Interesting Facts About Chicken Eggs

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The egg is a pretty simple thing.  Full of protein and very inexpensive, the egg is part of human diets worldwide and has been for thousands of years. Its smooth and unassuming texture and taste lend it to usage in cooking styles of innumerable variety. Yet, have you ever sat and contemplated the egg? It may be more interesting than you think.

Why Do Some Chickens Lay White Eggs and Others Brown Eggs?

The color of the chicken, and specifically the color of the chicken’s earlobes, determines the color of the egg. Sounds strange, right? Yet, according to NPR, it is absolutely true ( According to the American Egg Board, feather color also determines egg color. If a chicken has white ear lobes, its eggs will be white. If it has brown or reddish ear lobes, its eggs will be brown. There are always exceptions to this rule, but in general the ear lobe rule works well. Egg color is a breed characteristic. Neither white nor brown eggs are healthier. An egg is an egg.

Egg size, just like color, is dependent on the breed of chicken. Egg size is also determined by the age and weight of the chicken.

Have Chicken Eggs Always Been About the Same Size?

If you read a recipe from Colonial America, one thing will stand out right away. They called for a ridiculous amount of eggs, such as 7-8 per recipe! Why? The eggs laid by the typical colonial backyard chicken were considerably smaller than the average supermarket egg of today. As chickens eggs entered the mass-produced, grocery-store market, consumers sought large, generally white, and uniform sized eggs in their prepackaged dozen. Breeds that produced these large, white eggs, such as the Leghorn, were chosen over traditional breeds. While many egg colors and sizes exist, the large, white Leghorn egg has become a standard in modern society.  If you have a variety of backyard birds, don’t expect your eggs to all be the same size and color. You’re sure to get a much more eclectic mix!

Did Sailors Really Bring Chickens on the Ships of Old?

Yes! It was extremely common to find small chicken coops on sailing ships throughout history. There was no better way to provide the crew with fresh eggs than to keep some low maintenance chickens on board. Other ships carried huge amounts of livestock to meet the needs of passengers. The Great Britain (1852-1876) carried 550 chickens on its 1861 voyage from Melbourne to England, as well as lambs, oxen, 30 pigs, 250 ducks, 55 turkeys, and 150 sheep. Now that’s one full ship (including, of course, the 750 passengers and 130 crew members) (

Egg-Laying Has Nothing to Do With A Rooster

One last egg-related thought for you: Do you have to have a rooster in order for your hens to lay eggs? No. Hens will lay eggs whether or not they have ever seen a rooster in their life. A rooster is not a necessary part of your flock if you want eggs. If you want fertilized eggs and thus chicks, a rooster is required.

Who knew eggs were so interesting?



Keeping Chickens as Pets

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It’s popular to keep chickens for eggs and for meat, but what about keeping a chicken as a pet? In some countries, this is actually quite popular. Cat, dog, or chicken? Any chicken can ideally be a pet if raised gently, but some breeds make much better pets than others. Keeping a chicken as a pet isn’t much different from regular chicken husbandry, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Start From the Beginning

There are few things quite as rewarding from raising a chicken from an egg, or at least a very young chick. One can purchase young chicks online or from their local farm supply store and must keep them in an incubator for the first several weeks. The more you handle them and the gentler you are with them, the more your chicks will trust you and respond well to human touch. Squat down to handle your chicks, don’t make fast motions, feed them from your hands, and make sure that small children don’t run around them or handle them roughly. Teach your children to handle them gently, to feed them, and to treat the birds well. This is an excellent chance to educate your children and sure to create a lasting relationship between your kids and your family’s new pets.

Some Breeds Are Better Choices Than Others

While all chickens can make decent pets, some are naturally better tempered than others. Hens are the best choice and quiet, gentle breeds make the best bets. Bantam chickens are much smaller than regular breeds, making them easier to hold. Looks, coloring, and size are all a matter of preference.

Silkie Chickens make excellent pets and their silk-like feathers make them appealing to hold as well. Docile, soft, and easy to carry, the Silkie Chicken is the ideal pet. They are friendly, especially if they’re been handled frequently from the time they were young. Silkie Chickens also make excellent mothers, so if you want to increase the size of your flock this breed may be just what you’re looking for.

Ameraucana chickens are also popular pets and an added perk is that they lay lovely, colorful eggs. They are known for their unique looks and their gentle temperament. They are not the best egg layers when it comes to quantity, but they are good with children, easy to care for, and even-tempered.

Other breeds that make excellent pets are Cochins, Mille Fleurs, Brahmas, Austerlorps, Sussex, Plymouth Rocks, and Buff Orpingtons. No matter which breed you choose, do your research! Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Keeping Your Pets Safe

Before buying your first chicks, take account of the pets you already have. Dogs and chickens often don’t mix well. Certain breeds, like Jack Russell Terriers, have been bred to kill small creatures. A chasing, nipping dog can easily kill a chicken. Training a puppy to be gentle with chicks and chickens is much easier than training a full-grown dog to do the same things. Even when you have trained your dog, it’s never wise to leave your dog alone with your pet chickens. The results can be disastrous. The same can be said for cats. Keep in mind that many creatures prey on chickens and that you must take extra precautions to keep your pets from becoming another animal’s dinner.

The Ultimate Food—Are Eggs Really Good For You?

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It is the best of foods; it is the worst of foods. It’s been heralded as a super food once or twice, then scorned as a cholesterol-laden poison. So, what is truth and what is farce when it comes to the simple egg? Nature’s most simple meal, eggs have been eaten since the beginning of human history. Used in a huge variety of recipes as well as eaten alone, the egg is a rich source of protein and is very easy to obtain. Should you make eggs a regular part of your diet? It depends on whom you ask.

The Truth About Cholesterol

One large egg averages between 63-84 calories (sources vary widely). It contains 186- 213 mg of cholesterol (source vary here too) and approximately 6 grams of fat. Eating too much cholesterol will adversely affect your heart and may lead to high cholesterol levels and heart disease. One who suffers from high cholesterol may not want to eat a dozen eggs per week. According to Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck of the Mayo Clinic, eating four or fewer egg yolks weekly shouldn’t put you at an increased risk for heart disease (

A healthy human should keep their daily dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. Someone with diabetes or heart disease should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams daily. One egg weighs in very close to that limit. So, if you have cholesterol problems or heart disease, it would be wise to limit your egg intake and be conscious of how much dietary cholesterol you are consuming daily. If you absolutely love eggs and can’t part with them, consider egg whites instead of yolks. Moderation is key.

Yet the Benefits Outweigh Everything Else

Eggs are rich in vitamins, bursting with Vitamins B12, B2, B5, Selenium, and Tryptophan. These compounds work together to keep your body functioning well.   The protein found in eggs will keep you full longer, potentially aiding in weight loss. As part of a healthy diet, eggs are a true super food. lists a variety of interesting health benefits from eggs ( Eggs may benefit your eyes and reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Eggs help regulate your cardiovascular system, brain, and nervous system. Eggs promote healthy hair and nail growth too. That’s a lot for such a small food.

Eggs also supply a much needed dose of choline. According to, 90% or more of Americans don’t get enough choline in their daily diets ( Pregnant women should be especially aware of this, since choline in needed for healthy brain and memory development. Choline is needed for cellular health in people of all ages and a deficiency can lead to fatty liver and hemorrhagic kidney necrosis. In children and adults alike, choline can help improve the memory.

The Best Eggs of All

Eggs are inexpensive and readily available. Yet much of what is available at the grocery store comes from commercially farmed chickens. While still nutritious, there is an even better option. Organic, home-grown (or free-range and purchased from your local health food store or farmer’s market) eggs are much richer in nutrients than their commercially-raised alternatives.

According to a study by “Mother Earth News,” pasture-raised chickens produce eggs that have 2/3 times more vitamin A than commercially produced eggs. These eggs also have twice the omega-3 fatty acids, three times more vitamin E, and seven times more beta carotene. Not to mention, non-commercial chickens produce eggs that have 1/3 less cholesterol. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, this is good news! They also have fewer toxins, are less likely to be infected with salmonella, and taste phenomenal.

The egg is a simple yet healthy way to start your day. The benefits are innumerable. Crack one open today and pave your way toward better health.


Raising Chickens for Eggs

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“We can see a thousand miracles around us every day,” said famous American clergyman and Christian radio broadcaster Samuel Parkes Cadman, “What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?” Whether used to expand the size of your flock or for a regular supply of food, eggs are a miraculous thing. What other item can either turn into another laying hen (if fertilized), or become a protein-rich and versatile food source for humans? Raising chickens for eggs is a relatively inexpensive way to provide one’s family with a constant supply of wholesome, nutritious eggs. It can also be a good business. Organic, free-range chicken eggs are in high demand.

Make Sure It’s Legal and Build Your Coop

Before you order your first chicks, make sure that raising backyard chickens is legal where you live. Build a chicken coop such as those found at here on my site, prepare your chicken run, and gather all supplies. Make sure that your chickens have a safe, enclosed place to sleep at night and laying boxes for their eggs. Research the best type of chicken for your purpose and geographical area and do your homework on how to raise chickens. The Internet is a good source for information, as is your local library or bookstore. The better educated you are on the topic, the better your chicken raising experience will be.

Photo by: Bryan Jones
Photo by: Bryan Jones

Choose the Best Layers for You

There are hundreds of different chicken breeds in existence and one size certainly does not fit all when it comes to choosing the perfect breed for you. Some chickens are layers, some are broilers (meat chickens), and some are dual purpose. Even among layers, the variety is huge. Some breeds lay over 200 eggs annually, while others lay closer to 80.

Leghorn chickens are consistent laying birds that produce around 300 eggs annually. Rhode Island Reds, Red Stars, Light Sussex, Plymouth Rock, and Barred Rock chickens are also fantastic layers. Chickens that are great layers as well as great mother hens (“broody” hens) who will care for her chicks include the Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Cuckoo Maran, and the Light Sussex. If you do not have a rooster and only raise eggs for food, then a great layer who is not broody is a good choice. If you would like the possibility of baby chicks, a broody hen is a better option because she’ll readily sit on and care for her own eggs. 2-4 hens are a good amount to start out with if you want a steady supply of eggs for your family. Don’t buy too many birds in the beginning, as you can quickly become overwhelmed with the number of eggs they produce.

Caring For Your Layers

Chickens eat nearly constantly and enjoy a wide variety of foods. Chicken feed, vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds are all healthy choices. Feed your chickens daily or use a large, self-feeding container that holds several days’ worth of feed. They’ll also eat bugs and worms from your yard. On average, a laying hen will eat ¼ lb of feed each day. This amount is variable and will depend on your specific hen. Regardless, chickens like to eat!

Chickens also need access to clean water, and a large watering container is a good option. A modern watering container can store 3-5 gallons of water and regulates the water into a trough that is not too deep to risk drowning while also offering a steady supply of water. These are available online as well as farmer supply stores.

Provide your hens with a safe home, sunlight, fresh air, and lots of room to exercise. Clean their coop regularly to reduce the risk of illness or disease or use a chicken tractor to keep their living area fresh and your yard fertilized. Raising chickens for eggs is not hard to do and, with a little bit of self-education and experience, you’ll soon be enjoying an abundant supply of fresh eggs. Good luck!

My Top 5 Reasons for Raising My Own Chickens…

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Today I thought I’d list some of the top reasons I personally think just about anyone should consider raising their own chickens…

(after reading the article, please share your own reasons for raising chickens by posting a comment at the bottom of this page! 😉 )

1. The eggs are healthier!

healthy eggs











Photo by artbystevejohnson

Eggs from properly raised “backyard chickens” are sooo much healthier than store-bought ones.

Chicken factory farms has one single goal: to make the chickens produce eggs as quickly and cheaply as possible. This results in an unvaried and unnatural diet and in many cases they will be given various hormones and antibiotics.

On the other hand, chickens that are allowed to forage freely, peck for insects and engage in their natural behavior will provide you with considerably healthier eggs, free from hormones or other unnatural substances and are brimming with nutrition!

2. The Taste!

Chickens eating a varied, nutritious diet will result in more flavorful eggs.

Many people who eat an egg from a properly raised “backyard chicken” will be surprised by the the strong flavors as well as the intense, almost orange color of the yolk compared to their store counterparts.

3. Garden Benefits!

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Photo by celesteh

Chicken droppings enrich your compost. Chicken droppings are high in nitrogen. Added to the compost bin they add more nitrogen and improve your compost.

Chickens provide natural insect control. As they hunt and peck around the yard, chickens gobble up grubs, earwigs and other bugs, treating our garden pests as tasty, nutritious treats.

Even their scratching for bugs will benefit your garden by aerating the soil and breaking down larger pieces resulting in an accelerated decomposition process!

4. Chickens Are Fun & Educational

Chickens are extremely easy to raise. Essentially, all they need is space, food and shelter.

Believe it or not, raising chickens can also be a lot of FUN! Just like dogs or cats, every chicken has its own personality traits and just sitting down on your lawn watching them can provide a lot of entertainment 🙂

Lastly, raising chickens provides a great learning experience, for children and adults alike! You’ll also quickly notice how your values towards animals and the value of the quality of food and where it comes from change.

5. Freedom From the Industrial Food Industry

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Photo by qmnonic

In these uncertain times, moving towards self-sufficiency is a great goal and producing your own eggs is a great step in the right direction. If you’re into gardening, that can take care of a lot of your fruit and vegetables needs. Cows, sheep, and goats are too big and cumbersome for most yards, while chickens are small, relatively quiet, willing to eat just about anything, and they can produce a steady stream of eggs.

These are my own personal top reasons I love keeping my own chickens…

All the best,
John White

PS. Do you have your own top list? Share it here below by leaving a comment!