Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Funky Eggs

Dear Junosmom:
I have hens in my backyard.  My eggs are tasting funky.  Any ideas?

Dear Elizabeth,
Backyard eggs should taste no different from store bought eggs, although they should be more fresh and the whites should "stand up" more when the egg is broken.  The shell color and yolk color (free-ranged chickens often have more colorful yolks) will not affect the taste.

So, a little detective work is in order.  I would start with "What goes in, must come out" and investigate the food your hens consume.  It is possible that foods fed to the hens could be affecting egg taste.  Onions, garlic, and members of the Brassica family of vegetables (cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli) could be the culprit if fed in large quantities.  Feeding table scraps?   Chickens are omnivores, but large quantities of meat and fish are probably not natural.  Try removing all kitchen and garden waste from your hens' diet.  Does that change the taste?  If not, try another brand of layer feed.

Secondly, make sure that the coop is clean and has fresh bedding.   Eggs should be collected daily and refrigerated.  Any cracked eggs should be discarded as bacteria can enter through the cracks.  If the eggs are dirty when collected, brush them off, but do not wash them.  Washing removes a protective coating on the eggs and they should not be washed until right before usage.  Unwashed eggs can be stored without spoiling at room temperatures for up to two weeks.

If these measures don't improve egg taste, you might consider not allowing them to free range for a week to see if they are perhaps ingesting something in your yard that give them an off taste.

Most people find that backyard eggs, because of the freshness, are better for eating.  The exception to this might be in making hard boiled eggs.  Older eggs seem to peel more easily, while fresh eggs can be tough to peel.

Some people will tell you that your problem is eating something that comes from the butt of a chicken in the first place, but the same "some people" doesn't even eat lettuce so you have to take into account the source.

Good eating,

The horses were much more, shall we say, respectful when I called them to come in at 6 p.m. last evening.  In fact, they were dancing in place like dressage horses.  I cannot understand how deer can stand living outside in this type of weather, or any animal for that matter.

Finished reading Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men.  More on that later.
On my Kindle:  Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy) for me, The Railway Children for William

1 comment:

Travis Erwin said...

Junosmom ... the hen whisperer.


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