Home Grown Eggs

| 11/13/2008 7:53:00 AM

We got started a little late with this year’s laying flock … I don’t remember the exact date, but it was at the end of spring. We needed to start over this year because our independent minded chickens took to roosting in the pine grove last year, much to the coyotes' delight. Actually, they were safe in the trees, but they were easily startled, which caused them to fly to the ground at the sight of a coyote and into the waiting jaws of the trickster himself.

Fresh eggs and the last garden tomato.

It would be accurate to say that we were bummed about that chain of events, but we also know that coyotes need to eat too. So this year, we enclosed the flock in a portable electric net. They roosted in the mobile pen (I built as a modification of this plan), which was located inside the net. Surprisingly enough, we didn’t lose one chicken to anything, and the netting helped the dogs get used to watching chickens rather than chasing them.

Now that we have staked a firm claim on this formerly uninhabited farm, the coyotes give us wider berth. Our dogs taunt them some, but so far they have agreed to keep a healthy distance. I recently moved the chickens into a semi-permanent pen that’s about an acre in size. We surrounded it with welded wire that’s 4-feet high and topped that with a single strand of electric. When we installed the welded wire, we took care to give it good ground contact … not even Woodrow the Cairn Terrier has been able to squirm under the fence.

Lovely Welsummer Eggs

As winter approached, we were just a little blue that we hadn’t had any fresh eggs from the flock yet. And then it happened. Last week, one of the Welsummer hens began delivering some of the most beautiful and delicious eggs we have had all year. Kate says that they poach perfectly. I just marvel at the bright orange yolks, firm whites and yummy flavor. I also think the copper-colored shells are absolutely beautiful. For more on the joys and benefits of home-grown eggs, check out this article.

Hank Will_2
11/20/2008 9:36:14 AM

Hmmm... Well, you both have me thinking. We used to raise ducks for fun, weeding and to break up cow pies and they definitely produced eggs. We had an egg-sucking dog named Rose (a red Australian Cattle Dog) at the time who loved to collect them, hold them with her front paws and carefully open the shells to get at the good stuff. We had a flock of geese too, and Rose enjoyed as many goose eggs as she could get ... imagine a husky red cattle dog running from the communal goose nest with a gander's bill attached to the base of her tail. She wanted to yelp, but if she did, she lost the big prize that was cradled delicately between her substantial canine teeth. I laughed every time. I suppose we could have eaten the goose eggs too eh? Probably the turkey eggs too.

11/20/2008 9:27:28 AM

Hank, We really like the duck eggs. They are a bit larger than our chicken eggs. I agree with Robyn, they are a bit richer. I use them just the same as my chicken eggs, to fry in omelets, or cooking and baking. I haven't had any complaints yet!

Robyn Dolan
11/20/2008 7:14:18 AM

Hi Hank. Duck eggs are delicious! A little stronger flavored than chicken eggs, may take a bit of getting used to (especially if you're used to the extremely bland store bought eggs). The yolks are extra rich and yummy. I didn't really enjoy them so much until the second year, and it took me about 3 years to really enjoy a fried goose egg. Robyn

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