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Eggs and What I Didn’t Know

Basket of eggsBefore I started at FarmTek, I was ignorant to the world of poultry. I thought eggs were either white or brown. I thought they always were laid in the same uniform shape and sizes. I took for granted the cartons upon cartons of perfect-looking eggs at the grocery store.

Then I met coworkers who had their own backyard flocks, who gave me cartons of homegrown eggs in white, brown, slightly speckled and blue (!), with yolks so yellow, thick and delicious that I realized I had never had a truly fresh egg before.

I realized that owning chickens is pretty neat, something the ever-expanding group of backyard poultry farmers knew long ago. So if you aren’t already into chickens, here are a few interesting things I’ve learned that you should know!

You said blue eggs?

Blue-green eggI get a kick out of showing blue eggs to my friends and family. These light blue to blue-green eggs are laid by Ameraucana hens, also sometimes known as the Easter Egg chicken. Araucana chickens also lay blue eggs, but this breed is less commonly found in the US.

Egg sizes and color shades

Different sized eggsSpeaking of the physical appearance of eggs, different hens will lay different size and shade eggs. An individual hen’s eggs will even vary by the day. Mass production of eggs for grocery stores led us to think that all eggs look the same; however, only “perfect” eggs are graded and put in those cartons. The rest are sent off to be used in other products.

Chickens aren’t just white or brown

There are many breeds of chickens beyond what normally comes to mind when we think “chickens,” such as the white Leghorns and the reddish-brown Rhode Island Red. Two of my favorites are the Silkie and Polish breeds. Silkies, which as their name suggests, have soft, silky plumage that looks more like fur than feathers. Polish chickens, on the other hand, are well known for the crest of feathers on their heads that looks like an afro.Silkie Hen

“Mini-me”

Another interesting poultry fact is that most large-breed chickens also have a bantam, or smaller variety, of the same type. Bantam hens lay eggs that are a third to a half the size of normal eggs, and are popular for backyard coops.

Working at FarmTek, I’m learning new things about the poultry industry and backyard farmers all the time. When I have my own property, I think I’ll take the plunge and start my own small flock. Until then, I enjoy hearing stories about other people’s flocks and benefiting from their generosity (free eggs!).

Do you have a backyard flock? What made you get started as a chicken farmer?

Photo credit:www.flickr.com/photos/cloudbusting/3389648128, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pickard/17031364, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rubygirlcreations/3695313746, http://www.flickr.com/photos/calpsychik/3199549

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