April 11, 2016

Homestead Eggs


Spring always brings a record number of eggs on the homestead. Even a few years ago when I only had a few, older hens, they laid a large number of eggs for several weeks in spring, slowly tapering off in the heat of summer.

Farm fresh brown eggs

This year, with fourteen pullets in the chicken coop, we are swimming in eggs. We can't eat them fast enough. I've made my usual egg-heavy recipes. We've sold some, given some away, and I still had over ten dozen in the refrigerator.

A dozen farm-fresh brown eggs

So I've been freezing eggs. I put silicone muffin cups in my muffin pan, break each egg into a bowl one at a time and whisk it up, then pour it in one of the muffin cups, and repeat until the muffin pan is full. Into the freezer they go. The next day I remove each frozen egg from the muffin cup and put the "cakes" into a freezer bag, and start over again.

Eggs in the freezer

I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket, so this is just one way I'm preserving eggs. Here are a few more methods I use.

Broody buff Orpington hen on nest

I was surprised to find that I have a young broody hen in the coop. The trait to go broody has been bred out of so many breeds because a hen that's setting on eggs and then raising chicks isn't laying eggs, and for most people, egg-laying is more important than raising more chicks.

Broody hens definitely have their place in my coop, but I don't have a separate place for her to set on a nest where the others won't bother her and add their eggs to her clutch. I'd prefer she not set on eggs right now, so twice a day when I collect eggs, I fend off her pecking beak with my gloved hand and gather the eggs from the nest beneath her.

Muscovy duck hen on nest

The Muscovy duck hen is broody too, and I'm anxious to see if she will be able to hatch some ducklings this time. Because our incubator only holds nine eggs, I left the rest of the eggs with the duck hen. I added several chicken eggs to her nest one evening just as an experiment; she hasn't been very successful at hatching her own eggs, so I'm curious to see what will happen with the chicken eggs.

What does spring bring to your home in abundance?


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10 comments:

  1. I wish I had known about this method for freezing eggs when we had hens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A friend told me they used to freeze eggs two at a time in baggies, but that would require a lot of bags in my case. Bags cost money. I tried it in cupcake wrappers but the paper sticks to the egg "cakes" and rips. Using these silicone molds works the best for me. Maybe you'll have hens again someday, Michele?

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  2. Unfortunately the only abundance we have this year is ants!
    I'd like to get chicks started again. I love the way you preserve eggs by freezing.


    Please drop by and say hello!
    ஐღLauraღஐ
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    ...doing what I can with what I've got where I am
    on a short shoestring budget!
    ~~~~~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry about the ants, Laura. I hope someday you'll be able to enjoy chicks again.

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  3. Do you house your ducks with your chickens? How do you keep the area they are in clean? I have read they are very messy.

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    Replies
    1. I don't keep them together, Robyn. You are right that ducks are extremely messy, most of that mess is mud. Ducks need water; it doesn't have to be a pool but it needs to be deep enough that they can dunk their beaks and clean out their nasal passages. My Muscovies dump their water repeatedly and that means mud. I'm still trying to find the ideal way to provide undumpable water for them.

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  4. How do you house your ducks? I have a nice coop and fenced area for my chickens. What type of shelter do I need for ducks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the past I've had free range ducks and I much prefer to do it that way, but I lost them all to predators and a stray dog, so I keep this pair in a coop. The previous ducks were happy sleeping in my barn and wandering the barnyard during the day. They had a wading pool in a grassy spot. The nice part was that with all that space, I never had "mud problems", although the pool got dirty fast and had to be cleaned often. My current Muscovy pair are in a pre-fab chicken coop. I have several friends that use a doghouse for their duck shelter.

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  5. Wow, that's a very interesting way to freeze eggs, I will have to give that a try sometime! Thanks for sharing at Simply Natural Saturdays!

    ReplyDelete

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