Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Egg Myths

I've answered a lot of egg and chicken questions. As well as I have listened to tall spun egg tales. I wanted to get a few points straight for those who still have some questions and right the wrongs with what they've come to believe!

Myth: Brown, White & Cream Eggs are different!

Truth: All eggs are equal based on color. Eggs are only different colors based on the breed that lays them. They come in many colors, and many sizes. There are several degrees of color within the browns, creams and whites. There is also coveted green and blue eggs that are nutritionally the same as other eggs. The only nutritional difference is based on how the chicken that lays it is raised and what it is fed.

Myth: You need a rooster for a hen to lay an egg.

Truth: A hen will lay an egg without the presence of a male. There cycle is simple. Every 26 hours or so produce an egg, and the chicken body does just that. That of course is the average and the soonest it can produce. Production breeds do this well, while ornamental breeds take longer and lay less often. Even a chicken needs a day off so don't expect an egg or 2 a day. On average 5 is a good amount of eggs a week per bird. Again, no rooster required unless you want chicks.

Myth: Eggs are all high in cholesterol and have the same nutrient measurements.

Truth: Eggs that come from battery cage birds can be higher in cholesterol and lower in omega-3 fatty acids. They also have low protein levels compared to what they could or SHOULD have. Caged production hens eat a diet high in corn, creating a less healthy egg. Chickens are omnivores by nature, like humans and require greens, calcium and proteins. Chickens NEED bugs, grass, veggies more then just grain. A true free ranged chicken gets all these and more creating an egg you can visually see is healthier. A deep orange yolk from a free range chicken has lower cholesterol, lower fat, higher proteins and high Omega-3 levels. Plus... it just tastes better.

Myth: You can't eat fertile eggs because they're already becoming a chick!

Truth: Good news... this is NOT true! A fertile egg looks and taste no different then an unfertile egg. An egg needs to be sat on getting to temps around 100 degrees to 'start' development. It can take 3 or more days to develop veins that would then start developing a chick. A chick takes 21 days to develop. Without a broody hen in your coop this would not even begin to happen, and if you collect your eggs daily... won't happen at all! Plus visually... you couldn't see the difference between a fertile and unfertile egg unless you know what you are looking for. A speck so tiny most people miss it. Plus, you have to open the egg either way to know so might as well fry it up!

Myth: I live in the city so I can't have chickens even if I wanted to collect my own eggs.

Truth: Most major cities allow chickens now. In most cases, hens only in city and no roosters. Some require permits, some none at all! There are cities with max number of birds set at 3 or 4, with others setting the max according to how large your yard is. Raleigh allows you to have 4+ hens and no roosters. They even have a great yearly "Tour Da Coop" where you can buy tickets and visit backyard coops to see how the whole set is being down, plus you get help starting your flock from the experts. Raleigh not a big enough city to believe yours would allow it? NYC allows hens with no max amount set. Most towns are worried about noise and smell. Hens are generally quite (until they sing their "I laid an egg" song) and with a simple monthly cleaning there is no smell to worry about!

Be healthy... eat eggs!