Everything you ever wanted to know about eggs!

Chickens having fun outside!
Chickens having fun outside!

Hi Everyone!  Today I have a very exciting blog post to share with you.  It is all about eggs!  Now, I have a history with eggs that some of you may know about.  When I was a grad student at Cornell, I did research on congenital heart defects with chick embryos, so I literally became an expert on eggs, and embryonic development!  It was all very interesting, however that is not what I am here to write about today, since I have already done A LOT of writing about that topic in my thesis.  No, today I am going to write about raising chickens for eggs, and how to tell whether or not an egg is good.  I took a visit to my Grandfather’s farm and interviewed him about his chickens.  And let me tell you, his chickens make THE BEST eggs ever!  Anyways, here is what I found out!Everything you ever wanted to know about eggs!

How do I tell if an egg is good?

  • Eggs that have deep colored yolks are the best.  It shows that they have been out on the ground eating grass or bugs (Free Range).  If they are allowed to forage for themselves both the chicken and the egg will be healthier.  Look for an orange yolk, instead of a light yellow one.
  • The color of the shell, does not matter.  Contrary to popular belief brown eggs are not necessarily better for you than white eggs!
  • An egg should have a good thick shell, so that it does not crack easily.  This shows that the chickens are getting enough calcium.
  • If an egg floats in water, it usually is not fresh, however the “sinking test” is not always reliable to tell whether or not an egg has gone bad.
  • Fertilized eggs are the same nutritionally as unfertilized eggs, so do not worry about this!

    Look at this gorgeous rooster!
    Look at this gorgeous rooster!

What are some tips for raising chickens that lay great eggs?

  • Let them forage for themselves, and eat grass or bugs on their own.  This will allow them to be as healthy as possible!
  • Make sure that they get enough calcium, so that their shells will be thick.  This can be done by giving them ground up seashells, or even their own eggshells!  Be careful not to give them too many egg shells and make sure that they are clean and dry, otherwise they may start eating their own eggs!  You can also just buy a commercial supplement as well.
  • As I said above, let them be free range!  If you allow the chickens to be free, they will take dust baths and take care of their own parasites, like fleas and mites.  This way you do not have to spray them with pesticides, which we all know is horrible to introduce into our food supply!
  • Chickens can eat almost any table scraps, however it is not recommended to feed them fruit because it will stop them from laying for a little while.
    Look at this little cutie my Grandfather is raising!
    Look at this little cutie my Grandfather is raising!

    What are the benefits of raising chickens?

  • They are an economical source of both meat and eggs.
  • They do not require a large financial investment.
  • They will help out your garden!  If you allow the chickens into your gardens they will eat the Japanese beetles and slugs.  Just be careful not to let them in too soon.  They will eat young plants, but not the older ones, and they will eat tomatoes and fruit!
  • Chicken manure is a natural fertilizer.  It is high in potassium and nitrogen.

How long will an egg stay good?

  • If you store them in a cool dry place, they can last up to a month.

Why is it important that an egg be fresh?

  • The fresher the egg, the less cholesterol in the egg.  The eggs in grocery stores are usually old, as they do not even leave the farm for a week, before they go to be processed.
Me with my Grandfather!
Me with my Grandfather!

So some of you may be asking, how does this affect me/why should I care?

  • Well, this shows the importance of shopping from local farms close by or at a farmer’s market.  This will ensure that the eggs are fresh, and have a lower cholesterol content.
  • It is also important that the eggs should be free-range, as you can be sure that the chickens and the eggs will be healthier in this case.
  • If you have to go to the grocery store, opt for free-range eggs, rather than just organic!
  • Once you have some excellent eggs, you can make some great food!  Check out some of my recipes using eggs:  Eggs with Collards, Healthy Cottage Pancakes, Traditional British Breakfast, Caramelized Spinach and Mushroom Omlette, and Tiramisu !  Enjoy!

Traditional British Breakfast | Simply Scrumptious by Sarah

Well I hope you all enjoyed this post!  It’s almost Friday, so Happy Friday!!!