Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Double Yikes!... er Yolks!

It's certain that by now you've heard about the salmonella outbreak and egg recall, if not then you've been hanging out in your root cellar too long. It's interesting to read how people are dealing with it, and all of the various opinions on the subject. It also makes me feel a step ahead in the game with our backyard flock. Of course, ours are as susceptible to salmonella as any chicken is, but the chances of an outbreak are lessened because a smaller flock is easier to manage than thousands of birds, as suggested on the Homegrown Evolution blog.

To shift gears a bit, it's also a good thing we don't really care to eat a lot of eggs in this house. I personally have never liked eggs since about birth, the texture and taste were never to my liking, but I was never bothered about using them as additives in recipes or for baking. When I was a full-time vegetarian who was trying out for the role of vegan, I began using EnerG Egg Replacer and I still use it quite often out of habit. A healthy habit for sure, but still there's nothing wrong with an occasional egg from a pet hen that is well cared for in your own backyard. They lay eggs regardless of whether they are fertilized, so why let them go to waste if they can be used? Our chickens are primarily pets that provide great fertilizer for our organic garden, and like I said, we don't really consume many eggs at all, but we have family and friends who do. Providing them with our ethically farmed eggs is preventing them from buying factory farmed eggs and we are helping to educate them on that issue. We see it as a positive thing.
Pepper's mutant eggs with double yolks.
In other egg news, Pepper, our first hen to start laying, has been providing us with an egg almost everyday for the last week. I used the two newest eggs to make some banana bread yesterday, but I got the other eggs mixed up in the fridge. Some had been sitting out a few days before I found Pepper's hidden nest spot. Since we've had on and off hot temperatures, I wasn't sure how this would effect some of the eggs that had been sitting outside in the nest, with them not being refrigerated.  I didn't want to take any chances, so I decided that the dogs would have a treat (yes, I had to cook them because my dogs refuse raw eggs- a good thing though, because I won't have to worry about them robbing nests.) I opened up the five eggs that were left, two were very small and three were just a tad larger, but a weird oblong shape. The latter three had double yolks!  Nothing to worry about though, it's normal for hens who just start laying.

From today on I'll be marking the eggs with the date they were laid. I think I will get a little date stamper for that purpose.  I've never liked how most foods just have an expiration date and not a "born on" date.  An expiration date tells you nothing about how fresh it is.  

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