It’s been a couple of weeks here on the farm, with one or two ducks actually laying real eggs in the coop’s nesting boxes. Very exciting. I’m thinking we don’t need Christmas around here any more because I wake up every morning with this delightful anticipation. I’ll let you know by January if it’s still here.
The last three out of four mornings we’ve woken up to two eggs. Very exciting. (I’m not saying “eggs-citing”; just not gonna do it.) What cracks (oh, another pun!) me up is how they’re laid. When my brother-in-law built the coop, following a drawing in a book, he crafted four nesting boxes on the side. The ducks could each step into their own nesting box and lay an egg in privacy, and come morning, we’d lift the lid and rob their eggs. As nature intended. Instead, when we’ve found two eggs, they’ve both been in the same box. The other three apparently are being utilized as outhouses.
We’ve been finding fewer soft-shelled “practice eggs” around the yard. Sunday there was one by the side garden. Yesterday there was one under the picnic table. But it looks like one of the ducks who was practicing around the yard has gotten herself together and is now laying full-on eggs in the coop.
While most of the eggs are the size of chicken eggs, we got one petite egg last week. We also got a heavy, bulky egg that made me wonder if a goose snuck into the coop in the middle of the night. When I cracked that egg to make a frittata this week, we got a surprise: a double yolk. Cool!
Two interesting egg factoids I’d learned from other poultry-raising friends (neither of which I’ve researched, but they seem viable…):
- You want to have a male in the group. This means the eggs will be fertilized–although won’t grow into poultry unless incubated. The fertilized eggs apparently keep longer than non-fertilized eggs like what we’ve got. I haven’t yet decided we need a male, although it could make things interesting. This friend has about two dozen birds on her mini-farm, so keeping up with egg production is probably more of an issue for her family than it is for ours.
- While my tendency is to immediately wash the eggs when I find them, another friend (with three chickens in her backyard flock) said that apparently washing them removes a protective layer from the shell. So I’m instead supposed to store them and wash them when I use them.
I could ramble on about my excitement over eggs, and these backyard eggs in particular. But it’s almost time to see if the girls have left us any gifts. So instead, let me leave you with this picture of quail eggs we had one night at dinner; the eggs are like little works of art. Quail, huh? That might make a nice backyard addition…