Mick Telkamp

Mick Telkamp

The chicks I hatched last spring have finally reached full chickenhood. They’ve been accepted by the flock and today one of them laid her first egg.

Can you guess which one is hers?

When a chicken begins egg production, early results can be somewhat unpredictable. Laying cycles, typically 24 to 26 hours to produce a single egg, may swing wildly. Egg size may be unimpressive at first and occasionally you’ll get one with its membrane intact but lacking a shell.

We’ll cut her some slack. Soon she’ll settle into a stable routine and will be laying over 250 eggs a year. For now, making a ten egg omelet is a small price to pay.

With this increase in egg production here at the homestead, it seems like a good time to share a few facts about the incredible, edible egg.

Brown eggs are not “healthier” than white eggs.

Different breeds lay different colored eggs, but there is no difference in flavor or nutritional value. In the United States, the most common production breed is the Leghorn, which lays white eggs. In many other countries, brown is the standard for store bought eggs.

Dr. Seuss wouldn’t steer you wrong.

White and brown aren’t the only colors you’ll find in the nesting box. Blue, pink, and even green eggs are also commonly found among backyard chicken breeds.

Older chickens lay bigger eggs.

Although egg size varies between breeds, as a chicken ages her eggs will increase in size. Most breeds become less productive after 2 years, but will continue to lay for 5 or 6 years.

Yolk color is affected by diet.

Although the color does not indicate nutritional value in a significant way, a rich, vibrant color is the result of a varied diet most commonly seen in pasture raised fowl.

Fresh eggs sink in water.

Not sure how fresh those eggs are? Dropped in a bowl of water, a fresh egg will sink. As an egg gets older, the air pocket inside will grow, causing it to float.

Older eggs are better for hard-boiling.

Wait a couple of weeks before boiling fresh eggs. The membrane weakens as it ages, making the egg easier to peel.

What a chicken eats affects the flavor of the egg.

Chickens will eat just about anything. This is a handy way to use table scraps, but avoid strong flavors like onions or garlic, as the flavor will carry through to the eggs they produce.

Not sure if it’s raw or boiled? Spin it!

A hard boiled egg will spin evenly. Raw eggs wobble.

Eggs are good for nursing mothers.

Packed with protein, iron and 38 other vitamins and minerals, they help meet many of the increased nutritional requirements during breast feeding.

The egg came first.

Research published in 2008 shows that dinosaurs were nesting and laying bird-like eggs well before chickens evolved from dinosaurs.

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