Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spot the backyard grown egg

Before we got chickens, we always bought the best eggs we could find, short of going to the farmers market each week. We bought from a local farm, Stiebrs, where the hens are cage free and the eggs are organic. They are Certified Humane and the hens are naturally cared for and never given antibiotics or hormones.

But, I guess it just can't compare to backyard grown eggs. The color and composition just isn't the same as fresh eggs. I still can't get over that I have pets that produce something edible without killing them. It's just mind boggling.

Can you spot the store bought egg in this picture?


Kerry said...

i don't know about the US but here in Canada there are laws about selling TRUE free range eggs - chickens that are allowed to hunt up their own grub (GRUBS and insects) are outlawed as far as open egg sales go (I can buy them at the farm gate but they can't sell to a restaurant). I'm a guessing that bright YELLOW as opposed to the two with the beautiful orangey yellow yolks is your store/farm bought egg.

lisa said...

My cat produces something the Dog.


Robj98168 said...

Laughing @lisa--- YOur dog thinks he is eating Almond Roca !

caron said...

My inlaws have kept chickens for years, and the first time that I cooked one I was sure that they spoiled because the yoke was such a different color than the standard grocery store eggs. They had a good laugh at my ignorance:)

Brad K. said...


The difference in color goes with breed of chicken, with maturity of the hen, feed of course, amount of activity - and how old the egg is.

You may find that fresher eggs aren't the first choice for every use, too.

And keep in mind - if you want to sell to the public, you may have to compromise, pick the practices that produce the egg (color yolk, weight of egg, etc.) that the public expects. Either that or spend the time, money, and effort to educate customers. But that means selecting people that have the time and inclination to learn about your product, and the wit to look at what they see. Which sometimes restricts the immediate market.

How are you cleaning the eggs when gathered? I am curious how others manage this.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Brad K, I have to disagree that breed has much to do with egg yolk color. Maybe to some degree, but it is the feed, insects, grass, and forbs that are ingested that make the deep yellow color. We color-coded our laying flock for culling purposes every other year, but we always had a mix of heritage breed hens and pastured intensively 7 - 8 months of the year, the yolk color changed with the season and availability of chlorophyll from the grass and the seasonal insects during the growing season. Shell color varied from breed to breed, but never the yolks much.

Steibrs is in organics for the money, they market too many different lines of eggs to be truly trustworthy. We sold eggs to CSA's in Portland in addition to restaurants, and used recycled cartons from the share members - I got a real education reading those egg cartons, Steibrs had at 6 and counting types of eggs, with different houses and feed for each. Barring having your own hens finding a small farmer at the market or bartering with a neighbor is the best way to find eggs that are good for you.

Brad K, the best way to avoid washing eggs is too have clean eggs - the easiest way to do this is to keep the hens from the nest at night, since they poop during sleep. And locate perches, food and water away from nest boxes so the hens have clean(er) feet when entering the nest. The best nests are the commercial style with a removable bottom for a thorough cleaning, and a closeable perch for keeping the hens out at night. Now available in small sizes for the urban chicken owner. Well worth the money, to have clean eggs. Eggs shouldn't have the bloom washed off, but of course if the egg has a gigantic turd, it should be cleaned or fed to the dog IMHO. I just try to avoid the giant turds beforehand.

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

Hi CC,

A little like Mud Mama, a small producer in the UK has to be registered unless they sell their eggs over the farm gate or to friends.

But the difference between a battery hen egg and a free range hen egg is like chalk and cheese!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on having your own chickens and such beautiful and nutritious eggs!

I agree with Throwback at Trapper Creek about how to keep the eggs clean. Gathering the eggs daily and keeping a good amount of clean straw in the nest boxes is also important to prevent eggs from breaking. Also, giving the hens access to oyster shell for supplemental calcium makes for strong egg shells and hens that are not tempted to crack and eat their own eggs.

When messes do happen though, either via poop in the nest or egg breakage, I clean them with warm water and a scouring pad reserved solely for cleaning eggs.

Green Bean said...

The difference is amazing, isn't it!?? Here is the Bay Area, I was buying Glaum and had had a friend visit their egg farm. It was the best you could hope for short of farmers market or backyard. Now, for fun, try separating the yolks from the whites in a backyard egg and in a storebought egg. The backyard eggs (or farmers market eggs) separate sooooo easily with the yolks rarely breaking. They're beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I also was amazed when I first starting raising my own chickens.
Trapper Creek is right on breeds/color and keeping them clean.
We get to feed our chickens, almost free ranged if not for the fox, our Alaska salmon waste. That makes the yolks so ORANGE I still can't believe it.
Thanks for showing this difference

Susan Och said...

I like the way the backyard eggs stand up in the pan instead of running all over. I've heard chefs say that they have to cut down on the number of eggs in a cake when they're using backyard eggs.

I used to try to sell eggs, but I've found that when I have a flock that's small enough, I can feed them mostly scraps and yard waste and let them forage for bugs and buy very little feed. A bigger flock needs more feed and the economy is lost. Now I try to convince people who want to buy eggs to keep a few hens themselves.

Vern said...

Without a doubt, the yellower yolked egg on the right is the factory farm raised, store-bought egg. The eggs laid by chickens that eat a natural diet have orange-ish yolks.

Unknown said...

Our chickens lay eggs with yolks ranging in color from bright yellow (although never as pale as a store bought egg) to a deep orange that kind of freaks people out the first time they see it. And of course the scrambled eggs look like a crayon they're so yellow. I think the yolk color is all about what they eat.

MplsChickens said...

Hey there. I know this post was a little while ago, but thought Id ask anyways. Do you know anything about keeping chickens outside in the winter? I live in Minneapolis and its my first time having chickens. I saw a video on the perennial plate ( where they keep a heat lamp during the winter for warmth. Is that something I should try?