Saturday, November 07, 2009

Overabundance of Eggs



When we were a younger and smaller family, I used to think eggs were a cheap source of protein. Now our little family of 6 puts away 14 at a sitting, so if we were buying organic eggs we would be poorer yet. Thankfully we have our hens, and land for a coop. We try never to forget how lucky we are to live here. There are so many people (like us, before) who would do these things for themselves if they could. Of course there are also those who wouldn't even if they could, and those who have the means and the land but not the desire. We want to and we can. It's a very happy place to be.

We recently took on some new adult hens from my father, so we have about 40 hens right now. This spring we built a new coop for them, which started out like this



and ended up like this.



They have a large run, but we let them out to free range as well. Before we had this coop, we had no run to keep them in if we needed to, which was not ideal. The new housing is roomy and warm with space for 100 hens, but I think 40-50 is all we will ever want. We have a variety of breeds but have a soft spot for Silver-Laced Wyandottes, because they were our first breed.



Here is an old picture of our first flock, before coops were built. I think we still had genuine holes in the house at  this point letting cold air in!




These are last-fall pictures of our Light Brahmas and New Hampshire Reds.

We feed them a custom grain mix that we get milled on a regular basis. It is a huge money savings over ready-made feeds, and is composed entirely of real food with no crumbles or by-products. You would be surprised what they put in ready-made feeds these days. I don't even have to don my tinfoil hat to tell you, honestly, that they include 'Dried Bakery Product', 'Hydrolyzed Poultry Feathers', 'Meat and Bone Meal' & 'Poultry Fat'. And that is just over the counter feed for a home flock. In the industry of producing eggs for sale, it gets both very scientific (profit) and morally ambiguous (profit).  We are lucky to have a relationship with a feed man who helped us formulate our ration, which is complete and natural. Also lucky: lots cheaper! We pay about $13/ hwt.



Here a little Kassi throws scratch to our hens.

We sell eggs here and there. We have a sign we are making to put up and invite new customers, but we are reluctant and it is not getting done. After all, we like being hermits. I do want to see us sell enough eggs to make our eggs free, that is all. And we do have plenty of eggs, making eggs a truly cheap source of quality protein for our family. It is good that the kids all like eggs.



Here a baby Anatoly makes egg pasta.

I have a small arsenal of egg recipes but we still have too many eggs. I make egg noodles, poach eggs in tomato sauce for dinners and make egg tacos for breakfast almost every morning. I have a custard pie recipe that is no one's favorite, maybe I should try a new recipe. We love puddings, perhaps too much, and Kassi loves meringue with a passion. On the phone with a friend the other day I was talking quiche, and that is something I could try again. It is always good to keep a dozen boiled in the fridge. What do you do with eggs? I will share recipes in the comments if you will.
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