Kaylee Vaugh de-mythtifies eggs for us.
Over the last several decades, it has became less common for people to keep chickens and many people have become more disconnected from their food sources. Because of this, many myths have become commonly accepted.
I’m sure that every chicken keeper has no doubt heard (and maybe even believed!) a myth regarding their chickens and the egg production process! Being prepared to answer questions and stop the spread of misinformation is one of the best ways for chicken keepers to promote the proper care and use of chickens. It’s also a great way to help people become better connected to their food!
We are discussing 5 common myths surrounding chicken egg laying in order to get to the truth!
Myth #1: You need a rooster for hens to lay eggs
A lot of people are surprised to learn that hens will lay eggs even if a rooster isn’t present. In fact, most commercial egg farms only keep hens. All healthy hens will produce eggs regularly once they reach laying age.
However, if a rooster is present, there is a chance that the eggs could be fertilized. But, having a rooster doesn’t guarantee that all eggs will be fertilized! Some hens may not have been mated. And for hens that were mated, it can still take 7 to 10 days after mating for eggs to become fertilized!
Myth #2: You can’t eat fertilized eggs
While we are on the topic of fertilization, let’s tackle another common myth: you can’t eat fertilized eggs. It’s perfectly fine to eat a fertilized egg and there is no taste difference. In fact, it takes a very trained eye to even tell a fertilized egg from a non-fertilized egg.
Fertilized eggs are just that: eggs! They won’t develop into anything unless if they are incubated under the correct conditions. As long as your eggs are collected daily from broody hens, you don’t need to worry about eating a developing baby chicken.
Myth #3: Fertilized eggs are healthier
While some people are cautious about eating fertilized eggs, others believe that they are actually healthier. This claim is false as well, though! So far, there is no scientific proof that fertilized eggs are superior to non-fertilized eggs – unless if you are trying to incubate them to hatch chicks of course!
Myth #4: Chickens lay an egg every day
Now that we have established that hens will lay eggs regardless of a rooster being present, let’s discuss another common belief. If you have raised chickens for any amount of time, you probably already know that chickens don’t lay eggs every day. However, this might come as quite the shock to some of your non-chicken keeping friends!
The truth is that every breed and each unique chicken will lay a different amount of eggs. It is common for production breeds like the Leghorn to lay more frequently than heritage breeds. Seasonal changes will also effect egg laying, since chickens generally need 14 hours of daily sunlight to regularly produce eggs. Finally, young healthy chickens with good genetics will lay the most regularly.
Myth #5: Dark yolks taste better than light colored yolks
The color of an egg’s yolk is dependent on the laying hen’s diet. Hens that eat food sources that contain carotenoids will lay darker colored eggs. Carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments which lend their color to different foods. Foods that have a yellow, orange or red color (like squash, apricots and even tomatoes!) contain carotenoids.
This explains why chickens who free range and eat kitchen scraps are more likely to lay eggs with darker colored yolks since they eat a variety of foods. While many people (myself included!) think that darker yolks do taste better, there is no firm evidence yet to suggest that darker yolks taste superior to light yellow yolks.
Kaylee Vaughn is a suburban homesteader, caring for chickens, goats, and a large garden on a little less than an acre. She and her family strive to create the most efficient homestead possible in the small space we have available. Her chickens are not only beautiful yard ornaments, but also a vital part of their homestead management practices! “We utilize them to produce manure, control pests, turn compost, and more.” Kaylee’s nick-named them “the gardeners” because they are always in the garden, working hard – and redecorating on occasion, too! You can follow Kaylee through her website.