So I was scouring the internet today and came across this little gem. “Chicken or the Egg”, is an offbeat romantic comedy about a pig who has an addiction to eating eggs. But when he falls in love with the hottest chicken in town, he must choose what comes first… the Chicken or the Egg. By Christine Kim and Elaine Wu of Kimwu Productions. Great work girls!
“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched,” the old saving goes. True, you can’t be sure any given egg will produce a live chick, but you can make a pretty good guess at the hypothetical bird’s sex before the smallest crack appears in its shell. When you’re buying fertilized chicken eggs or choosing which eggs to hatch from your own flock, there’s just one simple method to keep in mind. It’s quick, easy, works for all breeds and is so reliable that we raised 23 pullets from 23 carefully chosen eggs!
Here’s the secret: If you want your brood to be mostly female, select and incubate only the most nearly oval eggs. Those with a noticeably pointed end produce cockerels. Many of the chicks-to-be you examine, of course (especially the first time you try this idea), will fall into an indeterminate range, so pick only the most clearly oval shapes if you want to hatch future layers.
Commercial breeders cull and hatch their “female” eggs because pullets bring a higher price. Therefore, a fertile batch of “straight-run” eggs bought from a big dealer is likely to contain mostly indeterminate and pointed discards and give you considerably less than a 50/50 chance of hatching female chicks. To improve the odds, choose from your own hens’ layings or ask a local chicken raiser to save his most obviously oval finds for you.
Sound hard to believe? The first time I heard of this trick, I thought someone was pulling my only-recently-rural leg. But try it — it works!
We’ve all had spam email haven’t we? Whether we’ve been picked to inherit millions of dollars from someone we’ve never heard of, to wonder cures for baldness. But there are some spam emails that must be exposed before someone gets seriously hurt.
One such scam email, is touting the benefits of raw egg white for burns: a ‘miracle healing’ home remedy.
Description: Forwarded email / Folk remedy
Circulating since: July 2011 (in this form)
Status: False (see details below)
Email text contributed by a reader, July 20, 2011:
Good to know!!
A young man sprinkling his lawn and bushes with pesticides wanted to check the contents of the barrel to see how much pesticide remained in it. He raised the cover and lit his lighter; the vapors inflamed and engulfed him. He jumped from his truck, screaming. His neighbor came out of her house with a dozen eggs, yelling: “bring me some eggs!” She broke them, separating the whites from the yolks. The neighbor woman helped her to apply the whites on the young man’s face. When the ambulance arrived and when the EMTs saw the young man, they asked who had done this. Everyone pointed to the lady in charge. They congratulated her and said: “You have saved his face.” By the end of the summer, the young man brought the lady a bouquet of roses to thank her. His face was like a baby’s skin.
Healing Miracle for burns:
Keep in mind this treatment of burns which is included in teaching beginner fireman this method. First aid consists to spraying cold water on the affected area until the heat is reduced and stops burning the layers of skin. Then, spread egg whites on the affected area.
One woman burned a large part of her hand with boiling water. In spite of the pain, she ran cold faucet water on her hand, separated 2 egg white from the yolks, beat them slightly and dipped her hand in the solution. The whites then dried and formed a protective layer.
She later learned that the egg white is a natural collagen and continued during at least one hour to apply layer upon layer of beaten egg white. By afternoon she no longer felt any pain and the next day there was hardly a trace of the burn. 10 days later, no trace was left at all and her skin had regained its normal color. The burned area was totally regenerated thanks to the collagen in the egg whites, a placenta full of vitamins.
This information could be helpful to everyone: Please pass it on
Analysis: As in the case of a similar email recommending a coating of plain white flour to relieve and heal minor burns, the above text advising the use of raw egg whites for the same purpose runs contrary to accepted medical practice.
Conventional wisdom did once hold that minor burns were best treated by slathering traumatized skin with various oils, salves, and poultices — and even ready-to-hand household items like raw egg whites or flour if no other dressings were available — but this is no longer the case, and hasn’t been for quite some time.
Current medical sources, including the Mayo Clinic and the American Red Cross, recommend treating a minor (first- or second-degree) burn by immersing it in cool water, then covering it loosely with dry, sterile gauze.
Those would be the measures taught to firefighters-in-training — not, as claimed above, applying raw egg whites to a burn victim’s skin.
‘Inappropriate remedy,’ says medical journal
Indeed, a 2010 article in the Journal of Emergency Nursing specifically recommends against treating burns with raw egg whites. The study, entitled “First-Aid Home Treatment of Burns Among Children and Some Implications at Milas, Turkey,” compares the outcomes of pediatric burn cases in which about half of the subjects had been treated with “inappropriate remedies” such as tomato paste, yogurt, and raw egg whites.
“No data supporting any benefit of applying or placing such types of agents on burned areas has been found,” the author noted. Moreover, he wrote, “[t]he risk of infection from applying most of these inappropriate remedies to a fresh burn wound is obvious. For example, eggs can serve as an excellent culture medium for micro-organisms.” And, in one particular case cited in a related study, a 13-month-old child with a second-degree burn went into anaphylactic shock after his parents treated it by rubbing a raw egg on his skin. It turned out he was allergic to eggs.
“Many of these burn injuries and incorrectly applied first-aid burn treatments can be avoided,” the 2010 article concludes. “Educational programs that emphasize applying only cold water to burn injuries would be helpful in reducing burn-related morbidity.”
As would a reduction in the circulation of forwarded emails touting unscientific “miracle cures.”
Thanks to About.com for this information: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/medical/a/Egg-Whites-For-Burns.htm
Yes, chickens do have earlobes! Although you cannot see their ears (they are covered with feathers), a chicken’s lobes are very prominent—they stick out from underneath the feathers and sit behind their eyes, on either sides of their head. The most fascinating aspect of the lobes is not that they have them, but that the color of a chicken’s ear lobes will determine what color their eggshell will have—a chicken with white earlobes will produce white shells, and a chicken with red earlobes will produce brown shells.
There are of course a few exceptions: the Dorking breed of chicken has red earlobes but produces white-shelled eggs, and the Aracuana breed from Chile has red earlobes but produces green-shelled eggs. Yes, green!
I found this great article on the Poultry Club of Great Britain‘s website and thought I’d share it with you. It is an excellent outline of the stages of egg laying in poultry and certainly makes the process a lot clearer. So a special thanks to the Poultry Club of Great Britain for this excellent article.
It takes different times for the egg to pass through the different areas of the oviduct (egg tube), the addition of the shell taking the longest time:
- 15 minutes in the infundibulum (fertilised here if cockerel available plus chalazae added)
- 3 hours in the magnum to add albumen (white of egg)
- 1.5 hours in the isthmus to add shell membrane
- 20 hours in the uterus/shell gland for shell deposition plus pigment
- 1 minute in the vagina which is extruded out past the vent to avoid the faeces
This total of 25 hours to lay an egg explains why hens do not lay every day as the hen will ovulate 30 minutes after laying and eventually it is dark when this should happen: she then misses producing an egg the next day. The hybrid hens have been selected for a slightly shorter time to produce an egg, hence they lay on consecutive days for longer. Brown eggs have pigment placed on the outside of the shell which can scratch or wash off. The only egg which has pigment all the way through the shell is from the Araucana and is blue/green. The shell is porous and so if eggs are to be washed (clean nestboxes and clean hens’ feet is preferable), water warmer than the eggs should be used (with Virkon, a disinfectant) so that the shell membrane expands and blocks the pores. If water colder than the eggs is used, the shell membrane will shrink and draw in any bacteria on the shell.
If the eggs are needed to be fertile, there are semen storage glands in the oviduct so the cockerel does not need to be with the hens every day, important if the hens are exhibited so that their feathers do not get damaged. If another breed cockerel has been used and a different cockerel is wanting to be used (for instance, to change to a pure breed) you will need to wait 2 weeks for the eggs to be true to the new cockerel, due to the semen storage capacity.
The composition of an egg is shown.. This is important as it is how a fresh egg is determined. The airspace is very small in a newlaid egg and gets progressively larger as the egg loses moisture through the porous shell. When a fresh egg is cracked onto a plate, the thin white and the thick white are easily distinguished and the yolk sits in a defined dome on top of the white. The chalazae can be seen. A not-fresh egg will appear to have only one type of white, no chalazae and will be flat when viewed from the side. Sometimes there may be a small brown mark in the white – this is a tiny amount of blood (known as a meat spot) and is not harmful, it just doesn’t look nice. Commercial eggs are candled (looked at in a dark room with a bright torch held to the egg) to remove any with meat spots. Fertile eggs are candled to check on the development of the embryo. The colour of the yolk depends on feeding and commercial feed has additives to enhance yolk colour. Carotenoids in green plants are the basis of yolk colour, so outdoor birds usually have darker yolks in the summer and paler in the winter.
Laying is hormonal and influenced by light levels, thus we are able to influence laying in the shorter days by providing extra light in the henhouse. In a hut 2m x 2m (6’ x 6’) a 40 watt bulb lit up to create 14 hours of light in total including daylight would be sufficient. It is important that hens have twilight to persuade them to go to roost, so fitting a 15 minute dimmer is a good idea, otherwise when the lights go out they are stranded on the floor and would really prefer to perch. It suits some people to organise the lights to come on in the morning instead, removing the need for a dimmer, but this may create noise and disturbance for your neighbours.
Turkeys are similar to chickens in their reproduction except for the capacity and efficiency of the semen storage glands. The record of production of a fertile egg after a male has been removed from the female belongs to a turkey and is 72 days! Therefore if turkeys are needed to breed pure, the breeding pens must be set up in January so that when the hens begin to lay in March, the correct stag has fertilised the eggs.
Laying in ducks seems to be less influenced by light levels than hens as light breed ducks do lay in winter. In fact, it is a duck which holds the record for eggs in a year – 364! This was exceptional and could never be achieved by a chicken due to the 25.5 hours it takes to create a chicken egg as ducks take just 24 hours.
It is important to collect the eggs every day as the shells of waterfowl eggs are more porous than chickens’ and thus bacteria can easily enter the egg. If the eggs are wanted for eating, they should be washed if dirty with water warmer than the eggs plus a disinfectant such as Virkon or F10, and then stored in the fridge at a temperature of not more than 4°C (39°F).
The texture of duck eggs when cooked is different from chicken eggs. The white of duck eggs seems rubbery and therefore a boiled egg is rather an acquired taste. However, using duck eggs in all other forms of cooking adds a special element of taste and moisture.
As ducks take 24 hours to create an egg, laying tends to be in the early morning, hence do not let them out until 9am so that you can collect the eggs (link to vermin). In winter, keep the nesting area well filled with straw to help prevent the eggs getting frosted which if they do, will crack the shell and change the protein structure, making the egg behave unpredictably in cooking and certainly unsaleable.
Geese get to adult size at about 5 months. They are usually kept as pairs or trios due to the guarding properties of the gander. They can be sold as dayolds, growers or adult proven breeders. It is unlikely they will lay and breed before they are a year old with the possible exception of the Chinese laying eggs in their first autumn but these eggs are very unlikely to be fertile. Most breeders of exhibition stock will only sell pairs or trios i.e. including a gander so try and negotiate for females not quite good enough for the show pen, for instance, remembering that the heavier breeds will lay less in any case.
Laying in geese begins traditionally on St. Valentine’s Day, 14th February, but much depends on the weather at this time. It is important to collect the eggs every day otherwise geese will go broody and then egg production stops. If the eggs are wanted for eating, they should be washed if dirty with water warmer than the eggs plus a disinfectant such as Virkon, and then stored in a cool (10˚C, 50˚F) place, on damp sand is good. The texture of goose eggs when cooked is similar to duck eggs, but goose egg yolks tend to be a darker orange. Not many people would manage a whole boiled goose egg, so they are used more in cooking. Omelettes or scrambled eggs are favourites. In frosty weather, just as with ducks, keep the nesting area well filled with straw to help prevent the eggs getting frosted which if they do, will crack the shell and change the protein structure, making the egg behave unpredictably in cooking, certainly unhatchable and probably unsaleable.
Here at The Natural Poultry Guide, we are always thrilled to find someone who loves poultry as much as we do. Not only that, but someone who treats animals with great care and compassion and can show us techniques and ideas we may not have thought of before. Recently we found the TV host, author and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith who has a channel on YouTube called Farm Raised which looks at all kinds of animals and poultry on his farm Allen’s Garden Home Retreat. In this great video, he tells us about trying to separate laying geese to ensure that all eggs hatch and none are left out in the cold.
“You know I have always loved geese, I don’t know what it is, ever since I was a little kid. Nothing cuter than a gosling. And we have three different types of geese here. We have these big French Dulap Toulouse, some Pomeranian. I like the Dulap Toulouse because they’re so big and massive, the ganders can weigh anything up to 38 to 40 pounds. And then you have the Pomeranians which are, I just like their colour pattern, that grey and white, they look like good old Holstein cows. And you have this breed here which is a Sebastapol, which comes from Russia on the Baltic, and their curly feathers from the curly feather gene.”
“So What we’re doing here, the problem is that in the past we’ve hatched eggs in the incubator and that’s been ok. But the mothers hatch them so much better than I’ve had success with the incubator. So what I’ve been trying to do, as a mother gets broody, when a mother gets ready to start sitting on a clutch of eggs, it takes 30 – 32 days to hatch a goose egg. What can happen is other geese will go, ‘hey I’m gonna lay eggs in this gooses nest, so she may already have 5 or 6 eggs in her clutch that she’s been sitting on for 18 days, then look, here comes another goose and lays a couple of eggs and she continues to sit on those, and so what happens is the embryos are at different stages of development, so that first clutch of eggs that she laid, that were already 18 days old once the other eggs got laid, well they’re gonna hatch first, while the rest of the eggs remaining will just die.”
“So what I try to do is, when a goose begins to get broody and sit on a clutch of eggs, we try to close her off so other geese can’t get in there and lay eggs. And so what I’ve done, I’ve tried several different things. With one of them, I put a board up across there. Once they get really broody, they wanna stay there on that nest, then they’re not gonna move. So now what I’m doing, I’m trying something different. I’m using wire across the front and i find a broody goose, what I’m doing is I’m gonna just ease in there and try to allow her to let me put a wire fence across, mainly to keep other geese out. She can still come out from under it, but other geese couldn’t push in to her nest. And just put her a bowl of water there, because they don’t really eat or drink during this period. So that’s the plan. There’s nothing cuter than seeing a mother goose and father goose and a whole little flock or brood of goslings following along behind them.’
“So lets hope that I’m successful, allowing a family of geese to hatch their own babies.”
Eggs & Health
Throughout the centuries, the egg has been a potent symbol of purity, health and fertility. Eggs are amazing. They’re healthy, full of nutrition, and when produced by contented and happy hens, pose no risks. Today, we discuss raw eggs and compare battery raised eggs, which have caused such a bad reputation, with the real thing: eggs from pasteurized chickens.
One of the fears peddled about eggs is the idea that they are dangerous if eaten raw, because they may contain salmonella. However, salmonella exists in eggs only when laid by unhealthy chickens. If the hens are disease-free, so are their eggs. And the incidences of salmonella are greatly reduced in free range hens.
Mayonnaise is traditionally made from raw eggs. If it had been dangerous, what is the likelihood that mayonnaise would have become one of the representatives of great French cookery? Look in any serious recipe book for how to make mayonnaise, and you’ll find that it always includes raw egg. Enter the words mayonnaise and recipe on a search engine, and you’ll see recipe after recipe, all of which use raw eggs. Could mayonnaise be so ubiquitous if it were dangerous?
Do be aware, of course, that modern mayonnaise purchased in supermarkets is not made from raw eggs. That’s why it has extra ingredients, such as stabilizers, emulsifiers, and thickeners, which can include:
- Guar or Xanthan Gum: Naturally derived, but so processed by the time it gets to the mayo that it’s really nothing more than chemicals.
- Modified Maize (Corn) Starch: This is to thicken the mayo, since it can’t happen with cooked eggs. There’s a double whammy here. It isn’t simply corn starch, but has been processed, which is why the word modified has been added. The other is that nearly all corn used in processed foods is genetically modified by the addition of a gene that acts as a pesticide.
- Carrageenan: Sulphated polysaccharide, extracted from seaweed, used to set the mayo.
- Cellulose: Non-food made from the fibrous parts of plants and trees.
- Polysorbate: Chemical used to control texture in some “foods” and cosmetics.
Stunning, isn’t it, what must be added to make mayonnaise because battery raised eggs aren’t safe unless cooked?
As a child, my favorite breakfast was my mother’s milkshake: milk, raw egg, and fruit quickly mixed in a blender. It was yummy, and never anything but healthy. That was, of course, before the days of battery hens.
It’s always possible that an egg from a free range chicken could prove to have salmonella, but those instances are exceedingly rare and far less likely that eating battery-raised eggs. Besides, the benefits of eating healthy eggs from healthy hens extends to your immune system. So, if you normally eat eggs from free range and organically-fed chickens, especially if they’re locally sourced, then your body will likely have the ability to fend off salmonella bacteria. If you’ve been eating eggs from battery hens, then you’ve been compromising your immune system with antibiotics and other drugs that have gone through the chickens into the eggs.
So, assuming that we’re considering only eggs from healthy chickens raised on pastures, are raw eggs better for you? The jury seems to be out on that right now. There is currently a strong movement towards raw foods in general, with Natural News being a major proponent. However, the Weston A. Price Foundation has long been an exceptionally reliable source of information on nutritional issues, and their stance is that cooked eggs are just fine. The Foundation notes accurately that egg whites are healthier when cooked. Raw egg whites have an enzyme inhibitor that can be harmful to digestion. In most people eating no more than two eggs a day, this is normally not a significant problem. However, in larger quantities, it can matter. Also, be aware that raw egg whites are never good for cats.
My own take is that the jury really is out on the question of raw eggs’ nutritional value compared to cooked. The raw food movement may miss some important points, such as the beneficial changes in fermenting some foods, like soy, which can remove their poisonous aspects and and release their benefits. Most mushrooms do not release some of their most important nutrients unless they’re well-cooked. Though raw food is generally healthier than cooked, there are exceptions. Egg whites are certainly one of them.
Claims are made that some nutrients are damaged by heating eggs, especially yolks. Thus far, though, I’ve not seen documentation that convinces me one way or the other. (If a reader has anything, please send it along.)
Nutrient Differences in Conventional Eggs Compared to Free Range Eggs
The comparison between conventional battery-raised eggs and free ranges eggs is stunning. Mother Earth News had free ranges eggs tested to see what their nutrient levels are and compared the results to the official USDA data for commercial eggs.
The results varied from farm to farm, but the average free range egg results showed:
- 1⁄3 less cholesterol
- 1⁄4 less saturated fat
- 2⁄3 more vitamin A
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta carotene
- 21 times more omega-3 fatty acid
Keep in mind that these eggs were from hens that Mother Earth News considers legitimately free range. They spend all or most of their lives outdoors, roosting in trees if they choose. This is not what is usually meant by free range eggs in supermarkets. Usually, those eggs are from chickens that can hardly be distinguished from battery-raised ones. The requirements for the free range label are laughable, with only limited access to the outdoors—and that does not mean pasture—and often nearly as crowded as those labeled battery-raised. As often as not, the outdoors that supermarket “free range” birds see has no grass, but only concrete under their feet, and no real space to roam.
Here are the results of Mother Earth News’ results of 7 of the 14 free ranges chicken eggs in their 2007 testing:
|Eggs from Confined Birds (USDA Nutrient Database)
|Free-range Egg Averages
Mother earth News, 2007
Mixed Non-Hybrid Breeds
|Shady Grove Farm/
Hurdle Mills, NC;
|Norton Creek Products;
|Skagit River Ranch;
Sedro Woolley, WA;
|Spring Mountain Farms;
Troutville, VA; Rhode Island Reds
The other 7 tested egg varieties are not included because Vitamin A and Beta Carotene were not tested.
With nutritional results like these, it’s obvious that the best eggs are genuine free range.
Mother Earth News states that the Egg Nutrition Council stated in their 2005 report on the high nutrient levels in eggs:
Barring special diets or breeds, egg nutrients are most likely similar for egg-laying hens, no matter how they are raised.
Obviously, there’s a bit of double-speak in that statement. As the egg-testing results above show, hens that live relatively natural lives—that is, living outdoors in a natural environment and foraging for food—produce eggs that are far superior to those from chickens subjected to factory farming.
Mother Earth News also reported that experiments with the same kinds of hens produce superior eggs when they’re pastured. So, the right choice for your health and the right moral choice are the same: Eggs from free range pastured hens are superior in every way. They’re tastier, more nutritious, and safer.