FUN EGG FACTS




I have a small 2 acre farm in Roseville, California.  I raise purebred chickens and sell chicks and hatching eggs in
the spring. Extra eggs are sold for eating all year round. The flocks are allowed to free range (forage) and are
truly 'cage-free'.  Because I raise several different breeds, eggs in the cartons will not be uniform in size,
shape and color.  Each hen is an individual and lays eggs unique to her.

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about eggs.

Are your eggs 'organic'?
Federal regulations strictly define the term “organic.” When you see “organic” on the
label, you know that food was made with a set of farming and production practices defined and regulated, in
great detail, by the USDA.
I classify my poultry as 'natural'. My birds are fed high quality feed supplemented
with bugs they catch and fresh fruit and vegetables from my garden (grown with chicken poo). My birds receive
no hormones or antibiotics. I do not use any artificial means (i.e. lights in the winter) to keep them laying - I let
them follow their natural cycle, so sometimes there may be a shortage of eggs during extremely hot or cold
weather.

What is that blood I see in that egg? Occasionally you may see a 'blood spot' in an egg.  It doesn't mean that
the egg is fertile (although they are, as I keep roosters with all my flocks) - it is just a bit of blood from the hen
when the egg popped out of the original ovarian follicle. It lets you know the egg came from a real live hen!  I've
heard that blood spots are hereditary, which is why you rarely see them in commercial chicken eggs these days
(they've been bred out). Commercial egg producers candle their eggs and sell those with blood spots to be used
for purposes other than use as fresh eggs (baked goods for example). Blood spots are more frequent in brown
egg layers.  Both chemically and nutritionally, these eggs are fit to eat. The spot can be removed with the tip of a
knife if it bothers you, and the egg used. It will disappear when the egg is cooked... USDA regulations, however,
classify eggs with blood or meat spots as inedible. Less than 1% of all eggs produced have blood spots. Blood spots
result from hemorrhage of a small blood vessel in the ovary or oviduct. If the blood spot is on the yolk, the
hemorrhage was probably in the ovary at the time of ovulation or in the infundibulum part of the oviduct before
albumen was laid down. If the blood spot is in the albumen, the hemorrhage probably occurred in the wall of the
magnum part of the oviduct. Meat spots are degenerated blood spots, loose pieces of ovary or oviduct tissue, or
cuticle remnants swept up to the magnum and included in the albumen. Leghorn strains vary in the number of eggs
they lay with blood spots. Eggs from brown-egg layers will usually show a higher incidence of blood and meat spots
than those from white-egg strains. Ambient temperature has also been shown to have an effect on the incidence
of blood spots. Fewer blood spots have been observed with Leghorn hens at 32°C (89.6°F) than with Leghorn hens
at 21°C (69.8°F).

How long will eggs stay fresh in my refrigerator? This is from “USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
presents: The Egg Handling Handbook”: Use raw shell eggs within 3 to 5 weeks.  Hard-cooked eggs will keep 1
week. Use leftover yolks and whites within 4 days.  The eggs you buy from me are very fresh – a week or less old.
Some are gathered they day you get them. They will keep at least a month in your refrigerator.

Why are fresh eggs so hard to peel after they are hard boiled?  Fresh eggs have less air inside the shell.
Older eggs have a larger cell of air, allowing for easier peeling, so use older eggs for hard-boiling. I gather eggs
every day and the eggs you get from me are fresher than any you buy in the store.  Because they are so fresh,
you will find that if you hard boil them, it is difficult to remove the shell.  After an egg ages, it loses moisture
and the membrane pulls away making it easier to peel.  

Is there a trick to hard cooking fresh eggs? Here is how I hard boil eggs: Start with COLD eggs. Bring a big
pot of water to a boil and splash in a big dollop of cooking oil.  With a push pin, poke a small hole through the shell
of each egg on the WIDE end. Carefully lower each egg into the water. Bring back to a simmer then cover and
simmer for 18 minutes. Cool in ice water.

What is that green ring around the yolk of my hard boiled egg? That occurs when eggs are overcooked. It is
a chemical reaction between sulfur and iron. The egg is completely safe to eat.

What does it mean if the white part of an uncooked egg appears cloudy? That is an indication that the egg
is very fresh. Over time, the white part of the egg, also known as the albumin, turns clears.

How long does it take for a hen to lay an egg? 25 hours from the initial phase of ovulation to egg laying. After
the egg is laid, her body will rest for approximately 30 minutes and then she will ovulate again and start the
entire process over.

What does it mean when an egg floats in water? As soon as an egg is laid, air begins to enter through the
pores in the shell. A floating egg means that enough air has entered the shell to make the egg float. However
according to the USDA, it does not mean that the egg is bad, it is just older. The USDA recommends cracking
the egg into the bowl and inspecting it. A spoiled egg will smell badly. Those eggs should be discarded.

Do you need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs? No, only if you want to hatch baby chicks. Yes, you can eat
fertilized eggs. They should be refrigerated promptly, especially in warmer weather as a fertilized egg will begin
embryological development above 80 degrees Fahrenheit according to the University of Illinois.
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