Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Farm Photo: Somebody's Laying Green Eggs


Woohoo!

"How many chickens do you have now?" asked my foodie mom, who thoroughly enjoyed some breakfasts of fresh fried eggs on toasted Farmhouse White during her recent holiday visit.

"Seventeen."

"Seventeen? How'd you get so many?"

"They just keep hatching!"

"Oh, that's right—you have a rooster now."

I've been raising chickens for 10 years, and our eggs have always been brown or white. The white hens lay white eggs, the brown hens lay brown eggs, and the black hens lay brown eggs, though Joe says he's had white hens who laid brown eggs.

Back in June 2007, when little old Whitey got her motherly wish and was given a dozen fertilized eggs to sit on, three of those eggs were green (scroll down the page on the above link to see them)—and at least one of them produced a chick. Several of the seven chicks that Whitey hatched turned out to be roosters, and none of the hens lays green eggs.

But the six hens born last April, who are all related to Whitey's original chicks, have recently started laying (which means we're now averaging 49 eggs a week!), and one of them is giving us green eggs. The other five are laying brown eggs of various shades, even though one of the hens is white. I think the green egg layer is the gorgeous black and white one you can see in the top of this photo, but I don't know for sure.

What I do know is that I've always loved green eggs. Some people say the color doesn't affect the flavor, but it's always seemed to me that the green ones taste just a little bit better. Whether they really do or not, I'm thrilled to finally have some.

Chickens and eggs that came before:
7/1/07: On Loving Lettuce and Eggs on Salad for Breakfast
4/20/08: Chick Days Are Here! (Hatching Photos)
11/11/08: Farm Fresh Eggs, They're What's for Breakfast
3/7/09: Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Ouch.
10/25/09: Egg Layers, the Next Generation
Links to lots more chick pics

© Copyright 2010 FarmgirlFare.com, the ready for Easter foodie farm blog where all we need now is some ham.

28 comments:

  1. Susan, I think you have a hen who is part Americauna or Araucana. Those are the only two breeds that I know of that produce green and blue eggs. The hen has markings like one too. We have several in our coop...love 'em!...Also, don't know if it's true, but I have been told that they are actually a bit lower in cholesterol to boot. Blessings~ Liz
    http://araratacres.blogspot.com

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  2. An easter egger! How exciting. We have a little flock of 3 chickens, a Rhode Island Red, who lays brown eggs, and 2 easter eggers who lay green eggs. One of ours looks like the golden yellow chicken directly to the left (and also 2 to the right) of the black chicken you suspect is laying them (The other is brown and gold). I love the green eggs too, they're just so pretty! Not to mention how much better fresh home grown eggs are - the yolks are almost orange and as round as ping pong balls! Sure, they're a little smaller, but I'll never go back to giant pale supermarket eggs again!

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  3. Araucana's are the birds with the blue and green eggs. We had a white one when I was a kid. They come in all different colors but all have tufts, beards, or some sort of fanciness on their faces. If you have a mix breed with Araucana in it which you must odds are she has some hint of tufting on her head as I believe it is a dominant trait. Either way they make great layers and are usually known for being quite friendly. In fact the one we had was the only chicken my family had when I was growing up that got named but of course I can’t remember what we called her.

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  4. When I was a kid, I SWORE that the green M & Ms (back when they were actually rare) tasted different then the ordinary brown ones.

    I love homemade eggs!

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  5. Love your platter of eggs, the green ones really give it nice contrast. So pretty! Seeing those fresh eggs makes me want to start up the oven and get baking!

    As far as I've always known, hens with red ears will lay brown eggs. I have no idea what color ears hens who lay green eggs will have though!! We never had a hen that layed green eggs!! I'm not sure if feather color plays too much into it, but maybe it does?

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  6. We used to have one who layed green eggs too, but at the end of last year our chickens started dropping like flie, so I guess it's time to start thinking of ordering some more. Wish we could keep a rooster but my neighbors would hate me even more I had a rooster, lol

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  7. SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE EXTRA ROOSTERS THAT YOU DON'T WANT OR NEED? WE'RE HOPING FOR LITTLE CHICKS THIS SPRING...

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  8. Apparently, and you can correct me if I am wrong, but the colour of the eggs a chicken lays corresponds with the colour of their ears. White ears result in white, or light green eggs. Reddish ears correspond to brown or light blue eggs. I don't know how true it is, you'll have to check!
    Also, supposedly, breeds with a Mediterranean heritage lay white eggs, American breeds lay brown and the green and blue eggs are of South American heritage.

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  9. Those eggs are gorgeous!!! Please...tell me what you do with 49 eggs (approximately!) a week????

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  10. I've been wanting chickens for the past while and this Christmas Santa gave me several books on breeds and care and such... my only hesitation is ease of care and sickness. All I've ever had, animal-wise, is cats (though both sets of grandparents had farms with various animals so I'm not entirely a city-slicker). Well, I have a 5 and 3yr old boys, so those count too, right?

    Are they hard to keep, chickens?

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  11. I love the fact that our two hens lay different colored eggs. That way, I know who's laying and who's being lazy.

    Accountability is key with chickens.

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  12. This might be a silly question, but is the inside of the green eggs green as well? Are the whites green?

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  13. I love the beautiful blue color of the inside of the shell of the green and blue eggs. My FIL sent some over and it was the hardest thing to throw the shells away. I wish that I could paint a wall or two that blue. Love farm fresh eggs. I'm curious too, what do you do with 49 eggs a week?

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  14. I think those Easter Chickens are the coolest! I'm still working on my husband to get some chickens as well as milk goats or a few sheep. But so far he keeps saying no. I'll have to go to Jacob's Cave this coming May and do what I normally do; just bring some home with me. How can he say no then??? That's how I got my dog!

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  15. We get our eggs from a CSA, at least until I can convince my husband that urban chicken coops are a good idea, anyway, we always have brown eggs. Different shades but always brown. Then last week we had two green ones! I was somewhat taken aback...until adulthood white eggs were all I'd ever had. But I cracked it open into a coffee cup, separate from the baking bowl I was mixing in, just to see...would it be ok? And of course it was!

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  16. maybe that is where Dr.Seuss got his "Green EGGS and Ham" HEHE
    not sure I have seen a green egg before let alone eat one. but i do know I think the brown eggs taste a bit better than the white one.
    love your blog thanks for sharing!

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  17. What do you do with the chicks who are roosters?

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  18. How pretty your egg baskets must be!

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  19. Aren't the green eggs beautiful? We have Araucana's and their eggs range from a robins egg blue to a light tint of green.
    How exciting for you! I have an Araucana broody right now. The rooster is a Plymouth Barred Rock, so if she hatches I'm not sure what the chick will look like. Can't wait!
    -Staci

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  20. Hi Everybody,
    I'm loving all these chicken and egg comments. I especially enjoy hearing about your own chicken raising memories and adventures.

    I'll be back here hopefully tomorrow to answer your questions - after I've had a chance to carefully inspect some chicken ears for color! ;)

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  21. An old friend of my grandparents used to keep chickens, goats, and other small livestock down by her house. Every so often I was allowed to help out (read: get in the way and out of my grandmother's hair). On those rare occasions that I could visit I remember stealing green and brown and white and BLUE and PINK eggs from her chickens as well. About the size of a ping pong ball, her little Aracunia chickens loved laying rainbow eggs. I always got a kick out of having Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast!

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  22. The true "Green Eggs" of Green Eggs and Ham. I've always imagined they tasted better!

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  23. I've always liked getting colored eggs. I don't have an araucana anymore but I have a couple of marans. They lay really dark brown eggs. Here's a picture:
    http://wilamarfarm.blogspot.com/2010/01/chocolate-eggs.html

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  24. On our calendar this year I used a picture of eggs! Almost looks like your picture! Love my chickens!

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  25. Here in New England, The Egg industry used to have a tv ad which jingled "brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh." I guess brown hens just weren't popular elsewhere. A friend brought his California girlfriend out east to ski, and I made breakfast for a large group. She had never seen a brown egg and had to watch me crack the first one open to see what it looked like on the inside. LOL
    ~ Aili

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  26. Hi Everybody,
    I got a little sidetracked (who, me?), but I really do plan to answer your questions - hopefully in the next day or two. Thanks for your patience - I don't know where the last five days went!

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  27. I'm baaack!
    Thanks for all of your great comments and helpful egg info.

    I knew that Araucana and Americauna chickens are the ones who lay green and blue eggs, but since my hens are of unknown (to me, at least) mixed breed heritage, I guess I never thought to investigate what those breeds usually look like. Um, duh. : )

    As for those of you who mentioned the color of a hen's ears determining the color of her eggs, I did some decidedly non-scientific investigating, and as far as I can tell, we have no chickens with green ears. I'm not a chicken anatomy expert, though, and I'll admit to having trouble finding any ears on some of the hens. (I mean, do you ever even think about chickens having ears? I really don't - though of course I know they can hear. Okay, I'll stop now before I really sound like an idiot.)

    Anyway, I did notice that a couple of hens have greenish feet, including the black and white one I'm thinking is the green egg layer. What's interesting is that everybody else in that coop is laying brown eggs, including a white hen.

    All I know is that I'm thrilled to have one green egg layer! : )


    Julie and Becky,
    We usually sell or give away our extra roosters. In fact, the friend who brought Whitey those eggs she hatched out in 2007 is supposed to come by to pick up the big white rooster in with these hens - but it's taken her so long, the latest chicks have grown up enough to see that at least one is a rooster, so I'm going to make her take two. ; )

    Back in 2001 when I ordered chicks from a hatchery, though, we ended up with 9 roosters despite paying extra for pullets (females) only. So we ate some of them. : )

    Barb and All8,
    What do we do with 49 eggs a week? Well, right after I announced that, the girls cut back their laying a little, so we aren't getting quite that many. And since these are mostly eggs from new layers, they're pretty small, and we go through the rather quickly. (As the hen gets older, the eggs usually get bigger, though not always.) For example, Joe can easily eat five fried eggs with toast for breakfast.

    I'm also a big believer in giving the dogs raw eggs, and Daisy and Marta, our big livestock guardians, each eat several a week. And of course I use them for baking, we snack on hard-boiled eggs, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, though - the eggs are starting to pile up! Fortunately they'll stay good for months in our cool pantry.

    A few years ago when we were getting 100 eggs a week, I sold the extras to a natural foods store, but that can be kind of a pain.

    To be continued in another comment (blogger thinks mine are too long.;)

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  28. Kelly,
    You asked if chickens are hard to keep. In my experience, they are fairly low maintenance and not costly to have around, but just like with any animals, you can go to extremes in either direction.

    Some people just let their chickens run around loose and leave them to fend for themselves, while others have beautiful coops that cost several thousand dollars and feed their hens fancy, high priced food. We're somewhere in the middle. : )

    In my experience, if you supply your chickens with good food, a clean place to live, plenty of fresh water, and lots of room to flap around, they'll live happy and healthy lives. Whitey, the matriarch of our flock, is 10 years old!

    One of the most important things you need to do with chickens is keep them safe from predators such as racoons, coyotes, dogs, etc. - and depending on your location and situation, this can be easy or really, really hard.

    Amy,
    No questions are silly! The inside of the green eggs aren't green - they look just like white or brown eggs, though a chicken who is eating high quality, 'real' food will lay eggs with beautiful orange yolks (such as the ones you see here) that taste fabulous!

    All8,
    Years ago, when Martha Stewart came out with her first line of custom paint colors, several of them were based on the colors of her hens' eggs! : )

    Tina F.,
    I love those dark brown 'chocolate' eggs. (Thanks for including a link to yours.) They're so gorgeous. If I ever order chicks from a hatchery again, I definitely want to get some of that breed.

    Aili,
    Not long ago I was reading an article about farming, and a woman was saying how she's constantly surprised by how little many people know about where their food comes from. She'd overheard a woman telling some guy that all chicken eggs are brown, and that the white ones you see in the grocery store have been bleached!

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