Friday, January 29, 2010

Fresh free range eggs

A friend of ours once called me 'the male Martha Stewart' because of our colourful fresh eggs. I guess Martha has colourful laying hens as well. I'm comfortable with my masculinity so I took it as a compliment (which is how it was intended).

We currently have 14 free range laying hens. Half lay brown eggs and half lay beautiful bluish / green eggs. On average we gather about 8 or 9 eggs a day from the barn. We've always had enough eggs for our own needs plus we've had excess to sell to our neighbours and family every week.

The hens don't do a lot of free ranging in the winter but on sunny days a few of them will venture out in to the snow. It was about minus 10C today and only the Rhonde Island Red hens had the initiative to go and visit the goats for the afternoon. When I closed up the barn for the night I had to carry two hens back to their roost. I'm sure they were planning a sleep over in the goat stall and I just ruined it. Mean hobby farmer.

Off topic: My wife picked up some vegetable scraps from the grocery store today. I can't believe what the store considers scrap now a days! I could have eaten salads all week long on what they discard as rubbish. The goats loved it ... I could hear their tummies gurgling as they ate as much as they could. I saved half of the box for tomorrow morning. They really love having something fresh to eat in the dead of winter but I bet they would have reacted the same way if it was mid August. LOL!

Back to the chickens: In the spring I intend to increase the flock to ensure we have more than enough eggs for the journey. Eggs are absolutely the perfect food and they are extremely versatile. When ever we have too many eggs in the fridge we make quiches, egg noodles, angle food cake, pickled eggs and many other dishes. I'm always looking for recipes that call for more than a few eggs.

I'm certain I'll write of my love for chickens again and again in the future. I believe that everyone should own at least a few hens if they can. They are extremely low maintenance creatures and they have wonderful personalities. They are addictive though and I must warn you that once you get a few chickens you'll find yourself wanting a few more.

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