EWWW!! No, really, they are.
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I’m not aware of normal backyard chickens killing each other so they can feast, and I’ve never had that happen with my chickens.
But my hens LOVE eggs and go totally crazy over them. The egg shells give them needed calcium (which they lose when they lay eggs) and the whites and yolks give them extra protein they need, so it’s a very healthy and beneficial treat for them. If I drop or crack an egg by accident, off to the hens it goes. Same for hard cooked eggs that have been in the fridge for a week (keep them in their shell and they last a couple weeks). They love ’em both raw and cooked. They will even take them scrambled.
I’ve read that they can, and would, eat cooked chicken. I don’t doubt they would eat it. But that is way too wrong. Seriously wrong. So I haven’t tried it, and doubt I ever will.
I had heard rumours that if you give chickens eggs, or even egg shells, it will turn them into crazy egg walkers and they will start stepping on and breaking every egg that’s laid to feed their cannibalistic taste.
I’ve followed several bloggers with backyard chickens, they feed egg shells to their hens all the time and have yet to have a crazy egg-stepping-on hen. Sure, I’ll see a crushed egg or two in my coop every month, but I have 9 hens that like to use the same laying spot, so it’s bound to happen on accident.
I’m still the food lady that brings them their treats, and they wait not-so-patiently at the gate seeing if I’ve brought anything good–mealworms, lettuce, carrots, or their favorite—eggs.
With 11 hens, and 8 being regular layers all year, we have an abundance of eggs (until we start selling them this spring, that is). We don’t eat eggs every day, so I had to find ways to preserve them. Hard cooked eggs last a week in the fridge, or 3-4 months if they are pickled, but haven’t found a recipe that’s a keeper yet.
The preserving method I found to be the best for fresh eggs, though is freezing them, which I found and modified from theprairiehomestead.com blog. I did find a salted preserving method recipe that allows you to keep the eggs in a jar on the counter, but I’m not brave or crazy enough to try that. So, the freezing method is it, so far.
Here’s the method, video to follow.
small to medium glass storage containers (round works best, and the container size depends on how many eggs you want to mix together)
sharp, non-serrated knife
ziploc freezer bags
vegetable or olive oil
1. Coat your storage container with a thin coating of oil
2. Add 1-3 eggs into the container (I vary the amount of eggs to accommodate for different uses)
3. Using the knife, slice through the eggs until the whites and yolks are well mixed, lifting knife up after each slice. Do NOT “scramble” or use a regular mixing motion, as you do not want to get air into the eggs.
4. Put the lids on the containers and put in the freezer until thoroughly frozen (I’ve succomed to the temtation to remove them when almost frozen, thinking step 5 would be easier–trust me, it’s much messier).
5. Take the containers out of the freezer. To help remove the eggs easier, put them in shallow hot water for a minute or less. Remove the lids, then draw your knife around the edge until the egg mixture loosens from the container.
6. Pop the frozen egg mixture into your ziploc and store in the freezer until they are needed. You can put multiple egg “rounds” in the same bag, but you will want to keep them flat so they can be individually removed from the bag as you need them. Thaw the eggs in the fridge when you need them. If you are preparing scrambled eggs or omelets, you can speed thaw them by heating them in your pan on low heat until fully thawed, then cook like normal.
If you want to purchase the glass containers, here are the Amazon links: Pyrex Storage Plus Round Dish With Plastic Cover or Anchor Hocking 10-Piece TrueSeal Storage Set. The Snapware pyrex has the snap lids,which you can get from an Amazon marketplace vendor. I purchased mine at Costco, but lately I’ve only seen the plastic containers with snapware. Plastic will work, but glass can be sterilized more effectively and is stain and odor proof, so that’s my preference. For glass, Anchor works just as well as pyrex, and I use both brands.
About a year after we got our first chickens we got a call from a friend, who lives in a non-farming town, saying she has been seeing a chicken in her yard. She was sure it was a rooster because of the comb and she hadn’t seen any eggs.
A tornado had recently gone through the neighboring area and from our understanding, there is an egg farm a few miles away. So, our deduction was that this chicken found the perfect escape opportunity.
Despite the fact that this was not a free chicken, she opviously treasured her freedom. Our friend tried continually to capture Nedge–but Nedge would disappear for days when our friend told us she was going to capture the chicken!
Finally, one day we got the call “I caught him!!”
Our friend drove the hour north get to our little farm what the little white chicken in tow.
Nedge settled in immediately and got along with our other chicken. However, the next day we confirmed that she was in fact a hen when we had a nice jumbo size white egg (the other two hens we had would only occasionally lay small-medium blue green eggs.) With the exception of the winter, Nedge is a daily layer and our only white egg hen. She gets along great with the new baby hens we had gotten last spring, so she has been a wonderful addition to our chicken family!