick hatch! However, I normally let my hens do all the work, they enjoy it and it’s much easier when it comes time to integrate the chicks into the flock!
Right now I have a stash of fertilized eggs sitting on my counter, no matter how long they sit there they’ll never grow an egg. If you want to wait to gather several eggs to hatch yourself you can delay development by putting your eggs in cartons and keep them around 50-60 degrees and they’ll last for up to 7 days and have no effect on the embryo. Make sure the end with the air sac is pointing up!
Another interesting fact, if you have farm fresh eggs, they do NOT need to be refrigerated. Store bought eggs go through a washing process which takes off the bloom that protects the egg. Once the bloom is gone bacteria can get inside. Fresh farm eggs still have their bloom, and as long as you don’t wash them they’ll stay good for several weeks! In fact, if you catch a hen laying her egg, the second after it’s laid you’ll notice it’s wet and shiny, and it almost immediately dries. This shiny wet layer is the bloom! I do usually wash my eggs if they have dirt or poop on them, but I wait until right before using them.
If you haven’t ever seen or tasted a fresh egg before I hope someday soon you’ll get the chance to find some! Many say once you’ve had fresh you can’t go back. Why is that? An egg is an egg still right? They are all made the same way, right? Technically they are made the same way but what goes into them is totally different. Chickens that produce the eggs in stores are given the same diet day in and day out. Even if they aren’t in a cage, they are usually in a small enclosure still eating the same diet. Store bought eggs have a much lighter yellow yolk, and I believe you can taste the difference.
Even when baking, many times in my breads and pie crusts after it’s cooked, I can see streaks of dark brown/yellow from the eggs I’ve used. This is because the yolks from my eggs are so incredibly dark. Why is that? There are many factors, one of the big ones is diet! Many free range chickens eat lots of plants, which contain carotenoids. Carotenoids, by definition is any class of mainly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, including carotene, which give color to plant parts.
This statement given by Dr. Brown explains it best. Carotenoids act as antioxidants within the body, protecting against cellular damage, the effects of aging, and even some chronic diseases. Follow the link below to learn more about the benefits from carotenoids!It’s pretty amazing.
So farm fresh eggs get the darkened yolk from their diet. The darker their yolk the healthier the chicken! I strive to have eggs that are not only hard shelled, but have a dark orange yolk. My hens have a very wide diet, they have all the forage they could want, lots of insects and an occasional mouse (they are very good mouse hunters). They also get scraps from my kitchen like fruit peelings, veggies, breads and pastas and even cooked meat! It’s important to me to have healthy birds that feed my family healthy eggs, and I know what I’m getting every time I crack one open and see that wonderful dark yolk!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about eggs and how great they are, there is so much more to talk about on this topic so I plan on doing a Part 2 of the Incredible Edible Egg, so stay tuned!
-The Clucky Hen