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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Backyard Chicken Eggs

Our neighbours a couple of doors down have laying hens. I had full intentions of having laying hens this year but decided against it with the house being on the market. Raising laying hens mainly for the purpose of egg production is a growing backyard activity across Canada and many US communities. Some municipalities have enacted by-laws against raising backyard chickens while other are embracing the notion. And why not? Unlike dogs, chickens make very little noise and in fact most times no one will even know chickens are in your backyard. Chickens are easy to keep, low maintenance and don't smell. In most cases your neighbours won't even know you have chickens. A small flock of 4 laying hens will produce about 4 eggs per day so that is a rather good return on your investment. It is a good way to inexpensively add protein to your diet while increasing your self sufficiency.  Many backyard chicken owner get quite attached to their hens, fondly referring to them as their girls.

backyard chicken eggs
Backyard chickens will give white or brown eggs depending on the chicken species. The only difference is the colour of the shell. Seriously the eggs taste the same. The real difference is the difference in the taste of backyard chicken eggs in comparison to store bought eggs. The yolk in backyard chickens eggs is almost orange as pictured. It is considerably deeper coloured than store bought eggs. Part of the reason for this is backyard chickens tend to be free range within the confines of the backyard. That means their diet is a lot more varied than chickens producing store bought eggs. Most times backyard chickens are not grain fed other than during winter months and even then only if absolutely necessary.

backyard chicken egg yolks
Pictured are the cracked backyard chicken eggs.  Just look at how beautiful and richly coloured those yolks are.  That depth of colour translates into wonderfully flavoured eggs.  I grew up with farm fresh eggs delivered right to our door every week by the egg lady.  Adjusting to store bought eggs was a bit difficult.  I went back to buying farm fresh eggs every time I got the chance.  When our kids were younger I even had an egg lady of my own who delivered eggs every 2 weeks.  Once you switch to farm fresh eggs you won't go back to store bought unless absolutely necessary.  However, backyard chicken eggs are even fresher.  They can be used in your favourite recipes within minutes of being gathered.

scrambled eggs
The difference in flavour is undeniable! Backyard chicken eggs like free range chicken eggs have a wonderful flavour that well out weighs store bought eggs.  The reason being backyard chicken eggs are considerably fresher.  Better yet you know what they have been fed.  Backyard chickens tend to be healthier than commercially raised laying hens.

Scrambled eggs are one of the easiest ways to prepare eggs.  I scramble eggs plain with no water or milk added cooked in a non-stick fry pan with just a dab of butter then lightly seasoned with fresh ground salt and pepper.  The beautiful deep yolk colour of the backyard chicken eggs is not lost with cooking.  Let me tell you these eggs were delicious!

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