May 14, 2010

Fresh Egg



After cracking open this first egg from The Ladies of Stumptown Savoury I am redefining "fresh" as it applies to eggs. Note how thick the inner white is, how the yolk is tall and well-defined. This egg was opened less than 2 hours after it was laid.

(The Ladies were too busy to pose for pictures. A chicken's work is never done, you know.)

The egg had much more flavor than the eggs I've purchased from the store, which comes as no surprise. I expect that over the next month their eggs will get even tastier and richer, and the yolks will become more deeply orange, because they're getting organic feed now. I don't know, and really don't want to know, what they were fed previously.

Two laying hens should produce about a dozen eggs a week. They're also producing copious amounts of manure for the compost pile. All-in-all, they seem to be well on the way to paying for themselves.

Some of you will be curious, so here's an expense rundown. The coop, which is actually a rabbit hutch, cost $140. I probably could have built one for less, but I have no carpentry skills. Fencing was $60. Feed, a 50 pound bag, organic, $20. Oyster shell for grit was $9. There were a few miscellaneous expenditures as well. The Ladies--they don't have names, although Lucy and Ethel seem appropriate--were $20 each, being one-year-old laying Rhode Island Reds.

I chose to start with adult layers so I could get eggs right away. The next chickens I buy I'll get pullets ready to go outside and save a good chunk of money. Maybe it'll save money, except I'd have to buy different feed. I don't know if I want to start with chicks and have to deal with keeping them warm and all that. I might leave that to others.

So, for about $300, I'm now an urban chicken farmer. They'll cost less to maintain than a dog or cat, and they produce breakfast food. Sounds like a winning combination. Now, if I can just get them to lay enough eggs to make a soufflé....

13 comments:

  1. Wow that egg looks amazing! I try to always buy my eggs from the Farmer's Market because you really can taste the difference between a fresh egg and a not so fresh one.

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  2. You are a farmer! Whodathunk?

    You can rescue chickens through SPCA, and goats, too. "As long as you don't intend to eat them...

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  3. Eggs from the Farmer's Market or from a farmer are really quite good, but getting the egg while it's still warm from the chicken is a whole other level of freshness!

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  4. I want to be an urban chicken farmer!!!!! I don't think it would work for me though, because it gets so cold in Regina in the winter :-(

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  5. Heat lamp, Jolene. Think heat lamp. :)

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  6. This morning I did the ultimate chicken farmer trick. When I saw a hen settle in the nesting box I got out the pan, cut up potatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms and got them frying. As soon as the hen stepped out of the box I went out, got the egg, and made a frittata. Now that's fresh. :)

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  7. That is one stunning looking egg (I never thought I'd say those words). I don't eat eggs all that often, but when I've had ones that are incredibly fresh (like this one), it is a life changing experience.

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  8. Wow. I love eggs. The fresher, the better.
    This reminded me of a hilarious thing that happened to my friend a while back. She was the proud new owner of several chickens and also had, some way down the back of a her property a lovely little guest cottage. So the chickens are free ranging around the yard and one of them decide's 'its about that time, eh chaps' and wonders into the guest cabin. Then in front of her amazed eyes it hops up onto the open-shelved cupboard, walks into a large frying pan that is being stored there - and lays an egg in it!
    Ah, the wonderful irony.
    Apparently the egg was delicious.

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  9. I have just recently been on the fresh egg kick as well! I adore eggs, and never realized that the grocery was depriving me of their full potential! In the spirit of sharing... http://blog.spoonsaga.com/2010/05/14/an-ode-to-farm-fresh-eggs.aspx

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  10. That is absolutely hilarious! Thanks for sharing. ;)

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  11. Looks great! I've always wanted to have a few chickens of my own because they're low maintenance. And that egg looks a lot better than the junk in the store. I'll have to get my fresh eggs at farmer markets for now.

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  12. I had 26 Araucana-Americana laying hens and one indeterminate breed rooster. They are called the "Easter egg" chicken because they lay green, blue, and pink shelled eggs. For about 2 years I sold to a restaurant in town. The owner loved the freshness and the color is a great conversation starter. Sadly, they've all gone to the great coop in the sky. I'm looking to raise some more soon - completely free range this time. I love chickens (chookies as the Aussies say) - give em a little food and lots of fresh water and they reward you with wonderful jewels!

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  13. [...] chickens, I’ve been thinking how good Eggs Benedict would taste with hollandaise made using really fresh eggs. Eggs Benedict requires Canadian bacon, of course, which means I needed to refer to Charcuterie by [...]

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