Although many animals lay eggs, chicken eggs are not only the most common in the kitchen, but also the easiest to get right from your backyard. Whether you're just wondering about egg nutrition or want to get your own hens, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.
Nutritionally speaking, all chicken eggs are the same, regardless of whether their shells are white, brown or even blue. The color of the shell is connected to the type of hen. For example, the single-comb white leghorn hen lays white eggs, while the Plymouth Rock hen lays brown eggs. The less common Araucana hen lays blue eggs.
A single large egg, regardless of color, contains about 75 calories and 5 grams of fat, of which less than 2 grams are saturated fat. They also contain 7 grams of protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Rooster or Not?
Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether a rooster is around. In fact, having a rooster can be a problem, as this can mean the eggs will be fertilized and you could end up with baby chicks, rather than with unfertilized eggs you can eat.
Hens usually lay eggs from spring to fall. However, they need at least 12 hours of daylight to lay eggs, so if you're in an area where that doesn't happen during the fall, your hens might stop laying eggs earlier.
Handling Fresh Eggs
While most hens will lay eggs early in the morning, you might find some that do it throughout the day. It's wise to check the coop at least twice daily to gather new eggs. Eggs that are left out are more likely to get dirty or broken and can spoil. In addition, leaving eggs in the coop can attract predators, including foxes and snakes.
Once you've found the eggs, wash them with slightly warm water, dry them and store them in a carton or egg container in the refrigerator. Cooling fresh eggs will keep them edible for longer and will prevent contamination and bacteria growth.