Chickens And Eggs: The Egg Business

Information about the egg business; helpful hints as well as nutritional information on eggs.

Having a small farm has its advantages. Fresh meat, milk, eggs and vegetables. Here on my little 3 acres I raise hens for eggs aside from a few vegetable plants here and there. There are those who scoff and say no one can call themselves a farmer or be self sufficient on the small about of acreage I possess, but chickens do not need alot of room, as long as they have adequate ventilation, proper nourishment and clean fresh water round the clock. If one does not feed and water properly or provide that which is needed, there will be little or n egg production or worse yet.....dead chickens.

One of my two primary income sources here are eggs. I have both brown and white eggs available for sale. The brown eggs sell the best. Many people ask me what the difference is. All I can say is that I really think it is more a matter of individualized taste. I think the brown eggs have a more rich taste. I sell locally to private people and farmers markets. And of course the wife is forever baking and selling her wares here and there.

Here's a little about my birds......... I started raising hens in 1998. We had 100 Rhode Island Reds, which lay the brown eggs and 100 Leghorns, which are the best white egg layers. Today I still keep about 200-250 birds, but I have stopped buying Leghorns, because the majority of my customers want brown eggs. Again, with regards to the egg colors, many including myself feels that brown eggs just seem to have a better taste than white eggs. And yes, I have heard some "learned" individuals claim there is no difference, but hey.... taste does not lie.

I get my fresh birds each May at the feed mill I am employed by. And my breed of choice is called a sex-sal. They lay brown eggs also. And as the others, these also lay about 1 egg per day each, except when in molt. (Molt is kinda a Break time for the birds) Each year chickens molt, or lose the older feathers, and grow new ones. Most hens stop producing eggs until after the molt is completed.

What we provide our hens as chicken feed is specially made to meet all of the nutritional needs of a chicken. The main ingredient in chicken food is grain, usually a blend of wheat, corn and barley. Grain provides calories and protein. The amount of each ingredient in the feed is changed slightly as the chicken gets older.

We also have a "Free Range" set up for our hens within a fence enclosed area. They are peovided also with fresh water daily, fresh hay and scratch. Scratch is a mixture of cracked corn and oyster shell calcium to improve the quality of the shell of the eggs. The hens are free to roam in and out of their housing.

Tip on raising hens: clean barns, healthy chicks, good feed and clean water are important for preventing illness.

Once the chicks are born and delivered to the feed mill, I bring them home and put them into what I refer to as a brooding house. You must keep them under a heat lamp for the first 3 weeks or so please don't skimp on cash here, the chicks cannot afford a chill. I did not skimp this year on the heat, but due to some severe storms and water getting into the brooding house, I lost quite a few chicks. Almost half to be exact. Check in on them often in the first week. If they are piling on top of each other to keep warm or directly under the lamp you'll need to lower the lamp or purchase a hood to spread the heat. If they are standing at their boxes edge to escape the heat, raise the lamp so they don't roast.

Feed them a chick starter from the feed store and ensure they always have clean water. Sometimes I have to get into pen to 'show' them the water by gently dipping their beaks into the water dish.

Egg-septional Egg Information provided to me by a local egg farmer from my church:

The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh.

Eggs are placed in their cartons large end up to keep the air cell in place and the yolk centered.

Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator

Eggs can be kept refrigerated in their carton for at least 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date.

A hard-cooked egg will peel more easily if it is a week or two old before it is cooked.

To tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked, spin it! If the egg spins easily, it is hard-cooked but if it wobbles, it is raw.

A cloudy white is a sign of freshness, not age, because of a high carbon dioxide content put in when the egg is laid.

If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy clean up.

A greenish ring around a hard-cooked egg yolk is due to either overcooking or a high iron content in the cooking water. This can be avoided using proper cooking time and temperature, and by rapidly cooling the cooked egg.

In cooking, eggs are "the cement that holds the castle of cuisine together." because of their ability to bind, leaven, thicken, emulsify, clarify, and more in all types of recipes.

The egg yolk and white separate best when cold. Egg whites will beat to a better volume if they're allowed to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before eating.

A fresh egg will sink in water while an older egg will stand up. As the egg gets older the air space in the egg increases causing it to float.

The stringy piece of material in the egg is not an embryo but rather a special protein called chalazae which acts as a shock absorber for the yolk so it doesn't break

Eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy. Egg protein has just the right mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build you own tissues. In addition, eggs have thirteen essential vitamins and minerals

Eggs contain the highest quality food protein known. It is second only to mother's milk for human nutrition.

Egg yolk is one of the few foods that contain Vitamin D

Egg yolk is the major source of the egg's vitamins and minerals.

A large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.

Eggs have no vitamin C because the chick can produce it from food it eats.

Well I hope everyone enjoyed my little ditty on my hens and the eggs they lay, also the information I got from my friend to share in this article.

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