Thursday, April 26, 2012
King of the roost!
We live on a small farm and several years ago we decided to try keeping egg laying chickens. For us, this has been a very good and rewarding experience, (The only bad thing I will mention is I wish I had rocks instead of bark in my flower beds, if the chickens pick through it, it is flung everywhere!) Aside from the bark issue, the hens are very friendly, curious, sweet creatures that eat bugs and produce yummy eggs everyday. We currently have 6 hens that are laying and two pullets (young female chickens) we got this year that will begin to lay the end of this summer sometime. And we have the "King of the roost"! He is our rooster. We didn't get him on purpose, he was supposed to be a girl, but sometimes this happens! I have never wanted a rooster on my farm, probably cuz I am still scarred from "bad rooster experiences" from my childhood! I have had several backyard encounters with mean roosters who are territorial and chase you! So in trying to keep the farm experience a good one for my small children who like to gather eggs I have avoided the rooster. As you don't need a rooster to get hens to lay eggs, only if you want those eggs fertilized to make baby chicks. As you can see from the pictures of "King" he has been with us for a couple of years now, and I must say he is a gentleman. He has never given me a reason to get rid of him. The hens forage in our pastures at will and roost in their coop at night, they come and go as they please and seem quite content with their environment. This "free-range" environment makes their eggs superior to "store bought" as they have more omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, less cholesterol, less saturated fat, more vitamin D, more beta carotene, more vitamin A and I must agree, a better flavor. I never liked eggs as a child, I thought they had a funny taste. But I do like "our" eggs. As proof of the flavor difference I accidentally tested it this winter. You have to have a light on in the coop during cold weather to keep the chickens laying, well I didn't turn it on soon enough last winter, they stopped laying for a short time. It was just long enough for me to need to buy eggs at the store. Um, can you say sulphur taste, yuck!! That is the taste I remember as a kid and the reason I didn't like eggs. I don't know what makes the difference but I'm sticking to my home grown from now on! The reason for today's blog is a conversation my hubby had with a neighbor the other day. He also keeps egg laying chickens and my hubby also noticed he had a rooster and said "you accidentally got one too?" the friend said "no, I do it on purpose." Wondering why on earth, my husband inquired. The neighbor stated he had read somewhere that fertilized eggs have less cholesterol that unfertilized eggs. So hubby came home and told me this jewel of knowledge, I thought to myself, there is validation for keeping "King" right there. So I'm a curious person, I decided to research this matter on the internet. Darn if I could find any supporting information on this matter. I will have to ask my friend where he read this and see if there is any supportive scientific information. What I did find in my "chicken/egg research" is that it is not so much fertilized vs. unfertilized that makes the nutritional difference, as it is what you are feeding and how you take care of your hens that makes the eggs better for you. So at least that made me feel like I am doing everything I can to provide them with what they need to make us yummy nutritious eggs. As for now "King" has a home here on our little patch of heaven way out west. Bearing in mind he'd better keep those spurs he is sporting to himself!