Our Girls Lay Eggs!
Our chickens do indeed provide us with eggs. Many Eggs. Our chickens several dozen
eggs a week!
It's a highlight of the day to watch a chicken emerge from where ever she is nesting, strut
about, and then proclaim over and over how awesome she is for laying such a great egg. It never fails
to raise a smile. They are so proud of those eggs!
Our chickens are free range, never caged, and generally live the life
of Riley. They receive organic chicken food on free offer, but actually get most of their food from
foraging, eating the selected table scraps we give them, going through the compost heap, picking up worms
while we weed, snapping flies out of the air and more. Because the chickens are free range, they
can be caught by the local coyotes. For a story about that, visit the page about
However, our dog, Jaska, does a pretty good job of protecting
them! In fact, she's fought off two bald eagles, that we know of, and rescued the chicken being attacked each time!
We are pretty minimalist at FoxDog Farm when it comes to egg care. We collect eggs at least
once a day and clean the eggs by brushing them off. Once in a
while a hen will move her laying place. Free range hens don't always lay in the nesting boxes we
provide. When she moves the place, it might take us a few days to find it. However, the eggs are
never more than a few days old once collected. Hens like to lay in dry, dark, comfy spots, so the eggs
are well kept as they wait for us to come fetch them.
Did you know that eggs don't really need refrigeration? In our climate, even in the summer, refrigeration
isn't entirely necessary. In other countries eggs are not refrigerated (for instance, Britain). However, whether
we refrigerate eggs for our own use depends upon what we are doing with them. If they are meant to be stored
longer than a week or so, we do refrigerate them. Otherwise, we don't bother.
We don't wash our eggs in water upon collection. We just brush them off. This means sometimes the eggs have some
dirt on them. The reason we don't wash the eggs is pretty simple. Eggs are laid with a one way barrier
which stops material going into the egg (through the egg shell) but allows the contents of the egg to
breath. Washing removes this barrier. Commercial eggs have a sealant, usually a food grade oil of some
kind, put onto the egg after it is mechanically washed. We aren't interested in this step. Our eggs
are at least 2 or 3 weeks fresher than the freshest one can get at the grocery store. We expect to eat our eggs
within a week or two and don't store them for long. We do wash the egg right before eating, if the egg shell has
any residual dirt on it.
Did you know you can use egg shells for calcium supplements for plants? We do this from time to time. Just bury the broken up
shells at the roots of the plant. You can compost the shells. Dogs (and chickens) also like to eat the shells.
Chicken and Egg Information
News has sponsored a study on free range versus confinement (or grocery store 'free range') eggs.
Not surprising to us, the real free range eggs are greatly superior. Here's
another link to the article
in pdf format.
Interesting facts about
chickens and eggs from the backyard chicken site.