Chickens: Beginner Backyard Farmer and Fresh Eggs
When Diligent Work Turns into Chicken Eggs
The moment arrives—the eggs! As a new chicken egg farmer you have done your due diligence for your small urban flock. You kept your chicks warm, grew them up to healthy happy hens, gave them good food and clean water, and built them a home that keeps them safe from the elements. Now it's time for your diligent work to turn into chicken eggs.
Ahhh, those rich, bright pastel, and colorful fresh eggs for quiche, cakes, and cookies. Wait a minute, colorful? Yep, colorful. Fresh eggs differ in many ways from those pale white oval production-line eggs you have been eating over the years. From the exterior shell color to the deep color-rich and flavorful "stand-up" yolk, your urban chicken flock delivers to you a treasure sought after by every neighbor on the block and every friend who has been watching you raise your backyard birds. Your little oval shaped delicacies will have people flocking together and to your door with empty egg cartons and pleading eyes.
Farm Fresh Eggs vs Store-Bought Eggs
When the parade of egg requests begins, you are going to have to regulate your chicken egg offerings. Even as you will probably have more eggs then your family can eat each day, you want to be fair and make certain all who hover at your coop door get a chance to share in the harvest. Making enemies can be an easy fate when it comes to fresh backyard chicken eggs. Start by giving out 3 or 4 eggs, and only as many as a half dozen to each person (as you can spare the gems). This keeps the harvest an exciting time for you, your family, your friends, and the neighbors! This method will rightfully preserve and honor the greatness of the fresh backyard chicken egg.
Your backyard chicken eggs are surely a well sought after commodity, making the temptation to start thinking in terms of profit rustle through your mind. But, before allowing these thoughts to get too far ahead of the process, you must learn some of the more important differences between a regular old white egg that gets sold at the grocery store and those you collect each day from your own backyard chicken flock. Knowing the facts will make your egg farming experience a more gratifying endeavor in the long run.
Important Differneces Between Fresh Chicken Eggs and Store-Bought Chicken Eggs
As expected, and likely the reason we become backyard chicken egg farmers to begin with, is that farm fresh eggs have so much more to offer. A naturally protected shell, a tougher inner membrane, no antibiotics, no hormones, deeply nutritious yolks, better color and taste, firmer texture, and above all the thrill of providing our own protein rich food source following a daily egg collection—a tithing of the chickens, if you will .
The Difference a Farm Fresh Egg Makes
- Fresh eggs must be collected everyday; by nightfall. Eggs left overnight or for days are no longer fresh. Eggs not collected daily can get broken as hens will continue to lay new eggs right on top of them. If eggs get left too long, the anxious or inactive hen may begin to eat them, which is a very difficult habit to break. If you have kids, collecting the eggs is a delightful job for them, a mini treasure hunt every day!
- The short time a fresh farm egg is in the nesting box it may get bits of dirt or manure that stick to the shell. When you get the eggs inside, wipe them off with a dry towel or rough paper towel. If possible, DO NOT wash fresh eggs with water. Eggshells come with a natural surface coating that protects them from bacteria; which can be washed away with even a little bit of water. If an egg gets too yucky and you have to wash it, use it right away.
- If you just can't stand dirty eggs or you can't use the eggs right after cleaning them with water, take a damp cloth and wipe them off (no soap of any kind). Dry the eggs with a dry soft cloth and rub a very thin layer of cooking oil on the eggshell. The oil places a thin oily-shield on the outer shell, which can protect it from nasty bacteria and organisms that will be hunting for your eggs' internal hidden treasure. Use these oil coated eggs first.
- Store your freshly collected eggs in the refrigerator right away. They will last up to three weeks in your fridge.
- Hard cooking an egg that has just been collected makes for a really frustrating outcome for the new urban egg farmer. The yolks, the whites, and the shell don't really act as separate entities on an eggs' first day: Which makes peeling hard cooked eggs a very destructive operation for the egg white in particular. Day-fresh hard cooked eggs peel as if the white and the shell are created as one. This leaves you with an egg white that is ripped, and missing chunks. Wait a few days to hard cook fresh eggs, this way the layers of the egg will separate better as air expands between the shell and egg white membrane.
- You can freeze fresh eggs, just NOT in the shell (unless you prefer an egg explosion inside your freezer). Crack the eggs into a dish and scramble them, adding a pinch of salt. Then place the scrambled eggs into a tightly sealed freezer safe container and place the container into your freezer. You can freeze them for up to six months.
- You cannot sell your fresh eggs. this is a very important thing to remember: You can give your extra eggs away, but you cannot sell them. Commercial egg farmers have a set of very rigid regulations surrounding the sale and production of eggs. You would have to go through an awful lot of red tape to be a commercial egg farmer. In most city law the sale of eggs by residential chicken farmers is actually prohibited—in writing. Some city regulations bend and allow you to sell your eggs at Farmers' Markets or private produce stands. However, Do Not Sell even one egg until you have done the research on your local regulations.
- If you should find that you simply have far too many eggs to handle (wouldn't this be great) consider giving them to a woman's shelter or local food pantry that feeds the less fortunate. Sometimes they can receive your egg gifts and sometimes they cannot, so call ahead to be sure.
- A great farm fresh egg should NEVER go to waste!