Goat Eggs (but really, Olive Eggers)

I think our goats have started laying eggs.

IMG_2305

Indisputable evidence; hiding in plain sight.

I don’t know how or, quite frankly, why, but there’s indisputable evidence that they have.

As luck would have it, there’s no discernible difference between goat eggs and chicken eggs, so we’ve decided to go ahead and eat the goat eggs as well.

The weather is too cold for hatching now, but we are excited to see the little goat babies when they hatch.

But, as cute as newly-hatched goat kids probably are, what I really want to talk about are Olive Egger Chickens.

About seven or eight months back, I acquired some Olive Eggers from a friend.  I was hoping for a more diversified flock and, consequently, a more varied collection of eggs.  I didn’t know very much about Olive Eggers, but I managed to learn a little bit over time.

Olive Eggers are (obviously, I think) named for the color of their eggs.  They are not a breed unto themselves, but are a cross between a dark-egg laying breed (Black Copper Marans, for instance) and a blue-egg laying breed (frequently Americauna or Aracauna).  They are reported to be prolific egg producers, good winter layers, and more skittish than other birds.

These were the facts as they were presented to me.

Fine, I said.  That all sounds good to me, I said.

IMG_2317

Our lone OE hen, nervously trying to hide from the camera, thwarted only by our lone surviving OE rooster who is also nervously trying to hide from the camera

But the Olive Eggers I got from a friend have not yet started laying any eggs.  This is mainly because all but one of them turned out to be roosters.  So, while I was enjoying some rooster noodle soup the other day, imagine my surprise when Dave walked in with a beautiful olive green egg!

The confusing thing about this set of circumstances, however, was that only moments before I had noticed that our OE hen had yet to leave the coop that very cold day and Dave had found this egg in the garage.

Hmm…

Me: “Are you sure you found this in the garage?”

Dave: “Yes, why?”

Me: “Was there a hen nearby?”

Dave: “Yeah, the white one.”

Me: “But that’s not an Olive Egger”

Dave: “Umm.  Apparently it is.”

IMG_2309

The Accidental Olive Egger

So, here’s my conundrum.  The “white one” is a bird we hatched last spring.  It is, without question, a mix between a Black Copper Marans rooster and a Rhode Island Red hen.  We know this for sure.  The thing is, Rhode Island Reds don’t lay blue eggs and they are not mentioned anywhere when one is researching Olive Eggers.

And yet, a green egg came out of this bird.

So, I’m happy and confused and more confident than ever that you can’t trust everything you learn when chickens are the subject at hand.

IMG_2332All I know is that between the hens and the goats, we’re gonna be eating well for awhile.

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About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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5 Responses to Goat Eggs (but really, Olive Eggers)

  1. Dear Applewood Farm,
    I have a neighbor fellow — Mike is his name — whose wife took on the maximum 4 chickens permitted by the city of Madison, Wisconsin. He was curious to find that she would leave collected eggs on the kitchen counter. He was told that as long as they are not washed they do not require refrigeration. That is, they come out of the chicken with some sort of seal. He avoided eating the eggs for a long while but eventually consumed them without incident. So perhaps I have no question for you after all. But can you confirm that it is appropriate for them to be doing this? And explain why a chicken would lay an edible egg. I would think they would want to lay eggs that would make animals (and people) sick if not refrigerated. Maybe even if refrigerated. You know, like a defense.
    Love,
    Greg

    • Dear Greg,

      Mike is totally right that eggs do not require refrigeration. If he is raising his own birds and knows that they are free of Salmonella (which they would be; there’s no reason his allotment of four chickens should be contaminated), then there is no risk of contamination in his food. While refrigeration does retard bacterial growth, it takes longer for bacteria to multiply than it would take him to eat what I imagine is somewhere in the range of a dozen eggs a week, if he’s lucky.

      They do not come out of the chicken with some sort of seal (although I think that description is adorable), but rather immediately after laying, the chicken coats the egg in a liquid that protects the egg and dries almost immediately. When we are collecting eggs and happen to encounter a freshly-laid one, it will sometimes still be wet to the touch, but will dry in moments. I think of this coating (I think it’s called a cuticle, actually) as providing the same service to eggs as breastmilk provides newborns–that essential bit of protection that can’t be found anywhere else. Washing eggs removes the cuticle, putting the egg at greater risk of contamination. Americans are stupid and we make horrifying food choices. You can read about American food stupidity as it relates to eggs here: http://io9.com/americans-why-do-you-keep-refrigerating-your-eggs-1465309529

      Lastly, a chicken lays an edible egg because the egg it lays happens to be edible. Their desires do not factor into it because they don’t think like that. They don’t know what refrigeration is because they are chickens. As much as I adore anthropomorphization, I can’t join you on this one simply because I know first-hand how totally dumb chickens are. Their only real defense is to stand perfectly still or run away. There doesn’t seem to be much strategy beyond that.

      Love,
      applewood farm

      p.s. Given the opportunity, ALL chickens will eat raw eggs. Ask Mike to drop an egg in the yard and see how fast the flock devours it.

  2. Carrissa says:

    Lovely eggs either way 🙂

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Lists Can be Fun! | applewood farm

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