Backyard Chickens, Part 10 (Or What To Do With All Those Eggs)

You built your coop, you’ve lovingly fed your little cluckers for 5 months, and finally, your patience pays off!  The first egg!

If you are fortunate, it is a complete, intact egg.  (First attempts are occasionally a bit clumsy, with no shell- pretty cool to see, though- or oddly shaped).  You will remember and celebrate that first one.

You take it to the kitchen and plan carefully how to best use that special egg.  No pancake batter for this one!  Maybe a sunny-side up breakfast so you can fully appreciate its beautiful vivid yellow-orange yolk.

The next few oval gifts are almost as exciting.  You admire the speckled pattern on the shell and remark about how breakfast couldn’t get any fresher than that.

Some ham and cheese omelets.  Some egg salad.  Then you start running out of ideas.  And the investment in 25 pullets you made a few months ago is paying you back so fast you can hardly fit all the eggs in the fridge.

Now What?

1. Time to build some goodwill with your neighbors. 

Take your neighbors a dozen eggs each.  Stop and chat a while.  Use the time to find out their hobbies and background.  You never know how their skills could be a help someday and they will appreciate your interest.  I’ve found that old farmers especially have more useful and interesting knowledge than just about anyone.

Also, these occasional little gifts will go a long way to smoothing things over when one of your hens gets loose and takes one bite out of each of her first-of-the-season tomatoes.

2. Make a little money selling off your surplus “started pullets.”  You may even be able to sell some to the recipients of your goodwill eggs.

You’ve done the hard part- getting them through the early days when mortality rates can be high.  Now get a little return.  Depending on the breed (how rare, rate of lay, etc.), I’ve seen them go for anywhere from $5 – $20 apiece, though $10 is probably about average.

3. Consider charity.

My dear mother-in-law is involved in a food bank program at her church.  My sister-in-law generously provides several dozen eggs a week which must be a very welcome break from macaroni and cheese for the folks who rely on this ministry.

4. Branch out in your egg menus.  They aren’t just for breakfast.

Think about quiches, frittatas, deviled, and so on.  Eggs really are very healthy sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals (at least those from chickens raised in healthy backyard conditions).  Here are a few recipes to get you started.

And a quick favorite breakfast around here:

Individual Ham And Egg Bakes

Spray each spot in a muffin pan with non-stick spray.  Place a thin slice of ham or turkey in each space (“lunch meat” usually works).  Crack an egg into a cup and pour on top of the sliced meat.  Bake at 350 for 20 or so minutes.

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