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  • Kristin Ramey

Eggs, Stains, and Colors

OK, I'll warn you first that this might be stream-of-consciousness, it kind of came to me while I was washing eggs yesterday.

I noticed that some of our chicken eggs are getting weirdly stained. And in normal fashion, I can't get to the punchline quickly. Our duck eggs are often stained. Their smoother shell helps them clean off a bit better, but they do tend to stain easily. Mostly it's because ducks are gross and they lay their eggs wherever they feel like it. Mine have never used egg boxes or anything that I have provided for them. They literally will lay in the pond, in a mud puddle, in the middle of anywhere. So duck eggs are always quite dirty and they easily stain.

Now the chicken story is a bit different. Generally, my chickens live in a coop in the pasture. But over the years, we have collected some other random birds - my daughter's 4H projects, some birds from a friend's farm. These guys ended up in my orchard with their own coops. I like to raise one breed of bird so that I can hatch my own replacements. So I keep these random birds separate, so that I can continue to hatch Rhode Island Reds.

But recently, the few chickens that were added happen to be green and blue egg layers, and one that lays white eggs. Sometime over the winter/spring Shannon and I cleaned out the coop and used leaves as the bedding. We have folks that donate leaves to the farm. They make GREAT bedding for my pigs. I can't use it for my sheep, because it isn't very absorbent, and doesn't help much in the barn. So we sometimes use it in chicken coops. It's great for baby turkeys. But we did discover that the orchard birds, who are laying in a coop with leaves as bedding - those eggs are getting stained.

So, if you are opening up a dozen duck eggs, yes, you are going to see staining on the eggs. All times of the year because they just lay where they feel like it.

And if you open a dozen chicken eggs, you will see blue eggs, green eggs, and a few random white or ivory eggs on occasion. And yes, some of them will be stained - until we use up the leaves, and clean that coop to add straw or hay as the bedding instead.

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