Tag Archives: Fresh Eggs Daily

  • The Inside of an Egg

    Written By Lisa Steele , Fresh Eggs Daily

     

    Eggs are nutritious and an inexpensive protein source. You probably eat them several times a week without a second thought. But did you ever wonder what exactly is inside that eggshell?

    An egg is comprised of several components including the bloom, the shell, the membrane, the white, and the yolk, but that’s just the basics - blood spots, chalazae and bulls' eyes may also be present.

    THE BLOOM (OR CUTICLE)
    As the last step in the laying process, a thin nearly invisible layer is applied to the eggshell called the 'bloom' (sometimes also called the 'cuticle'). This covering seals the shell to help protect the egg from air and bacteria entering through the tiny pores in the eggshell and also reduces the moisture loss from the egg. Eggs should not be washed until just before using to help preserve the bloom and to help keep the egg fresh.

    THE MEMBRANE
    Just under the eggshell is a pair of thin whitish membranes that help to keep air out of the egg.  Once an egg is laid, an air pocket begins to form between the two membranes at the blunt end of the egg. This air sac will continue to grow as the egg ages. Older hard-boiled eggs peel more easily because the air between the membranes has begun to separate the egg contents from the shell.

    THE SHELL
    The shell is the hard outer covering of the egg and is the egg's best line of defense against contamination from bacteria and germs. The shell is mostly made of calcium carbonate, with small amounts of magnesium carbonate, calcium phosphate and protein.

    All egg shells start out white and then blue and/or brown pigment is applied during the laying process. The blue is applied earlier (in breeds who carry the blue gene) and does seep through to the inside of the shell, but if you notice, the inside of a brown eggshell is always white. All eggs taste the same and contain  virtually the same nutrients regardless of shell color.

    THE WHITE (ALBUMEN)
    The egg white, or albumen contains 60% of the protein in an egg, which is about 10% of the USRDA. Eggs are considered a complete protein because they contain all eight essential amino acids. The white of a fresh egg will be cloudy and very thick. As the egg ages, the white will become nearly transparent and thin as air flows through the pores in the eggshell.

    THE YOLK
    Each egg yolk is covered with a thin transparent membrane which keeps the yolk from breaking. This membrane becomes thinner and weaker as an egg ages, so fresh egg yolks will stand up taller and be less likely to break.

    The egg yolk contains about 80% of the total calories and virtually all of the fat and cholesterol in the egg, along with the majority of the vitamins and minerals. The color of the yolk is determined by the level of xyanthophyll in the foods a hen eats. Xyanthophyll is a carotenoid found in marigold petals, corn, alfalfa, basil and other foods.

    THE CHALAZAE
    The chalazae are ropy, twisted strands in the egg white that anchor the yolk in place in the center of the white. They are more prominent in fresh eggs and perfectly edible.
    BLOOD (OR MEAT) SPOTS
    Red blood (or meat) spots on an egg yolk is not an indication of fertility, but are ruptured blood vessels that have been damaged or broken during the laying process, during the travel down the oviduct, or by rough handling of the egg. As an egg ages, the yolk absorbs water from the egg white. This dilutes the blood spot, so a spot indicates that the egg is fresh.

    The blood spots are edible, but you may want to remove them before cooking the egg.  It is estimated that less than 1% of all eggs produced contain blood spots.

    A BULL'S EYE
    If an egg has been fertilized, you will see a multi-ringed bull's eye on the yolk that indicates that the egg would likely hatch into a chick if incubated for 21 days under a hen or in an incubator. Fertilized eggs are perfectly edible and taste the same as non-fertilized eggs. The only difference is that they contain miniscule amounts of the male rooster's DNA in addition to the hen's DNA that all eggs contain.

  • Egg Bound Hens

    Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

    Considering that a chicken lays an egg every 26 hours or so, it's no wonder that things sometimes go wrong. Occasionally, an egg will get stuck in a hen’s oviduct and she will become egg bound. Signs of an egg bound hen include sitting on the ground or dragging wings, fluffing up, lethargy and closed eyes. Frequently, an egg bound hen’s tail will be down and most likely she will be straining or pumping her backside. Upon closer examination you may notice liquid dripping from her vent. You may even be able to feel an egg-shaped lump.

    Causes of Egg Binding - More common in young pullets, egg binding could be due to a large or double yolked egg that is too large to pass through, genetics, stress, dehydration, internal worms, low-quality feed, poor health or a calcium deficiency. Calcium is needed for proper muscle contraction. Too much protein in a hen's diet can also cause egg binding.

    You want to handle your egg bound hen carefully to avoid breaking the egg inside her. A broken egg can become infected and lead to peritonitis, which is caused by egg material stuck inside the hen and must be treated immediately with an antibiotic and probiotic powder to build up her good bacteria. Even if the egg is not broken, the condition must be treated quickly. An egg bound hen will die if she is not able to pass the egg within 48 hours, so once you have made your diagnosis, treatment should start immediately.

    Treatment for Egg Binding - Bring the hen into the house and soak her in a plastic tub in your bathtub.

    Submerge her lower body and vent in warm water with some Epsom salts for about 20 minutes, gently rubbing her abdomen. Remove her gently from the bath and towel dry her, blotting her feathers carefully, then blow dry her with a hair dryer set on low heat.

    Rub some vegetable oil around her vent and very gently massage her abdomen once more then put her in quiet, dark location - such as a large dog crate or cage. You want to create moist heat, so set the cage over a pan of hot water, put a heating pad and towel on the bottom of the crate or set up a heat lamp, then drape a towel over the cage.

    Give your egg bound hen an eyedropper of Nutri-Drench and 1cc of liquid calcium. Then give her some time to herself. Repeat the soak in the tub every hour or so until she lays her egg.

    As a last resort, a visit to a vet is recommended or, if you can see the egg, you can try to carefully extract the contents of the egg using a syringe. Then you will need to gently crush the shell, keeping the fragments attached to the membrane and remove it using vegetable oil squirted in and around the vent. This is risky and carries with it the danger of your hen contracting peritonitis, so should ONLY be used after all other remedies have been tried.

    Fortunately, being egg bound is not all that common, and there's a good chance you may never have a hen suffer from it, but it's still good to know the signs and how to treat it.

  • Blue Chicken Eggs

    Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

    There are basically three types of chickens that lay blue eggs - Ameraucanas, Araucanas and Easter Eggers (although Cream Legbars do lay blue eggs as well and are just becoming available in the US) - but only two of the three ALWAYS lay blue eggs, so you'll want to be sure of what you're ordering if you are determined to have blue eggs.

    AMERAUCANAS

    Ameraucanas are a pure breed recognized by the APA since 1984. They were most likely originally bred from South American blue egg laying breeds but were developed and standardized in the United States. They come in eight distinct colors including, Blue, Black, White and Wheaten, which all share these distinct Ameraucana traits:

    ● Peacomb

    ● Muffs and beard

    ● Red earlobes

    ● Tail

    ● Blue legs

    ● White foot bottoms

    ● Always lay blue eggs

    ARAUCANAS

    Araucanas are also a pure breed recognized by the APA since 1976. They originated in Chile most likely and come in five colors including black, white, duckwing silver and golden. Araucanas all share these distinct Araucana traits:

    ● Peacomb

    ● Ear tufts (this gene is lethal to developing chicks if inherited by both parents)

    ● Red earlobes

    ● Rumpless (no tail)

    ● Green or willow-colored legs

    ● Yellow foot bottoms

    ● Always lay blue eggs

    EASTER EGGERS

    Easter Eggers are not a recognized breed. They are mongrels - mixed breed chickens that do possess the blue egg gene but don't fully meet the breed specifications of either Araucanas or Ameraucanas. They can come in any color or combination of colors and share these traits:

    ● Any kind of comb

    ● Muffs/beard/ear tufts or none

    ● Any color earlobes

    ● Tail or tail-less

    ● Any color legs

    ● Any color foot bottoms

    ● Can lay blue but also sometimes lay green, tan, pink or even yellow So if you want to be guaranteed blue egg layers, you will want to raise some Araucanas or Ameraucanas; but Easter Eggers are fun because you never know what color egg each will lay until she starts laying, and even identical-looking hens often lay varying shades of bluish or greenish eggs.

  • Scratch Sunflower Nut Edible Treat Wreath for Chickens

    Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

    As many of you know, I enjoy adapting ideas I see online and elsewhere for the enjoyment of our chickens. I have seen several versions of birdseed wreaths for wild birds on Pinterest HERE, HERE and HERE and decided to make my own chicken version.

    My first two attempts didn't work very well - don't trust everything you read online! - and fell apart, but this, my third attempt turned out perfectly. Easy, quick, held together well and the chickens loved it!

    Here's how to make one for your girls.

    You'll need:

    Cooking spray
    Bundt Pan
    1/2 Cup cool water
    3 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
    1-1/2 Cups Boiling water
    1 Cup bacon, suet or hamburg grease, heated to liquify
    8 Cups of a mixture of scratch, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, raisins, nuts or seeds
    20 fresh or frozen cranberries
    Ribbon

    How to:

    Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a measuring cup, dissolve the gelatin in the cool water and let sit for a minute. Pour the boiling water into a medium bowl and whisk in the gelatin to combine.

     

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the seeds and nuts, stir in the grease and then pour in the liquid gelatin. Mix well with a wooden spoon to be sure all the nuts and seeds are well-coated and all the liquid is absorbed.

     

    Place the cranberries in rows in the indentations in the pan (I used three in half the indentations and two in every other indentation) and then carefully spoon the seed mixture into the pan. Press down with the spoon to pack it well.

    Put the Bundt pan in the refrigerator overnight to set. The next day, take the wreath out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Invert and tap gently on the countertop to unmold.

     

    Tie a pretty ribbon in a bow at the top and then attach the wreath to your run fencing for your chickens or to a tree or fence to treat the wild birds.
    I did switch out the fancy ribbon for a plain one when I hung the wreath in the run.

  • Omega Fields Highlights Relationship with Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily

     

    Newton, Wisconsin – The backyard poultry market has been a steadily growing focus for Omega Fields and we are very pleased to support key players communicating with people with a passion for chickens such as Lisa Steele author of the blog “Fresh Eggs Daily”, says Moriarty – President-Omega Fields.

    Lisa writes a regular blog called “Fresh Eggs Daily” found on her website; www.fresh-eggs-daily.com. Lisa says about her mission and focus, Fresh Eggs Daily® is dedicated to inspiring readers to live a simple, natural farm life and raise their chickens as naturally as possible. Most of our readers raise backyard flocks, although some haven’t taken the plunge yet and are still in the ‘research’ stage. Others follow because our photos and stories recall memories of raising chickens when they were young or of visiting their grandparent’s farm as children. We attract novices as well as more experienced chicken keepers, challenging them all to raise their flocks to be the happiest and healthiest they can be. In addition to giving tips and advice on raising backyard flocks, we also share DIY projects using repurposed materials, vegetable and herb gardening tips, making all natural products for the home and coop, and recipes using fresh eggs and homegrown produce.

    In addition to her blog that is read by an estimated 25,000 people, Lisa reaches over 30,000 Facebook friends (https://www.facebook.com/FreshEggsDaily?ref=ts&fref=ts); over 7,500 Pinterest followers(http://pinterest.com/fresheggsdaily/) ; and almost 1,000 followers on Twitter.  People are talking about chickens!

    Omega Fields sponsors an ad on her blog site, offers special coupons and contests for her Facebook and blog readers as well as provides helpful research content that Lisa shares with her eager audience.

  • Spraddle Leg

    Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

    Hopefully you will never have to worry about a chick with spraddle leg ( also called splayed leg), but as is the case with everything else chicken-related, it's always best to be prepared ...just in case.

    Spraddle Leg is a condition that a chick is either born with or develops within the first few hours of life whereby one or both legs slip out to the sides making them unable to stand or walk.

    Spraddle leg can occur during incubation or the hatching process if the temperature is too high or varies too much during the incubation period or if the hatch is difficult for the chick. A less common cause can be a vitamin deficiency. The more common cause is an incubator or brooder floor that is too slippery for the chick to grip, which causes the legs to slide to one side. As a result the chick's legs muscles don't develop properly because of the lack of traction.

    To try and prevent this condition, a sheet of paper towel or rubber shelf liner should always be put in the incubator just before the lockdown.

    This will give the newly hatched chicks something to grip onto.

    In the brooder box, newspaper should NEVER be used as the only floor covering.  Especially when it gets wet, it is too slippery and the main cause of spraddled leg.  Instead, I cover a few layers of newspaper with a sheet of shelf liner.  The rubber surface, just as in the incubator, provides a nice textured surface for little feet.

    I change the newspapers and shelf liner out as needed, rinsing the shelf liner off and reusing it, and after a few days, add a layer of pine shavings on top.
    Spraddle leg is easily correctable, but if not addressed quickly, the chick will not be able to get to feed and water and can die.

    What you need to do is hobble the chick's legs.  The easiest way is to cut a thin piece of vet wrap (approximately 1/4" wide and 5" long) and loosely wrap it around each leg, connecting the ends in the middle, about an inch apart, in sort of a figure eight.

    The chick's legs should be about normal width apart when extended. If the chick can't stand up, you can make them a bit wider apart for better balance, but then bring them a bit closer together each day.
    You can wrap some First Aid Tape around the middle to keep it secured.
    Then be sure the chick has something it can easily walk on like paper towel, a bath towel or shelf liner.  At first the chick will have trouble standing up, but soon will be able to get around.  Ensure the chick has easy access to feed and water, but a shallow water dish with marbles or small stones in it is required so the chick doesn't fall in and drown.  Also it's best to keep the chick separate from other chicks at least until she learns to stand so she won't be trampled.

    At first it is helpful to support the chick and just let her try to stand and get used to having her legs underneath her.  Helping her get her balance will be beneficial and hasten her recovery.
    Unwrap the legs and check the chick's progress once or twice a day.  Leave the hobble on until the chick can stand and walk on its own. This could take from a few days to up to a week.  You should see results fairly quickly and soon your chick will be up and about.
    Then make a solemn vow - no more chicks on newspaper!

    !

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