Disclaimer: I know this is a long post. If you don’t read it all, please watch the video at the end. It’s totally worth it.
Sorry for the silence. It’s that time of year where things really pick up around the farm. Things are picking up so much, Eric is gathering over 300 eggs per day. The ladies are busy. We will be making some changes this year at Salt Fork Farms. Eric has done some reassessing of your buying habits, and there are two things that will be different this next year. 1. Eric has added a third round of broilers (meat birds) which will mean we should have whole frozen chicken year-round. 2. Eric will be starting the second round of hens in October this year. This should mean no running out of eggs before 10 am on any given Saturday Farmers’ Market!
It typically takes a hen 24 weeks/6 months to start laying eggs. Historically, we have started our hens in February. In looking back, we realized we did that because that is what we have always done. Eric moved back to Iowa in November, he had everything ready for chick raising in January and the chicks arrived in February. We have just kept to that schedule. Enough with doing things the way they have always been done! We welcome the new.
I am going to spend the next couple posts talking about the difference between broilers and hens. But this post, I’m going to spend it on a bit of both hens and eggs. Why? Because what came first? The chicken or the egg?
Like I said, a hen starts laying eggs about 24 weeks after she is born. When she first starts laying, they are called pullet eggs, as a young hen is called a pullet (whereas a young rooster is called a cockerel). These eggs tend to be very small. Sometimes they lay a wonky large one, but usually they are small.
To the left there is the tiny pullet egg, the green one, with an extra large egg. Bless that hen.
This photo contains large and extra-large eggs.
Many of you have asked, why are our yolks so orange? The yolk color is a reflection of a hens diet, the dark orange color is due to a quality diet rich in beta-carotene and xanthophylls luteins. As the hens scratch for, and eat, bugs and green leafy grass, the color darkens. This summer, as we saw the grass turn brown, we actually noticed the yolks getting a bit lighter. The last few weeks we have seen them return to their rich, orange color.
This photo was one from last summer. I have to admit, I’m not snapping the pictures like I used too. But the eggs still look just as good.
Now, for any of you who ever separate eggs, here is a little something for you. Separating egg yolk, the Chinese way. I can’t wait to try this. Don’t fret if you don’t understand it. Just keep watching.
Have a great week!