Friday, November 21, 2008

In Praise of Eggs

In a previous post An Egg! I said there would be time for larger eggs and more colorful eggs. That time has definitely come! Right now, we are averaging between eight and ten eggs a day, and each one is more lovely than the last.

Here's a recent sampling.



The speckled one and the dark, dark brown one are from Cuckoo Marans. The blue, green, and olive green (my favorite) are from the Ameraucanas. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly who is giving us the pale pink eggs.

Most of the eggs weigh in at a standard "medium" weight, but what they lack in size, the certainly make up for in color.

We did go through a short spell of double eggs. These weren't ordinary double yolked eggs, they were completely double--double yolk and double white. Essentially, there were two separate eggs in the one shell. Here's an image of one of the blue doubles.


And for comparison, here's a medium sized speckled one:


The speckled ones are interesting, too. You can feel the little specks, and if you examine them carefully....sheesh...examining eggs...I really need to get off the farm more often, don't I? Anyway, when you examine the specks, you can feel that they are raised. In effect, they are little globs of dark brown stuck all over the egg.

With so many eggs, we have instituted a new rule: All visitors must take eggs. It doesn't matter whether you want them or not--you can't leave without them. The UPS man was a bit taken aback by the new rule, but when I explained how Bessie the Rottweiler felt about the situation, he suddenly developed a craving for fresh eggs.



OK. The truth is the UPS man was thrilled with the eggs, but that doesn't sound half as interesting, does it? And it doesn't give me a chance to include an image of Old Bess.

Here are a few things I've learned from my chickens:

  • Gathering eggs never gets old. From the last day of September when I found the very first egg through to yesterday afternoon when I found the 372nd one, it's always a thrill to find some eggs in the nest boxes.

  • It pays to buy good stock at the beginning. I ordered my flock from Ideal Poultry and couldn't be happier with them. They are big and healthy, and I only lost one a couple of days after they arrived.

  • I can eat quiche for lunch for three weeks in a row. To clarify this isn't the same quiche--same recipe, but not the same quiche.

  • There is no such thing as an ordinary egg. It doesn't matter whether it's tan or brown or blue or green, speckled or solid--every egg is as special and unique as the hen who laid it. The variety of color, texture, size and shape never ceases to amaze me.

  • Chickens are hardy and forgiving. This is my first flock and therefore very much a learning experience. They have suffered through my experiments with feed, lighting schedules, and everything else without a single incident.

  • There are few things that feel as nice in your hand as an egg that's so fresh it's still warm. Not only does it fit neatly into the palm of your hand, there's something about the texture and weight that makes it feel very precious.

  • One of the best things in the morning is to hear the hens singing their Bok-Bok-Ba-Bok laying songs. Like finding eggs, this never gets old. It's a sweet little confirmation that everything's ok.

  • And finally, a rooster can serve many purposes. Not only does Idiot wake up the flock in the mornings, he alerts them to any perceived threats such as hawks and high flying aircraft. He helped a hen who had gotten out of the run find her way back, and in one very unusual situation, he even came to the aid of an egg-bound hen. (As this is a G-rated blog, I'm afraid you'll just have to use your imagination on that last one.)

38 comments:

  1. Pam,
    It's great to see your post - it's been some time and I've been wondering about you :)
    Your eggs are beauties....your girls are really doing great. I found my first egg from my new girls two days ago, now I'm checking all the time. I was sooooo excited!
    Hope all is well -

    Debi

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  2. Good to hear from you again! I guess you've been working overtime with Maa-maat ;-)
    Very nice picture; the more you all show pictures of eggs the more I want chickens.

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  3. My pink eggs come from Morgan, the grey/gold Easter Egger. Interesting; I get the same range of dark brown to speckled eggs from my Welsummer. The "chocolate-eggers" must just do that -- not get the pigment mixed up well sometimes! Do you ever find yourself wishing for a white-egg layer, just for contrast? But seven hens is a good number for us, so I will be content (VERY) with what we get from our lovely, talkative girls (and be perfectly happy without a rooster!).

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  4. My Barr Rocks (Plymouth Rocks) lay a very light pinkish/brown egg. I got my first brown egg today from one of my R.I.Reds. Very exciting! I just love your photos.

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  5. its so nice to see your post again:) I think getting fresh eggs is one of the most rewarding finds on a little farm! The variety of colors just puts a big smile on my face as did your post today:) Thank you for sharing!!

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  6. I love that first pic, it would look beautiful hanging in the kitchen. I don't know if I will ever be without at least a couple of hens. They are nothing but pleasure with their personalities and beautiful eggs.

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  7. Pretty eggs--love the variety. I still find it amazing that I can go out and get the eggs even after years of having chickens. It's like 'sticking it to the man'. ;-) No grocery store, no middleman, and I know that what goes into those eggs isn't full of yucky chemicals. The UPS story (The first version esp.) cracked (oops no pun intended!) me up.
    Tammy

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  8. Yeah you are back and writing about one of my favorite subjects. Beautiful pictures and everything you said was true.
    I never get tired of finding an egg.

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  9. What a nice return post ! I too , NEVER get tired of gathering eggs and marveling at the miracle they are ! Your blue and green eggs make me want Americaunas again.

    The photos of your eggs are beautiful, and don't you think each one would be beautiful framed and put on the wall? Works of art all by themselves.

    I do know what you mean by a lot of eggs, I currently have 8 dozen eggs in my fridge, but I will be bringing lots of deviled eggs for the Thanksgiving appetizers and we will be serving eggs for breakfast to company!

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  10. I especially love that blue egg. Glad to see you back again. Eggs are fantastic.

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  11. I loved reading about your thoughts on chickens and eggs. I mirror many of them as my own, too.
    Even after a year of owning my chickens I never am not amazed at gathering their eggs or watching them or listening to them. They bring me joy.

    I love the brown speckled eggs. One of my chicken is laying brown speckled eggs. I made the mistake of rubbing some poo and dirst off of it a little too roughly and the spots rubbed off! lol!

    My Japanese silky and Polsh hens are laying now and they lay the prettiest, most petite latte colored eggs. Not yet brown, but not white either. So delicate. I just love holding and looking at them!

    Eggs. So beautiful :)

    ~Lisa
    New Mexico

    ps, I'm glad to see you posting again. I love reading your blog.

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  12. Have I thanked you lately for following my blog? It may seem like I've got a funny way of showing it, changing my blog address the day before my first giveaway and screwing up everybody's links. What an idiot I can be...Anyway, if you haven't had a chance to enter the giveaway because you can't find it, try the old address, http://the7msn.blogspot.com , and be sure to enter. Blogger assures me the pointers will be going in the right direction soon.

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  13. a beautiful post re: your new eggs -- i look forward to learning more from your adventures on clinch mountain!

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  14. I love your blog. I also love the egg post. I love to gather eggs and beauty of them. My parents used to have little banti hens and we children loved them. I will keep an eye on this blog. Thanks for the memories.

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  15. Hello Pam. This is my first visit to your blog, I was attracted by the title since I too love eggs! Years ago, I loved hatching eggs, I hatched all kinds of things in my incubators -- even incubated a double yolker just to see if I could get the twins out successfully. Nope, I didn't, but there were two perfectly formed chicks in that shell on day 20, they just didn't have room to maneuver to crack open the shell. Since we had so many birds, my attention turned to decorating all those beautiful shells instead of just eating them or hatching them. For anyone interested, there is a lot of information on the subject of wax resist egg decorating on web. The Ukrainian Gift Shop in Minneapolis web site is a good place to start. I will have to do a post on my blog showing some of the acid etched brown and green eggs I used to do before I got sheep and immersed myself in fiber.

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  16. Hi Pam, we're just over in Boone, NC and we also have Ameraucana's and Cuckoo's. We also have Wheaten Marans. Ron Presley is in Athens, Tenn, raises Wheatens and moderates the yahoo Marans group. We sell eating eggs at our local Farmers Market and I like for each carton to have various colors. Love your photography.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~kdoctor1/

    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Marans_Breeders_of_America/

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  17. Hi just discovering all these 'farm'blogs and really like yours. I also like chickens and one day hope to have some. Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers!

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  18. Although I'm not a hot-shot at finding eggs, I'm very fond of eating them! :-)

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  19. Pam, thank you for posting this! I am going to try my hand for the very first time at raising chickens this year, and it's blogs like these that give me hope and encouragement... and drive! I love those speckled ones, by the way... almost too pretty to eat!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to reading more from you!

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  20. Great blog! I am hoping to get some chickens next year. Now I want to get some like yours, all those different colored eggs, how neat!

    Great pictures and that video of the lamb is great! I loved reading about her and the rain, my goats are the same way, they think they would melt if a drop of rain touched them.

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  21. I miss my amereaucuana eggs!!! By the way...how badly did I mess the spelling up? We have heard them pronounced Ameriquana's and Americana's, amongst other ways. I definitely need to get chickens back on the farm.

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  22. What beautiful eggs, how lucky you are to have such a wonderful variety of colours! I am only getting one egg a day at the moment, but hey, that beats the no eggs I was getting for two months!

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  23. I am wondering how the sheep training goes and how you're doing ?

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  24. Hey, beautiful-egg-lady, stop looking at blog backgrounds and write a new post! I've missed you; thanks for stopping by my bloggy.

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  25. I've really learned a lot about eggs. You have a wonderful blog and I've enjoyed browsing through it.

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  26. Glorious eggs! For the most conprehensive place on the web for chicken lovers come on over and join www.backyardchickens.com/forum Over 20K members and growing every day!

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  27. I am just wondering how you are doing. Good I hope! Hope you are still getting lots of beautiful eggs from your chickens.

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  28. You're as bad as I am, worse actually, I get a post up now and then so everyone knows Im still around ;-)
    Hope all is well, and you've been tagged on my blog! Give you something to blog about!

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  29. I love your site! It's beautiful and brings back a bit of home for me (I grew up in Middle TN)! On top of it all, you're raising one of my favorite breed of horses!!

    I'm looking forward to coming back often.

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  30. Lovely Photography! And I loved your video of Maat-Maat. I was searching for info about Brahma chickens and I'm glad I found your blog. I'm looking forward to reading about your animals.

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  31. Ameraucana's are THE BEST! Mine are 7 weeks old and are bearding! Do you mind me asking what kind of camera you have? Your pictures make me hungry for a nice fried egg.

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  32. I loved gathering eggs when I was a child with my grandfather. I loved the egg pictures....they were all so pretty. I have a giveaway going...stop by and enter.

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  33. The peach colored egg is from your brahmas. I have lights and darks, and love them all.!

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  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  35. good blog..nice artical publishing by you...appreciate on you...thanks for giving detail..

    happy after reading your blog....


    poultry

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  36. Hi - lovely post! I'd just like to double-check: Which breed of chickens lay the speckled eggs?? I have 4 Bantam hens and a frizzle rooster (in Sunny South Africa) and they're just so cute! Laying eggs for us basically every day now (and it's not even spring yet! :o) I'm not sure whether we'll be able to keep up with all the eggs, we actually don't really eat eggs except Sat mornings. ;)

    I'd like to get hold of a few hens that lay speckled eggs, but not quite sure how I'll find strange breeds over here...

    What do you feed your chickens by the way??

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