Wow! A Double Yolk!


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It’s happening again – we are finding double yolks in our eggs. My mother always thought it meant good luck, but does it?

Myths

With the odds of cracking open a double and triple (yikes!) yolk eggs are about one in one thousand, it’s understandable that there would be myths and superstitions surrounding this event.

Wiccans believe that the double yolk is a sign of good fortune, but the Norse thought it was a sign of doom – death was imminent for someone in the family. The most common myth is that someone in the family will get pregnant and have twins, or someone in the family will be getting married soon because of a pregnancy.

None of these occurrences have a time limit on them, and all could happen in a reasonable amount of time. But to attribute it to a double yolk egg, well, seems like a bit of a stretch.

Facts

Double yolks are caused the same way twins happen. The ovary releases two eggs too close together. In mammals, the result would be twins. For hens, the closeness of the release allows one shell to form around the two eggs forming a double yolk egg.

This typically happens in young hens whose system is not synced up properly or in older hens that are nearing the end of their egg laying days. In either case, it is the metabolism of the hen that causes this occurrence.

If the egg were fertilized, the result would probably be two dead chicks instead of twins since the egg shell itself could not expand to meet the growing demands of the chicks. The hens, themselves, could become egg bound or suffer from a vent prolapse.

There are some hens that have a hereditary trait to lay double yolkers. This would be more common in heavy breeds such as the Buff Orpington.

Safe and healthy?

If you get a double yolk egg consider it a protein bonus and scramble it up, but, if it happens when you are baking, it would not count as two eggs because the amount of egg white is less and could alter the taste of whatever you were baking.

In any case, enjoy your eggs and don’t be overly concerned about the superstitions surrounding double yolks.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.
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An egg a day – or there about


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Our customer base for our eggs is like most businesses – our regulars, our occasionals and our drop-ins. Some of our customers understand the egg production process and others are surprised.

No rooster?

We are often asked how we can get eggs from our hens without a rooster. Really? You are really asking that question? Okay, let’s do sex education 101 here. The hen will lay an egg every 26 hours. The reproductive system starts forming the new egg once an egg has been laid. The entire cycle take 26 hours. The hen’s body does not care if a rooster is present or not. The rooster is only necessary to fertilize the egg if we want to hatch more chicks. Want the eggs to eat? No rooster, no need to worry about scrambling a fertilized egg.

No eggs?

Yeah, the hens went on strike this week. No, but their body may have. After about ten months of laying eggs the hens go into a molt season. They lose a lot of their feathers, their bodies take a break, and then, they go back into the business of laying eggs. Of course, all the hens don’t molt at the same time because the all didn’t start laying eggs on the dame day.

We have Rhode Island Red hens. This breed usually starts laying eggs at around five months old. Ad, although we would like to think the entire group of hens that we purchased were born on the same day, they probably weren’t. And just like other mammals, their body cycle may be faster or slower than the norm. So they might start laying eggs a few days earlier than their feathered sisters and may go into molt sooner or even later than the rest of the hens in the coop.

One thing is for sure, I see a drop in the number of eggs that I collect each day. Once the molt is over, normal production is resumed.

More hens?

Every 18 months or so we purchase another set of chicks. Even though we are still getting eggs, with each molt the hens produce less eggs. So, we may get 14 eggs a day from a young group of hens, the number of eggs that we collect each day can drop significantly after the first year and each year thereafter.

We could cull the hens by removing the ones that are not producing or have slowed down, or we could just add more hens. Rhode Island Reds do make good eating hens, but, they need to be culled by the time they are three years old. Otherwise the meat may be stringy but still make good soup!

Other elements

The weather can also affect the ability of the hens to lay. We keep a light on during the winter to simulate longer days. We also keep the temperature in the coop above freezing. This has helped with continued egg production during the winter. We have a fan in the coop for the sticky, hot summer nights as well. But continued storms or high winds also affect the hens and drop egg production.

So, in all, we try to keep our hens happy so they produce almost an egg a day, but weather and their normal body functions will sometimes cause a decrease in production. It’s just the nature of things!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

 

How do these hens live?


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People often ask us if our hens are free-range hens. To them, it means the hens are allowed to come and go as they please. But, when we look at the government and Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) standards, free range is not as free as you think.

Caged

No need to expand on this – most eggs that are produced for the grocery store are from caged hens. They have a minimum amount of room and are primarily fed a corn or soy diet.

Cage-Free

Don’t let the word “free” sidetrack you. These hens are not confined to a minimum area, but, they are still in a cramped facility and do not have access to the great outdoors. So they are not as “free” as the term suggests. They, too, are primarily fed a corn or soy diet.

Free-Range

This is where it can get confusing. USDA requirements standards state that the hens must be given access to the outdoors. They do not determine how much or how often. HFAC standards state the hens must be outdoors, weather permitting, for at least 6 hours a day. These hens may still be fed a corn or soy diet.

Pasture-Raised

This classification has been added by HFAC and it means that the hens are outdoors year-round. They are allowed to go inside at night for protection from predators BUT they should not be housed for more than two weeks a year due to inclement weather.

Hens that are Free-Range or Pasture-Raised are usually healthier and produce better eggs. One reason behind this is the hens have a better choice of food. A hen’s diet should consist of insects and other seeds, grains, grit that are found in nature.

Although we always keep pelleted food available for our hens, they do not eat as much of it when they are allowed to roam as when we keep them in the coop.

So, are our hens Free-Range hens? For the most part, yes. They are allowed outside or at least in the barn during the day and return to their coop at night. However, we do not let them out mid-June to mid-July as this is when our resident fox is teaching the kits how to hunt. And although hens make a tasty meal, we would rather not supply the fox with ours. During the summer they do have a fan to keep the heat down in the coop. We also keep them housed in the dead of winter because they can get frost-bite. Again, a heat lamp in the coop keeps the temps within range for their health.

Will we ever get “certified” for our eggs? Probably not. But rest assured, our hens are happy and enjoy roaming the pastures with the goats, cows, and horses.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

Storing and Keeping the Egg


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Have you ever wondered how long you can keep eggs? Or, what is the best way to store and egg?

Don’t wash fresh eggs

An experiment conducted by Mother Earth News tried different methods of storing and preserving eggs and reported that at the end of seven months, non-refrigerated, unwashed eggs stored the best followed by eggs placed in sealed container in the refrigerator.

But, aren’t we told to always refrigerate our eggs? Yes, especially if you purchase them from a store. Eggs taken right from the hen and not washed are covered with a light coating of nature’s sealant called “bloom” and this protects the contents of the egg from air and bacteria. You can see the bloom shine on the egg that the hen in the picture above is laying.

The egg shell is porous, so anything, including air, that the egg is exposed to once the bloom is washed off, can contaminate the contents.

Store in a container

The refrigerated eggs held up, but, I suspect not because they were in the refrigerator, but because they were stored in a sealed container which also protected it from bacteria.

That being said, I would not keep fresh eggs in the refrigerator door for any length of time unless you are like us and eat at least a dozen a week! A better investment would be those camping egg containers.

Point down

Whether you store your eggs in the door, a sealed egg container, or the egg carton itself, be sure that your egg point is down. There is an air sac on the wider end of the egg. This is the air the chick would breathe before hatching. This air also acts as a barrier to bacteria entering the egg – unless, of course, the egg still has its bloom. Storing the egg with the point down also keeps the yolk in the center of the egg which is a plus if you like to make deviled eggs!

So, don’t wash fresh eggs and store them in a container pointy-end down, and they will keep for you.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

Eggs! For Your Health!


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I was rather surprised when I read an article earlier this year about a woman who is 116 years old. Yes, 116 years old. No type there.

She lives in Italy, and when asked about what she contributed her longevity to, she first mentioned her daily glass of homemade brandy, but then quickly added, she eats two eggs a day – one raw and one cooked. This diet was suggested by her doctor when she was 20 years old and had anemia. She’s been doing it ever since.

Yes, she does eat a small portion of meat and pasta, cereal and milk – yes milk – usually two glasses every day. She is in good health – and takes no medication. Wow!

It was the eggs that intrigued me. I remember when eggs were bad for you and was told they contributed to high cholesterol. Yet, this woman has been eating two a day for almost 100 years! So I decided to find out the real story about eggs.

About six months ago I blogged that eggs were good for your eyes because the yolks are a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of these may reduce the risk of macular degeneration. What I also learned is the egg contains choline which can enhance brain development and memory.

Although the egg contains a large amount of cholesterol compared to other foods, it is no longer labeled as a risk for high cholesterol. In fact, while the egg can raise the HDL (good cholesterol) level, it also changes the size of LDL (bad cholesterol) from small to big. Big LDL is ok for your blood.

Low in calories – only 77 in an average egg – it is packed full of the vitamins and minerals your body needs – 9 essential amino acids, iron, phosphorous, selenium, vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5, and, if you eat eggs from range fed hens, Omega 3!

Now for the best part. Eggs can help you lose weight! In a study that provided overweight women with two breakfasts that were identical in calories – a bagel or an egg – the group that ate the egg for breakfast ate less for lunch and ate less over the next 36 hours! [ref] At the end of 8 weeks, the egg diet participants showed a 61% greater reduction in BMI and a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference. [ref]

I’m beginning to understand why that 116 year old woman is so healthy! I’ll pass of the raw egg, but I’ll take mine over easy every morning from now on.

KeiLin Farm, producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, is located in Davisburg, Michigan.

They’re Good For Your Eyes!


Yolk information

So many of our customers have remarked how good our eggs tasted, how orange the yolk was, and how nicely they stood up in the pan.

I knew that the fresher the egg, the more body the yolk had. Since we have a steady stream of customers for our eggs, and a waiting list in the winter months when the hens slow down, I knew our eggs were very fresh when sold.

But what about the color?

So I started researching the color of egg yolks and came across some interesting information regarding eggs and their yolks.

The color of the yolk is dependent on what the hen eats! Our hens free range in the mild months and are only in the coop when the cold could damage their feet or combs. Yes, hens can get frost-bite in the bitter cold!

But I also learned that the yolk is very nutritional for your eyes! The color indicates the beta carotene level and is also a source of lutein – both of which are very beneficial for your eyes!

So, scramble them, fry them, stuff them, or hard boil them. However you enjoy your eggs – they are an excellent source of nutrients to keep your eyes healthy!

 

KeiLin Farm, producer farm fresh beef and eggs, is located in Davisburg, Michigan.