Wednesday, June 22, 2016

We are what we eat: eggheads!

A chicken named Moldy, who lived a good long life with us after adoption from a factory farm
Oh eggs.  How we love them.  At our house we almost always eat eggs for breakfast.  I like mine best fried in goose fat, over hard.  Husband prefers sunny side up in butter.  Six year old likes them any way but usually asks for scrambled with cream.  Each of us eats three eggs a day at a minimum.

All our adult hens lay amazing brown eggs for us.  As we eat at least nine eggs per day, from ten hens of various ages this is a stretch.  In summer they might lay us nine, but it's more like seven.  In winter it's closer to four or five a day, so we buy a few eggs to supplement;  I wish we knew someone close by to get them from, but we currently buy from the supermarket or local market.

In order to meet our eggy desires, a flock of 12 hens between ages one and three years is my ideal.  We currently have ten adult hens and two female juveniles.  The age range is between zero and four years. Well, we're getting there. 
Big girl chick, tiny boy chick (same age!)
Our hens eat as much grass and greenery as they can manage, and any bugs and slugs they find.  They get access to high quality layers pellets, and daily treats of succulent garden leaves like sorrel, cabbage trimmings, dandelions (their favorite), etc.  Not only that, they are allowed to run around outside with plenty of room, and always have access to sunshine--when it deigns to stop raining, that is!  They have a nice roomy coop to sleep in and shelter from the rain;  most of them seem not to mind the rain, though.  The six rescue hens spent the first 18 months of their lives in cages in barns and never saw daylight;  we think they prefer to be outside as a result--even if it's raining.

Their eggs are beautiful as a result of their diet and lifestyle:  big orange yolks, lovely hard shells.  They never last longer than 24 hours in our house.  When I collect them in the afternoon I always thank my lovely chickies and tell them what a good job they've done. 

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