Welcome to my kitchen! Today we’re going to be talking about all things eggs! One of the biggest reasons people get into backyard chickens is for the eggs. If you’re new to this and even if you’re not, maybe you can learn a couple fun things today.
Right now only 2 of my girls have started laying. But, soon we will have lots of eggs. If you are currently raising chicks or teenage chickens, let’s talk about getting prepared for your girls to lay eggs.
There are so many options out there for nesting boxes and honestly, you can spend as little or as much as you want. As long as you keep them clean, dry, and somewhat private, your girls will be happy. I have friends who have built their own, others who use 5-gallon buckets, and others who have used crates or totes. We liked the roll-out feature, so we decided to go that route. We ordered ours online for the sake of time instead of building our own.
Laying hens need somewhere between 12-16 hours of light in order to produce eggs. For the winter months, we have a light on a timer so they receive adequate light. I use this now because my girls just started laying. Next winter, I may decide to allow that period of time for their bodies to rest.
Do you want to know a fun fact? Chickens have ears! For the most part, if your chickens have red ears, they will lay brown eggs. If your chickens have white ears, they will lay white or cream colored eggs. Of course there are exceptions to this in a couple breeds, but overall, this is pretty true to form!
Your chickens’ first eggs will be a bit smaller than the consecutive eggs. So don’t be surprised if you find a tiny egg the first time! They will get larger as time goes on. Chickens put a protective barrier on their eggs called a “bloom”. This layer protects bacteria from entering in or out of the egg. If you choose to wash your eggs, you will wash this layer off and will need to refrigerate your eggs. If you don’t wash them, you can leave them to sit on your counter for quite some time!
If you’re wondering if an egg is fresh or not, you can try this simple test. Add an egg to a glass of water. If it sinks, it’s fresh. If it floats, it’s not fresh. But, remember, by putting an egg in water will wash the bloom off, so you will want to refrigerate it unless you plan to use it right away.
So far our girls’ eggs have had awesome eggshells. We have consistently used Chicken E-lixir™ which contains organic essential oil, prebiotics, calcium, vitamins D &E and electrolytes to help improve eggshell quality. We will also provide oyster shells as needed. The girls have laid wonderful eggs!
Raising backyard chickens has become my all-time favorite hobby. Time spent in the coop, is time well spent! The eggs are just a bonus. The relationship I’ve built with the girls is something I never imagined, but I’m loving every second!