Sunday, November 8, 2015

Misconceptions on chicken conception

Having had chickens for some time now, (5 1/2 years,) I sometimes just take for granted the knowledge that I've gained about them, and laying eggs.  Every so often though, I hear someone ask a question, or say something regarding chickens, and I realize that many people don't know that much about them.  So, let me dispel a few rumors if you will. 

Chickens need a rooster to lay eggs

NOT TRUE!  Chickens lay eggs regardless of having a rooster.  I can attest to this, because for five years, I never had a rooster.  And, no, fertilized eggs are no healthier than unfertilized ones.  You wouldn't even be able to tell by looking at the cracked open egg if it was fertilized. Oh, and the white thing you find in the egg, it's called a chalaza. It anchors the yolk within the white. The chalaza is present in unfertilized eggs as well (hens that have never been near a rooster,) so it has absolutely nothing to do with a rooster. 

This is Christian (pronounced like the French version), my French Black Copper Marans rooster. He's the head rooster (I currently have four) and he does an excellent job watching over his girls.

Eggs come out of the chicken soft, and then harden 

NOT TRUE! An egg comes out of the chicken as hard as it will ever get.  Occasionally a chicken will lay a soft egg, but this is not normal, and is due to a lack of calcium or some other issue (maybe she's getting ready to molt.)

 Here's Von, my Welsummer, laying her lovely dark brown egg.

Brown eggs are healthier than white eggs

NOT TRUE!  The color of an egg shell is dependent on the breed of the chicken.  An egg's nutritional value can be attributed to the hens diet, health, and welfare.  The yolk colors are all pretty much the same as well. I have several breeds of chickens, that lay various colors of eggs, and they all have the same beautiful golden yolks.  A good comparison would be to say "People with brown hair are healthier than people with blonde hair."  It all depends on how they take care of themselves.

 Look at the gorgeous array of colors that I get. They all have the same deep golden, delicious yolks!

Eggs need to be washed before consumption

NOT ENTIRELY TRUE!  When eggs are laid, they are covered in a substance called  the bloom. It's not a noticeable substance, that I've ever seen.  The bloom is natural coating or covering on the eggshell that seals the eggshell pores,thus helping to prevent bacteria from getting inside the shell.  It also helps to reduce moisture loss from within the egg.  So, not washing the egg, and removing the bloom, helps it to last longer.  Honestly, eggs get dirty from the chickens feet, mud and muck that they track into the nesting box.  No, they don't come out of the chicken covered in poop.  If the coop is kept clean, and the mud around the coop to a minimum, the eggs are rarely dirty.  I have to wash (and by wash I take a cloth with a bit of white vinegar on it and wipe off the bit of dirt,) maybe one out of six eggs. MAYBE. 

Eggs need to be kept refrigerated 

NOT ENTIRELY TRUE!  I'm still on the fence about this.  In most European countries, people store their eggs right out on the counter, and room temperature.  Not washing the bloom off is important when storing them by this method.  Most Americans subscribe to refrigerating the eggs (a product of media influence, I suppose to some extent.)  I do refrigerate my eggs, which I guess would fall under the "better safe than sorry" outlook.
 Look at these beauties!  The chickens that laid them, left to right- Golden Campine, Chantecler, Ameraucana, Welsummer, and Easter Egger. The green one was a double yolk!

I hope that I've dispelled any rumors, about eggs, that you might previously have heard.  Every day of raising chickens is a new learning experience for me.  It's a rewarding one, too when I end up with the delicious little vessels my girls provide me. Thank you, Lawless Chickens.