Thursday, January 20, 2011
It's All In the Egg
One of the easiest, quickest things you can do to up your food intake, lower waste, get free manure and entertainment is to get a flock of backyard birds. The small home flock has taken a huge leap forward recently. Birds living side by side business and commerce. Taking up so little room but giving so much in return.
We've only been co-habiting with chickens for six months but it feels like they've always been around.
But eggs don't come just from chickens; ducks, quail, and geese also give coop contributions. The white egg in the photo is from a duck. A marvelously large thing comprised almost entirely of yolk. The brown came from a free-range bird a few cities over and the blue-green is apparently now the trademark of HeartSong. I find these little treats -only one a day right now- scattered over the backyard. My three girls are still pre-teens in the poultry world. They're still learning what to do when this oblong thing pops out.
To me eggs are a natural thing for us to consume. Hens will lay eggs regardless of a rooster. I've likened it to a woman's menstrual cycle -a process that will happen regardless - which I think actually turned one of my friends vegan. Sometimes I suppose I have that effect on people.
We feed our birds whole grains and scraps of food, all the bugs they can eat and a limited supply of feed to suppliment over the winter when the bugs are scarcer. Their manure currently graces the tops of the upturned future garden plot; the minerals already soaking into the ground.
The unfertilized eggs will rot if not carefully picked up and prepared for another creature's lunch. It's a natural process that doesn't stress the bird, cause it pain or emotional upheaval. It's packed with nutrition and energy and can be used in a variety of ways from breads to breakfasts. After we're done, we bake the shells and feed them back to the birds, continuing the cycle and providing them with protein. There is literally no waste in a backyard
It's a good feeling to be producing something so vital, tending the creatures that provide them with fresh air, good food and lots of loving. Funny, how so much can come from something so little.