The Bad Egg


Chicken Linkage
January 29, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: News & Resources

Select articles about backyard chickens in the news this month:

NPR: City Folk Flock To Raise Small Livestock At Home

Mother Earth News: More Great News About Free-range Eggs

Atlanta-Journal Constitution: Atlanta’s “Chicken Whisperer”

Norwich Bulletin: Eating Locally Grown

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Egg Tricks
January 19, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: News & Resources, Stories, The Experiment

Our chickens have not yet used the nest we set up. I’ve found the eggs on the floor of the coop, on the ground outside the coop and in a plant pot.  It makes me wonder if there are more eggs around the backyard that I just haven’t found yet.

I’ve read in multiple places that chickens like to lay eggs in places where chickens have already laid eggs … get that?

Some people use golf balls to great success, but we decided to go to the local magic store here in Sacramento and bought two fake eggs.  The only color the magic store had was white, hopefully they’ll work anyways. The plan is to place these two fake eggs in the nest as ‘guidance’.

If all goes as planned, the chickens won’t be able to resist laying their eggs alongside the fake ones.



Warm Egg
January 17, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I found THREE eggs this morning in one of the plant pots in the backyard. I think two of the eggs were laid yesterday — they felt cold to the touch.

The 3rd egg in the pile was still warm when I picked it up …



Egg Tasting
January 15, 2009, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Stories, The Experiment

As promised, here are pics and notes from the first taste test (with the 2nd egg):
Here’s a reference for how our first 2 eggs stack up against the grocery store eggs:
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Here’s a side profile:

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Here is my S.O. cooking a store bought egg alongside ours (our egg is the smaller, more colorful one):

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The final product:
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My S.O. decided that in order for it to be a purist egg-taste-test he should barely cook the eggs. I did not want to eat a runny egg, regardless of what kind of chicken laid it. I decided to wait for the chickens to lay another egg that I could then scramble (which happened to be the very next day).

Our chickens’ eggs are more deeply colored, the yolk stands upright in the pan when first cracked –think jello-like — and the white of the egg stays nice and tight around the yoke as it cooks. Basically, all parts of our eggs were more defined, firmer, rounder, and more colorful than the store eggs.

We both decided that our backyard chicken eggs taste a bit leaner than the store bought eggs; they also had an almost grassy aftertaste. Very fresh tasting. Success!

It should be noted that the egg we used in the taste test is not your normal grocery store egg (white egg from a battery hen caged inside all day and probably debeaked, etc.).

The store-bought egg we used in the taste test is from a pastured hen, that is, a chicken who is supposed to be able to graze on pasture for a certain amount of the day. They cost major money ($2.50 for 6 eggs).

These grocery-store, pastured eggs are some of the best eggs we’ve ever eaten, so, for our backyard eggs to come out about even on taste, and even better on color and freshness, and even better on price (practically free!), is pretty astounding.



More Eggs!
January 11, 2009, 11:39 am
Filed under: Stories, The Experiment

There was another egg waiting for me yesterday. And another egg this morning.  That’s 3 eggs in 4 days!

We decided to blow out the 1st egg. My S.O. ate the 2nd one yesterday — I wouldn’t touch it because he decided to eat it almost raw — (I’ll post a full report of his backyard breakfast later this week).

I scrambled the 3rd egg this morning; delicious, and also a little weird since I was looking at the chickens through the window as I ate the egg that had just shot out of one of their … well … one of them.



The First Egg – Glamour Shots
January 10, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics, The Experiment

As I promised in my last post announcing our first egg, I’ve included some close-ups of our egg stacked up against a brown egg from the grocery store.

Our egg is the smaller, speckled one in the pictures. We aren’t sure which chicken laid the first egg. They all seemed pretty proud of it.

As Wanda, Frida and Flow get older, they’ll lay bigger and bigger eggs until the size matches the grocery store one. Click on any image to enlarge.

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This picture below shows the little bit of cracked shell at the tip of the egg. This is what made me realize it was a real egg and not some trick my S.O. was playing on me.

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We Laid Our First Egg!
January 9, 2009, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Chick Pics, Stories, The Experiment

Our First Egg

I woke up yesterday morning, started the coffee and went to let the chickens out of their coop. When I opened up the coop door my first thought was, “My Significant Other is playing a trick on me!” This is what I saw:Photobucket

I figured my S.O. placed a fake egg in the coop when he put the chickens away the night before. Then I picked it up, figured out it was real, put it carefully back down where I found it (see picture), and started yelling for my S.O. to come outside.

He came running — probably thought the tree was on fire with how excited I sounded 🙂

He looked at the egg. I looked at the egg. We looked at each other. He looked at the egg again. I looked at the egg again. He looked at the chickens. I looked at The Dog …

This back and forth went on for about a minute.

Then he said, “You sure that’s a real egg?”

I started laughing.

Why did I think it was a trick?

Fog

The weather has been fog, fog, and more fog, here in Sacramento for the last month. Chickens are supposed to require 12-14 hours of daylight in order to lay eggs. I figured we were getting less than that with the fog.

Most people combat too little daylight by installing a regular light bulb in their chicken coop (it works the same as daylight for some reason, even if it’s just a 40 watt bulb). We had not yet set up a light bulb in the coop — hence thinking the chickens were not getting enough light to lay eggs.

No Weird Eggs

The first eggs chickens lay do not usually come out correctly. That is, they tend to be weirdly shaped, maybe even shell-less. According to what I’ve read about other peoples’ experiences. This egg looked so … well, so much like a regular egg, I thought it could not possibly have come from our just-matured chickens.

Insecurity

And finally, deep down, my S.O. and I thought we couldn’t possibly be raising the chickens correctly. Even though I read all the books in preparation, most science experiments have a good chance of failure, especially the first time around, and I had figured from the beginning that’s what would happen here. I guess I underestimated how easy it really is to raise chickens for eggs, even for a newbie like me.

Now What?

We decided we won’t eat the first egg. It might look fine on the outside, but still might be a bit weird on the inside.

Instead, I plan on blowing out the insides and keeping it as a shrine 😉

An Egg and The Dog

This egg came out so nicely (I’ll post additional pictures of the egg tomorrow), I have a suspicion that it can’t possibly be the first one. That means the chickens may have laid a few eggs around the backyard … and The Dog may have eaten them.

This is purely speculation, The Dog may still be innocent of any wrong-doing. I will try to withhold judgment until I’ve caught him in the act. In the meantime, the S.O. and I plan to buy a fake egg from a nearby magic store to put in the coop nest.

It’s Magic

Chickens like to lay eggs where other chickens have already laid eggs. I don’t know why, I just know from the various chicken books that this is part of what it means to be a chicken (eventually I’ll get around to posting a list of my book resources so that you’re not just taking me at my word).

Hopefully Wanda, Frida and Flo will get the idea and lay their eggs only inside the nest from now on.

Tomorrow

Check back soon for a full glamour shot spread of pictures featuring our first egg!