Backyard Chickens 101: We’ve got EGGS!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Backyard Chickens 101: We’ve got EGGS!

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Today in our Backyard Chickens 101 Series I'm sharing the long awaited reason we got backyard chickens in the first place – the chickens laid an egg!  If you’ve just joined us make sure to read through to see our chicken’s growth week by week, how we choose a coup, and so much more.
Backyard Chickens 101 - Fresh Eggs

  It was an exciting day in our house when we discovered the first egg! We had all been checking dozens of times a day for weeks – we couldn’t wait.
Backyard Chickens 101 - Fresh Eggs
So what did we do with our first egg? We kept it until we had enough eggs for everyone. It was delicious!

You’d think several months later we’d be sick of getting eggs by now, but our family {including Daddy} still races outside several times a day to check for eggs. It is like an Easter egg hunt!

When do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

Most chickens start laying at 20 weeks. Again, it isn’t an exact science so start checking for eggs beginning at 18 weeks and don’t become too discouraged if they don’t lay until 22 weeks. We got our first egg at 20 weeks and 4 days.

The eggs may be smaller and less frequent at the beginning. After all the chickens are just learning how to lay eggs themselves. But little by little you will see an increase in size and frequency. At 30 weeks your chickens will be laying the size and frequency you can count on.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but just to remind you chickens are good layers for an average of 2 years. Some can continue laying averagely, other stop completely.

 

How should I keep fresh eggs?

Backyard Chickens 101 - Fresh Eggs
Fresh eggs have a coating on them that helps protect the porous shell from letting in any bacteria. Fight the urge to scrub them and they’ll last longer.

Eggs should be stored pointy side down. Fresh eggs will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.
Fun Fact: Did you know that you can go away for the weekend and still gather your eggs when you get back to eat? Fresh eggs will keep several days outside with out spoiling!

 

Egg Laying Quirks We’ve Discovered


  • At first you may have a chicken who lays a soft shelled egg
  • Some eggs may have 2 yolks
  • Chickens don’t lay at a particular time of the day (good egg layers lay every 25 hours … so it changes slightly every day)
  • Chickens will lay their eggs wherever! Sure they like a nesting box, but some are just stubborn and will lay them in the run or in the middle of the coup. Still trying to train that out of them!

Backyard Chickens 101 - Fresh Eggs

Fresh Eggs are Best

If you’ve heard that fresh eggs are best, but didn’t believe it – well neither did I. But let me tell you they are way better!

Since I can’t show you how much creamier, more flavorful, and almost buttery they taste, let me show you the difference in their appearance. We buy our eggs from a local farm that delivers so I didn’t really expect much different. Boy was I wrong! The egg yolks are so much darker – more delicious & nutritious.
Egg Yolk Comparison - Backyard Chickens
The blue green one is from one of our Easter Eggers – check out the DARK yolk! The white middle egg is from a run-of-the-mill commercial chicken. The one of the far right is from our local farm – tastes great, but not as great as our backyard fresh, organically raised, non-caged chickens lay!

Next up ……. Enduring Winter with Backyard Chickens

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