At a time of year when the barnyard hens of most small farms take a break from egg laying, our hens have apparently not received that memo! Maybe I am just not that great a chicken farmer…my chickens just don’t listen. I told them last fall that this was the time to rest up; we’d need their services again in spring. I guess laying eggs is one way to pass the long winter days when the snow is too deep to play outside, (If you are prone to do those things, that is) and long winter days they have been this year! I have personally been entertained daily by seeing the expressions on the ducks and chickens each day when their doors are opened to snow, then puddles, then ice, rain, snow, puddles, ice, snow, more snow, wind….although their expressions aren’t so much of surprise anymore as they are disappointment. After a few warm days of puddle-hopping I think they are ready for warmer days to stay around again. After all, it is almost chick season!
As for the laying hens, not only are the pros of last summer hard at work, my sweet young pullets have now started to lay their beautiful rainbow eggs in full force. We have been enjoying eggs for breakfast daily and we have been keeping a nice bowl of hard-boiled eggs on hand for lunches and snacks and in the case of tonight’s dinner; an elegant curry dish that was perfect on this chilly and snowy night! (Egg Curry recipe)
Our lovely little ducklings have grown up into egg laying machines too, laying an egg each every day for the last 2 months now. Indian Runner ducks such as ours have a reputation for being great egg layers. Ours are also getting a reputation for being noisy. At least they are entertaining and productive though! Have you ever had a duck egg before? They are a luxury that I am getting very used to!
I understand that not everyone loves duck eggs as much as I do. They are a little different from chicken eggs although not extremely so. Duck eggs are slightly larger, they have a harder shell, (sometimes taking a little harder tap on the pan to crack), the yolks will remind you of a huge orange sun and they have proportionately less white than chicken eggs. I think they are creamier and richer. (They also have more calories and cholesterol, I suppose, explaining why I enjoy them so) I am told that they also have more digestible proteins than chicken eggs making them more acceptable for people who have intolerance for chicken eggs. I have also found that duck eggs will make cookies and cakes fluffier which is not always desired for certain pastries, but so far, I have enjoyed baking with them and I have also enjoyed this little flock of our 5 ducks that are almost 1 yr. old!