What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 06, 2012

If you feed them, they will lay

Any chicken owner knows that THAT is not always true. In fact, in winter no matter how hard you try, egg-laying is cut WAaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy back to basically, non-existent.

Except for us this year, apparently.

When we moved our chickens stopped laying eggs altogether. When a few do-gooders began to lay again, they were laying them in barns or in the field or under trees.... so for two months straight we had no eggs. It got so bad, I had to BUY eggs.

BUYING eggs at the store is very depressing when you are feeding an entire flock of chickens at home, let me tell you.

But for over a month now, our chickens have been making things up to us. We gather about 15 eggs a day, sometimes on a slow day, 10 eggs.

Really, if you look at the ratio of chicken to egg, it ain't a pretty picture (more than half our flock are practically begging to be butchered) but even still, this is a lot of eggs. Worse yet, since our move, we lost our egg customers which means two things:

1) We are swamped with eggs
2) We are paying for their feed all by ourselves. Feed was once entirely paid for by egg sales and now is not-and for a flock full of lazy hens to boot!

We use a dozen eggs every morning for breakfast when they are scrambled. (That is just the children, mind you.) Dippy eggs are about two each. And when we get sick of eating eggs and the children BEG for a cereal day, I make them raw eggnog to drink WITH their cereal. (Don't let the word raw freak you out. It is DE-LICIOUS, just as tasty as storebought though not as thick and extremely healthy without a worry of salmonella since I know and trust the egg source. wink)

And yet, we are still being swamped with eggs.

Thanks to our church congregation who doesn't mind (or at least let on that they mind) all the egg contributions I have been bringing for snack!

One week I hardboiled 2 dozen eggs and made deviled eggs.
One week I hardboiled 3 dozen eggs and made egg salad.
One week I made quadruple batches of homemade pudding and two angel food cakes (they didn't make it to church though) using 16 eggs.

I think next week calls for a crustless quiche. What say ye?

It is a problem, but it is a HAPPY problem.

PS. One day the children gathered a Lilac-colored egg and that was the thrill of the week. I promised to blow it out to save the shell for admiration purposes and then one morning cracked it into scrambled eggs before I realized what I was doing! What a dork I was to ruin a LILAC colored egg! ugh.

PPS. For the curious, we have Golden Wyandotte, Ameraucana, Leghorn, Barred Rock, Australorp, Black Sex Link, Rhode Island Red and Buff Orpingtons all represented in our not-so-little flock. But I think I would really love to add a Copper Maran or two so I could get these lovely little presents every now and again:


Bonnie said...

A happy problem indeed! You can can pickled eggs. I'm not sure about the purple beet juice kind (though I don't see why not, they sell them in bulk food stores), but with just regular vinegar you can. I think they're nasty, but lots of people don't.

ulli said...

The colors are so beautiful! How fun for the children to find beautiful treasures every day. I thought I read somewhere that you can crack eggs into a zip bag and freeze them. Ever tried that? It would keep some on hand for the lean laying times.

Tracy said...

Ulli is right. You can freeze the eggs for lean times!

Also, we're getting between 15-17 eggs a day right now, too. Too many, but I eat them hard-bolied on salads, make crustless quiche, and we have eggs for dinner several times a week. Not having our own meat, this actually thrills me. Cheap protein! I was just wondering yesterday what to do with the dozens on my counter. Today may be an angel food cake day.

Full of Grace said...

I offered before but you had no eggs, so I offer now, could I please start buying eggs from you weekly? It will help us both out if you are game. You drive by a few times a week, we can set up an "egg day" each week if that works for you- call me sometime this week and we will talk more (or I will call you) :)

Nicole said...

Our 8 Rhode Island Reds have been laying fantastically for the past few weeks! Around here (in northeastern MD), the weather has been like the weather normally is in late March/early April, so I'm not sure if that's it, or what! Our lazy Delaware Blue Hen (DH wanted an animal native to his home state, LOL!) seems to be content laying one egg every few weeks. After using 2 and a half dozen to make cakes and cookies for my newly-5-year-old little man's birthday on Saturday, I still have around 3 dozen on my counter, and more in the coop. I'm planning to make double batches of potato salad and lemon meringue pie for DH's family this weekend. Good luck with your eggs!

Wendy said...

This might seem like an incredibly naive question...but is there a difference in taste with the colored eggs or is it just purely all for looks of the shell? I always thought that an egg was an egg. It is funny you posted this, Cory and I were talking about getting chickens for eggs...and then really wondered if the cost would *truly* be worth it...oh well...I wish you lived closer, Id love to help you out with your *problem* hehe!

Mary said...

I am reciting verses here so I do not get jealous of the eggs :). I have never seen green eggs in person but I know they come from Aracauna (sp?) breeds. What breed lays a lavender egg ?

Lana Hobbs said...

if only we were neighbors I'd buy some! - i'd LOVE some farm fresh eggs!! these aldi eggs are not cutting it :(

Catie said...

Well, I'm going to have to come back to see your answers to the previously asked questions.. but I have one of my own.. would you share your eggnog recipe? Pretty please? Very purty eggs, btw. I'm *hoping* Amy gets chickens soon!! LOL!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I have been hardboiling and meringuing and pickling them too. But I HAVEN'T made potato salad nor canned or frozen any-a great option.

Elizabeth~ YES! We will work it out!

Wendy~ not a naive question at all. No-the shells don't mean they taste different. The shells are colored by the different breeds, so having colored shells tells only that you have certain breeds and doesn't 'do' anything else.

That said, not all eggs taste the same. The taste is changed depending upon what the chickens eat.

Funny Story: When we had egg customers, one lady SWORE her stomach couldn't 'handle' the white shelled eggs and could only digest the good-for-you brown eggs. Bust as I said, totally doesn't mean ANYTHING. I had a hard time keeping a straight face when she told me that.

Mary~ It is our Ameracauna breed that lays our green eggs. Araucana are kind of a hybrid of them. As for the lavender egg- I don't know WHO laid it. It isn't often we get a truly purple egg (this was a first!) but it looks as though it was one of the light brown egg-layers. Maybe they ate a crayon? hehehe

Catie~ our eggnog is not the cooked kind. It is the dump and blend and drink kind so make sure, if you make some, you know how old your eggs are and that they are perfect (no cracks, etc.) I make a blender full (for the whole family) when I make it so hopefully that is okay with you and I never follow a recipe. But here is an attempt:

I use about 7-8 eggs. A few shakes of nutmeg. 1/4 cup sugar or honey. A few (3-4) icecubes (to make it really cold!). A splash of vanilla (probably about 1 tsp.) And milk-whatever can fit into the blender without disaster ensuing.

On a FANCY DAY (like NEVER) you could use heavy cream for a portion of the milk and blend that first until it gets thick then add all the rest of the ingredients. I did it once when I happened to have heavy cream to get rid of and let me tell you...it was DIVINE.

Mrs. Rebekah S. said...

I truly had no idea chickens could produce such delightfully colored eggs! :) Lovely photos! I grew up with store-bought white eggs, but always thought brown were prettier. Where I currently live all the eggs in the store are brown--various shades. Rules out coloring eggs for the time being. My mom used to make the raw egg eggnog and milkshakes when I was younger, until the salmonella concern developed. How nice to be able to trust the eggs are safe! :) I'd sure buy the farm fresh eggs if I lived nearby.

Catie said...

Thanks!! My husband will be SO excited! :)

Catie said...

And now I feel silly after seeing Amy's comment yesterday about getting chickens! LOL

Leah T. said...

Beautiful eggs, Rebecca! I'd never seen the Cooper Maran eggs before. They are gorgeous! I'll have to put that breed on the list of must-have chickens. :)

Mrs. Rebekah S., please don't think that brown eggs rules out coloring them! You could definitely still do it and you'd get beautiful jewel-toned eggs! :D

...they call me mommy... said...

Catie darling...you crack me up...get it? "Crack me up" HAHAHHAHAHA!

Rebecca, LOVE LOVE all the beautiful eggs! Oh my! Did the lilac colored egg come from the Barred Rock? Are they what people sometimes call "Easter Egg" Chickens? Because of all those pale beautiful pastel colored eggs? I adore the teal-ish one and those brown speckled ones...ahh...they make me happy. ;)

How many total chickens do you have? Do you put them in a coop at night and how do you go about that? Do they just go themselves??? Or do you have to "train" them??

...they call me mommy... said...

I see your comment now on the lilac one...haha...a crayon. :)

Rebecca said...

Amy~ we have almost 40. I can't give you an exact number because we have had a few fatalities since living here and I have lost track. :-/

They go in their coop all by themselves at night but there are a few that roost in a different barn. Stinkers.

Chickens are creatures of habit and will do it automatically once they learn. To teach them you have to keep them in their coop for the first little while and when you let them out, feed them at night, calling them into the coop. Do this several times and provide nice roosting places for them and they will love you forever. (and come in when they are expected to.)

I think our naughty ones only find another place to roost because our henhouse is too small for the number of chickens we have-something I hope will be remedied this Spring.

Riahli said...

Beautiful eggs! We have four Aruacana's and four Black Sex Links. I really like the color of the Aruacana's eggs, but I don't find them good layers... mine anyways. I'm about to eat them, if I wasn't such a whimp I totally would. When they all stopped laying in the darkest part of winter I was about to eat all of them. And I swear that they started eating more too, which of course cost more money!!! Not a good idea if you aren't laying eggs chickens!!! But no amount of threats made them lay any eggs. ;) It is frustrating to be spending money on chickens that aren't laying and having to buy eggs from the store... but I still think all in all that chickens are totally worth it. I love our BSL chickens, such pretty brown eggs and they are now laying one a day each again, so they are saved from the stew pot. :) Do you have a recommendation on other good layers? We are thinking about adding to our flock at some time {and getting rid of the Aruacana's as well...} so I would love any suggestions that you have. I like pretty eggs, but I love lots of eggs more... especially because we eat anywhere from 6-10 eggs {we would eat more if we had more} a day normally. I wish we had room for 40 chickens!

Catie said...

HA! AMY! YOU crack ME up! LOL!

Out for an Adventure said...

I'll buy some from you! I'd love to experience home fed, non-caged chicken eggs, instead of store brand. Can you ship to AZ? LOL

Victorianlady8 said...

I raise Black Copper Marans, and we LOVE them! They are hardy, lay so well without much food, graze heartedly and are so vigorous from Hatching! And oh the lovely color of their eggs! What a blessing they have been! I sell hatching eggs as well, 30 dollars per dozen, and I sell all I have! A great investment for our farms and chicken stock :)

Mrs. Rebekah S. said...

Leah T., thanks so much for that info about still coloring the brown eggs--jewel tones sounds lovely! When we moved here last year and I noticed they do not sell any egg-coloring kits and that the eggs are also all brown, I thought that they just don't color them due to the brown eggs. After your comment I did some investigating and it turns out coloring eggs has just never been much of a tradition here, hence no coloring kits. We will have to give coloring brown eggs with old-fashioned food dye a try. Thanks so much! :) I'm looking forward to giving it a go!