Egg Storage

In posting a photo of my new egg skelter on my Facebook page, I was surprised at how many folks asked me, “You don’t keep your eggs in the refrigerator?” No, I don’t. My eggs are not washed and therefore do not need to be kept in the fridge.


Now you might get differing opinions from others, and to each his own. But these are my thoughts…

Mother Nature has thought of everything in creating the farm fresh egg. Not only is the egg a beauty to behold, but also very practical. The last stage in creating an egg—just before it is laid—involves adding the “bloom”, which is a protective coating over the outer shell. This wet coating quickly dries as soon as the hen lays the egg. It protects the contents from harmful bacteria getting inside. Think about if the egg was fertile and mama was sitting on a clutch of them for 21 days. Mother Nature has provided a safe place for the developing baby inside that cute egg.

In Europe, you won’t find eggs in the refrigerated section of the market. They have not been washed. When you get an unwashed egg, you know what kind of condition the nesting boxes are in. Occasionally, even the cleanest of boxes will get a muddy foot in there which can dirty the egg a bit. But, for the most part, farm fresh eggs are clean because the hens live in clean conditions. Do you think all the eggs in U.S. supermarkets come from clean conditions? If they did, they wouldn’t need to administer so many antibiotics. But, we’ll save that for another blog entry…

So, enjoy those unwashed, healthy eggs! And if you’re looking for a nice way to display them, I can recommend an egg skelter. Just love mine!

Some more little egg-bits:

eggsInBasketDid you know the egg travels pointy end first, and at the last minute (just before being laid) turns 180 degrees so the fat end comes out first? Also, hens will sit in the box as the egg gets ready to be laid. Just before she’s ready to lay the hen will stand up a bit, and viola, out comes an egg—fat end down—in the nesting box!

Do you know how to tell how old an egg is? Do the water test: Put an egg in a glass of cold water. Does it float? Or sink? If it sinks all the way down and lays flat, it’s very fresh. The more it floats the older it is. Here’s why: Eggshells are porous, and over time air will seep in at the fat part of the egg. That air is what the baby chick—if the egg was fertile and had a developing baby in it—would first breathe. Ever notice when you hard boil an egg and the fat end has a dent in it? Yup, it’s an air pocket. The bigger the pocket, the older the egg.

Pretty neat-o, eh? I think so. But then I could talk “chicken” all day long!

Sprouting Goodness

I never gave sprouts much thought before I got chickens. I liked sprouts. I would eat them. But, I had no idea how nutritious they were, or how one goes about making sprouts. Sprouts are one of the superfoods. They contain up to 30 times more nutrients than organic raw vegetables. The protein, fiber and mineral content increases significantly during the sprouting process. There is claim to reducing cancer and losing weight just by eating sprouts. There seems to be no downside to growing and eating your own sprouts. You’ve heard of wheatgrass and all it’s health benefits, right? Well, why not grow your own? It’s easy, it’s fun, and it doesn’t get much fresher than being grown right in your own kitchen.


You can sprout grains, seeds, beans and pretty much anything that grows. I’ve experimented with various grains, and just recently started sprouting sunflower seeds. They take a bit longer than wheat or barley, but the chickens love them! I sprout various types of wheat–I like them all, and the gals do, too. I like the idea of being able to give my chickens fresh sprouts year-round. The quality of eggs they give me is a direct result of what I feed them (along with how I treat them, of course).

To sprout your own seeds, beans, or whole grains be sure to get the kind that have not been sprayed with chemicals, which may inhibit growth. You can get them in supermarkets, natural food stores, etc. I use black oil sunflower seeds that are sold as bird seed.

Here’s how I go about making sprouts: I place about a handful of seed or grain in a canning jar, fill it with cool water, and let it sit overnight. I place a piece of cheesecloth over the top and secure it with a rubberband or two. (I’ve found rubberbands work better than using the canning ring, though those will work in a pinch.) After about eight hours I drain the water out, rinse it a few times, and let it sit in a dimly lit corner of my kitchen counter. I rinse them 2-3 times a day. In about a day you can see the grain start to sprout–it will grow a little tail. In about three days, the sprouts are ready for eating or feeding to the chickens. Some will take longer. At any given time, I usually have 3-5 jars sitting on the counter, all in various stages of sprouting.

It’s amazing how much I have learned about various foods since I started keeping chickens. I am more connected to my food sources than I have ever been. The girls are good for me in more ways than one! Time to go give the girls their daily sprouts–I can hear them calling me…

Have a super sprout-filled day!


The Crisp Days of Autumn

As summer turns to fall, the leaves slowly swirl to the ground… and chickens run, thinking the sky is falling. Oh girls, you are quite safe. As the bread dough is rising, I’m giving my girls some free range time in the yard. Their antics are both relaxing and amusing.

I gather some rose petals from my still blooming and quite fragrant Rugosa rose bushes. Add to that some fresh herbs–rosemary, sage, parsley and thyme–and in to the nesting boxes it goes. Nellie soon discovers the rose petals and snatches them up–one by one–almost as fast I put them in. Yes, the girls know what’s good for them.


Time stands still as I engage in the chicken world. The girls often circle me, perhaps it’s a safety blanket of some sort, or maybe they are as curious about me as I am of them. My rooster coffee mug is a big hit today. He’s quite the stud, even if he’s only a painting.

The bread buzzer goes off and it’s back in to their run, with assistance from my little Aussie, aka “the Chicken Herder”. It doesn’t take much, the girls know the routine. Though, there is always one who tries to defy the dog. Silly girl, the Chicken Herder always wins.

With the girls safely in their run, I return inside. Chickens are such a lovely diversion.