Eggs From Jude’s Back Yard

coloured eggs-1

07 Aug Eggs From Jude’s Back Yard

A dozen reasons why raising your own eggs is worthwhile.

Do not adjust your screen. These eggs really are light blue. And ivory. And beige. And speckley brown. And yes, that big one in the middle is pointy at both ends.

My cousin Jude and her husband brought eggs from their backyard coop when they came to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday this past weekend. Mom got a party with cake and presents. I got fresh, home-raised, free-range eggs. I think I came out the winner.

For the first time in my adult life I saw, touched and ate eggs raised by someone I know, delivered by chickens with names. The blue ones are courtesy of Banana, Big Bird and Roadie,  arucana hens. Jasmine and Ginger, the Buff Opringtons,  supplied the dark brown eggs and this one, with its inky brown spots…

… came from Dot, the “chatty chicken.” Apparently she’s a Brahman with a big personality and a rather large vocabulary — for a hen.

Of course, now I want to raise  my own chickens but I foresee an issue.

My immediate thoughts were, “Where can I put a hen house? How do I keep the cats out? And more importantly, how do I convince Andrew this is a good idea.” While seduced by the thought of an endless supply of photogenic eggs, I’m also a softie for animals. My cousin and her husband sold me on the personalities of these birds. It’s just like Chicken Run, only without the celebrity voices and elaborate chases. Well, no celebrity voices, at least.

If you take a look at the eggs, they aren’t store-bought uniform. The sizes vary from medium to that’s-gotta-hurt. Ripples, bumps and ridges cover the shells. Would they pass industry inspection? I’ve no idea.

And I don’t care. They taste like an egg should. The blue egg I gently scrambled for breakfast (I think it was one of Big Bird’s) was so rich and creamy I could eat one every morning. And I am not a big fan of plain old eggs.

When I cracked open the egg, its yolk was deep gold. The resulting scrambled egg was so colourful it looked like someone had added a drop or two of orange food colouring when I wasn’t looking. But then again, I am filtering this through eyes that have only known the wan-yolked, supermarket versions. Maybe eggs are supposed to look like someone melted a Crayola® Sunglow crayon into the whites.

And did I mention the taste? They actually had a taste. Like a double-yolked egg only without the double yolk.

Will I raise my own chickens? Given the wild state of my vegetable garden, I would do the world (and the hens) a favour if I saved this fantasy for retirement. Until then, I’ll dream of blue eggs. Or travel the 906 kms and visit Dot, Banana and the rest of the flock in person.

Oh, and my cousins, too, of course.

Do you raise chickens? If so, please, please share your experiences. Chicken names, personalities, feeding issues  — all aspects are welcomed.

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  • Connie
    Posted at 12:53h, 07 August Reply

    “The sizes vary from medium to that’s-gotta-hurt.” I love that! Colorful and flavorful, how an egg should be.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:34h, 07 August Reply

      I’m coming to appreciate eggs more and more. I know shell colour doesn’t make a difference to the taste — diet, climate and exercise do that — but how I wish the supermarket would have something a bit more visually stimulating!

  • Kelly G.
    Posted at 17:23h, 07 August Reply

    I’m fascinated by raising chickens myself. I think they are beautiful animals and produce such YUMMY and yes–gorgeous– eggs! I have a dear friend who raises about 75 and sells the eggs and they too are beautiful big brown, small whites, and speckled colors in between. I cant have chickens where I live so until we move, I will too fantasize about raising my own chickens :)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:55h, 09 August Reply

      Thank heavens we can live vicariously through friends / family. It’s also good to know that I am not alone in my fantasy life :-)

  • NS Foster
    Posted at 17:34h, 07 August Reply

    I actually worked for an egg grading farm when I was a teenager–it was a super small establishment and we only took on local farmers. What I learned, though, was that if you check ’em in a light test to look for excessive air or blood and then wash ’em off? They’re good to eat.

    So long as they were refridgerated. *shivers* There were some nightmare batches from farmers who didn’t believe in refridgerating.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:18h, 07 August Reply

      I’m all for refrigeration, although when I lived in England and Australia, people there kept their eggs on the counter. That always made me edgy. I stuck mine in the fridge and everyone thought I was strange.

  • Maggie
    Posted at 19:01h, 07 August Reply

    What will you do with the hens with names when they no longer lay many eggs?
    They know you and you know them. I think I would end up with a large flock of elderly clucking pets.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:22h, 07 August Reply

      I’ve no idea. My cousin says all hens stop laying for periods but resume again. She lost a hen just before she came to visit, which she says is hard but not unusual. I assumed hens kept laying up to the end of their natural life. If I had a hen who didn’t lay, I think I’d just keep it with the rest of the flock. I’m a big wimp. As you point out, once you name an animal it’s a different game.

  • Debbie
    Posted at 20:47h, 07 August Reply

    My hubby lived on a farm when we were dating. (Just outside of Guelph). They had chickens and fresh eggs. We had them all the time. FYI.
    There is a house on the Jones Base Line, between Speedvale and Hwy # 7, that sells fresh eggs.
    Also, when I was a kid, the neighbours had chickens in their backyard and in the garage in the winter, in the middle of the city. (Guelph)

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:26h, 07 August Reply

      That’s fascinating. My father says they used to raise chickens when he was a child (in Guelph!) They raised them for the eggs. But it was the depression and most people had hens. I think they got day-old chicks, which would have been quite exciting for a child.

      I had no idea you could get fresh eggs on Jones Base Line. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll have to check it out. When my stash is gone I know I’ll be looking for more. And I have no hope of raising my own — that is if I want to stay married.

  • Judith Rutty Godfrey
    Posted at 09:29h, 09 August Reply

    Jude here, aka ‘mother’ of the flock! We’ll be keeping each of our chickens until their natural demise. And yes, they will keep laying as the years pass, although perhaps not as much. We do have a six year old Japanese Hybrid, Prius, who had stopped laying until the new “girls” arrived and loved her so much she’s a happy chicken once again–and laying again! Just never, ever try to figure out a chicken…but we do…and it’s always futile!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:58h, 09 August Reply

      “Never, ever try to figure out a chicken” – I think that will be my new motto! Love it. And I had no idea that Prius started laying again when she had new friends. Happiness is definitely a health factor.

      Thanks so much for sharing this information! And your eggs.

  • Corky
    Posted at 15:16h, 09 August Reply

    We have five girls that came into our lives almost two years ago. Two big Wyandotte girls, Wy and Dotte. They lay the smallest light buff colored eggs. A Buff Orington named Buffy who lays the darkest and biggest egg that has to really hurt as she pops it out. A black and silver Wyandotte named BC, she is our chatter box with smaller eggs. As a chick we arrived home to find her at the bottom of the enclosure. We thought she was a goner. Not knowing CPR he rubbed her chest and would puff into her little beak. She survived. She is at the bottom of the pecking order. To keep her from being picked on, Rhodie ( Rhode Island Red) came into our lives. Being the smallest we separated BC and Rhodie from the others. BC wanted to be with her friends, but with Rhodie being pecked we would let them get together, under supervision. When they finally were set outside to their new home, for the most part they would get along. That is if no food or worms are about. I believe they know their names, they seem to come when we call them or thump on the dried worm treat container. Rhodie stays by Dad while he gardens, hoping for worms. Both BC and Rhodie are the loners, Rhodie protects BC from Buffy, but not the Wy’s. BC and Rhodies have learned to run from the Wy’s if they are about to attack. They each have a personality of their own. I spend hours watching them forage for food. Kicking dirt into the air conditioning unit. Watching them race across the yard following each other. Sort of like monkey see, monkey do. If anyone has thoughts of raising chickens and are allowed to in you neighborhood, please do. They are a joy! It is said that if you name your pets, they will not be consumed. Well, our girls have names so they will be running around and not on our plates.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 20:30h, 09 August Reply

      Love the names you gave your girls! Very interesting to read about their social interactions. The term “pecking order” became a common idiom for a reason. I see it at the bird feeder with the wild birds, so I can only imagine how obvious it is with your hens.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I can see why you love raising the hens. While my cousin used different words, you sum up her experience when you write, “They are a joy!”

  • Heidi
    Posted at 16:14h, 28 September Reply

    Hi, new to country life and have been dreaming of my hen house. We have a wire fenced yard and will ad to a shed and make a separate pen for them, but my question is… if i want to let them free range supervised when i’m out with them, will they fly away or hop the four foot fence??

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:56h, 29 September Reply

      I don’t have hens, so asked my cousin, who provided the eggs in the photo. This is what she sent me via email: “Not to worry! The hens won’t be flying over a 4 foot high fence. The only possibility I see is if they were terribly frightened by something, but I suspect even then, they wouldn’t fly off. Hope she enjoys hen ownership.”

      So, you should be okay. Hope you enjoy raising hens. I would love to give it a try but haven’t the room. Please let me know how it goes. I’m dead jealous!

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