At INN THE PINES lives an assortment of both hybrid and heritage bred chickens. The chickens are fed a “laying mash”, which is specially formulated for hens who lay eggs, and something called “hen scratch”, which is simply a mixed grain feed purchased from a local feed mill. This is supplemented with fruit and vegetable scraps. The chickens are given free range on the farm — they come and go as they please from the coop — so naturally there are some insects, worms and minerals in their diet from foraging, as well as the fresh well water they are provided with. Because of these very basic, free choices of food, the eggs have a rich, flavorful taste as well as a very deep orange yolk.
Eggs are collected three times daily and always sell out, so they are available on a first come, first serve basis only.
- A fresh egg will sink in water while an old egg will float.
- A cloudy egg white is a sign of freshness. As an egg ages, the carbon dioxide escapes and the egg white becomes more transparent.
- Can’t remember if an egg is fresh or hard boiled? Just spin the egg. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled.
- Younger hens are more likely to lay double yolks.
- The colour of the egg shell is not related to quality, nutrients, flavour, or cooking characteristics. White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and white ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. Brown egg layers usually are slightly larger and require more food, thus brown eggs usually cost more than white eggs.
- China produces most eggs, at about 160 billion per year. In the US, about 260 million hens produce more than 65 billion eggs per year. A hen can lay about 250 eggs per year.
- An egg shell has as many as 17,000 pores over its surface.
- For an average hen, the time from ovulation to laying is about 25 hours. Roughly 30 minutes later, the hen will begin to make another egg.
- Chickens don’t need roosters to lay an egg, just as female humans don’t need males in order to ovulate. Fertilization is only necessary if you want the eggs to hatch into chicks. If you purchase eggs from a store, it is highly unlikely that they are fertilized. Commercial poultry houses do not keep roosters amongst their chickens.
- It takes about 21 days for a baby chick to hatch from a fertilized egg.