Cream, Buff, Beige, Tan, and Chocolate!

Apr 19, 2019 | 0 comments

The Evening Bounty – 4/18/2019

The girls had gone to roost by the time I arrived at the coop last evening.  Twilight was morphing into darkness and I could just make out the day’s egg production in the nest boxes. Five!  One from each hen.  I thanked them collectively – so much easier than when there are fewer eggs than hens and I’m not sure who should get the day’s praise.

If only I knew which belonged to what color egg, I’d be home free.  All of them are in the brown tones, but each a different shade from so light that it appears white in photographs to one that is a rich chocolate brown.  They make a wonderful display in the egg boxes.

A dozen store-bought, stark white eggs seem so boring to me these days.  Even the color of the yolks seems bland by comparison to our free-ranging girls and they (the yolks) certainly don’t stand up so perkily in the frying pan as the ones from our coop.  Taste-wise?  I honestly can’t tell the difference… but don’t tell the girls.  On the other hand, friends who are recipients of our home-grown eggs rave over their flavor… so maybe I just have jaded taste buds.

It is a myth, of course, that brown eggs taste better or are more nutritious or any of that other marketing nonsense you might hear.  The shell color is just a matter of genetics and pigment.  Some breeds produce one color; some another.  And, although there is some variation on a day-to-day basis, even with a single hen, the differences are so subtle as to be unnoticeable.

From Farmer Nyel’s Finest

I’ve always thought that the reason for the white commercial eggs was all a matter of marketing and, I guess, in a way that’s true. Leghorns lay white eggs.  They also happen to eat less than many other hen varieties so they’re cheaper to raise plus they happen to be very good, reliable layers – all great reasons that they are the chicken breed of choice among farmers in the egg biz.  Perhaps those are the reasons Columbus brought them along on his voyage to the New World – or at least that’s how it is thought the first Leghorns (who actually originated in Italy) got here

In the past we have had blue egg-laying Araucanas and Ameraucanas and, presumably we have an Ameraucana right now.  She certainly looks like an Ameraucana, but she must be a hybrid who didn’t get the blue-egg gene.  She is the one who lays the chocolate brown eggs (I think.)  There is also a breed called “Easter Egger” who lay blue, green, rose or brown to sage, olive or cream – depending upon their parentage.  I’d love to have a flock of those – just for fun.

Unfortunately, we don’t really know much about our current ladies.  I think four of the five (or it could be five of the five) came through Jack’s Country Store about a year ago.  We ordered “sex-linked” chicks to guarantee that they would all be female.  Most were; some were not and we’ve had to do a little culling.  What can I say?  Mother Nature seems to have the final say, no matter what.  But, whatever their parentage or breed or proclivities, these five hens are great layers and their eggs are beautiful!  We have no complaints.

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