Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chickens and Farm Fresh Eggs

Hello Gorgeous!

Super excited about finally getting some straight from the farm fresh eggs around here.  We don't have chickens but we have connections (my in-laws know some chicken people).  My MIL brought us some lovely brown eggs that we have been enjoying all week.  Soccer Boy lamented yesterday that now he is ruined because scrambled eggs taste so much better with fresh eggs that he'll never be able to go back to the old ones.  Their bright yellow yolks make me so happy, and I don't even personally eat eggs.

Our family got to attend a "chicken seminar" a couple weeks ago held at the local Rural King.  The kids were all over that...
Game Boy holding a hen

They had baby bunnies too

Princess with a bunny

Checking out the ducklings

They learned the proper way to hold a chicken and a trick to calming a chicken down quickly (you have to tuck their head under their wing and gently swing them).  Other fascinating items:

  • Both chickens and ducks lay unfertilized eggs.
  • Duck eggs are slightly bigger and have more cholesterol.
  • The color of the egg depends on the color of the chicken's earlobes
  • You can test the freshness of an egg by putting it in a bowl of cold water, fresher eggs sink and lay on their side, old eggs will float.
  • Fresh laid eggs have a natural anti-bacterial coating on them.
  • Wash the eggs with soap and cool water (hot water can permeate the shell).
  • Once you've washed the eggs you should refrigerate them because you have removed the natural anti-bacterial coating.
  • The average egg purchased at the grocery store is about two months old.
  • Grocery store eggs are laid by white leghorn (pronounced leggern) chickens.

They also taught us how to read an egg carton to estimate the age of the eggs inside.  You don't go by the "use by" date, you look at the Julian dating printed on the carton.  There should be a three digit number listed on the carton.  Sometimes they run the numbers all together, so you look at the last three digits.  This is the packaging date.  Eggs are usually packaged within six weeks of being laid.  So add six weeks to that date to get the oldest date the egg should be.

FYI, the Julian dating system gives a number to each date of the year as follows:

001 = Jan 1
002 = Jan 2, etc...

So on the picture above, the number 065 translates to our calendar date March 6.  So these eggs were graded and packed on March 6 and given a "sell by" date of April 4 (30 days after the packed date).  If they were packed within six weeks of laying that would mean the eggs inside this carton might have been collected around the end of January, at the earliest.  We purchased these last week, a little over a week after they were packed.  They might be a little short of two months old, but ultimately there is no way of knowing exactly how old the eggs inside are.  We did do the water test last week and discovered they do not lay completely flat on their side, they are moving towards standing on end at the bottom of the bowl.  Now that we have our farm fresh eggs we will probably turn these eggs into Easter eggs with our dye kits.

There you go, a little introduction to chickens and eggs.

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