On the Brink of Insanity: Another Secret Danger of Keeping Chickens April 10, 2012

Recently, Lissa posted on the Secret Dangers of Keeping Chickens. I’m here to warn you of another.

Now that I keep chickens, every single morning presents me with an agonizing decision. My blood pressure rises, my chest tightens, and my breathing becomes more shallow as I contemplate this: which eggs am I willing to crack and “let go of” for my breakfast? I anguish over the decision like a hoarder trying to convince herself to get rid of 25 year-old piece of cloth she picked up for free at a rummage sale with the hope of one day crafting with it.

Yes–I’m losing my mind, and I know it.

The bold, the beautiful, the strange: my morning egg basket

The bold, the beautiful, the strange: my morning egg basket

But wait! Hear me out. As I mentioned in Saturday’s CNN interview, I’m obsessed with different colored eggs… I get five different-colored green and blue eggs; eggs in six varying shades of brown, from the lightest pale to the deepest dark; three different-sized white eggs; a small, pinkish bantam egg; and a lovely cream-colored egg–not to mention daily variations like speckles, calcium deposits, extra-large and extra-small “fairy” eggs. So you can understand, right? They’re glorious. My egg basket is stunning. I want the “fix” associated with passing glances at it as I make my way through the day. What if someone unexpected drops by? I want the most spectacular-looking egg basket with which to wow them. I mean, how would YOU choose?

Here’s what goes into my decision. First, I want at least one egg of every color in my basket at all times. If I need more eggs than possible to maintain “one of each” status, I select the eggs which are most similar to another, and use those first. If I need still MORE eggs, I’m happy enough to be rid of the white and medium brown eggs, because everyone in the world has seen those. No matter what, I try always to save the most vibrant and unusual eggs: the deep, dark brown eggs from my Partridge Penedesencas, the blue egg from my Splash Ameraucana, the most saturated green from my Easter Eggers, the lovely tinted egg from my kooky Golden Lakenvelder. It may sound like the decisions should be cut and dry, but this is no joke! I waste a good three minutes a day weighing the quality of the speckles versus the vibrance of the hue; the value of strange calcium deposits over an odd shape; the uniqueness of this green over that.

My favorite mug, cracked

My favorite mug, cracked

In case you now suspect me of wider mental illness, let me just say I am SO not a hoarder by nature. Just this morning I noticed a crack in a favorite mug and experienced glee at the thought of throwing it away. Glee! And I love that stinkin’ mug! It has sentimental value. I simply love throwing things away THAT much. Also–don’t get the idea that I think there’s some inherent value in not wanting to crack the coolest eggs to eat myself, like I’m a thoughtful or good person. Perhaps the kindest, most thoughtful, most giving, most trulyselfless person I know–my sister-in-law, Candace–is one of those types that likes to snatch up the prettiest eggs for eating. So I don’t delude myself into thinking my odd neurosis reflects well on me.

I guess I just want to know: how many of you suffer from the same egg-related mental illness? I honestly think I’ll feel better if I know I’m not the only one. Or, maybe one of you knows the name for my affliction and can recommend me a good therapist.

Jane Beecher April 10th, 2012

I know exactly what you mean! If this is irrational behavior then so be it…

Cat Fox April 10th, 2012

You are not the only one. You have a soul sister in Seattle. Like you, I relish the thought of throwing things away (take that, cracked mug!), but I hate to disturb the beautiful symmetry of my eggs in their egg cartons, lovingly and artfully arranged by shading and color. It’s a WORK OF ART, dang it! How can I remove one to eat it? Don’t you see how the green to blue to cream shading will be totally disrupted if I change a single component of the piece?
You’re nuts. I’m nuts. At least we understand each other!

Kyle April 10th, 2012

I’m with you on this one!!!! I get a little angry with my hubby when I find out he has eaten all of my gorgeous huge blue eggs! I can’t wait to have a larger assortment next year, my chicks are coming the week of may 7th!!!!

Tammy April 10th, 2012

Love this! I do the same thing. I thoroughly enjoy showing everyone all the different beauties my girls leave for me. In fact, when I pack them up to share with friends, I always arrange them in a specific order, and have the same amount of each so they look nice in the carton! ๐Ÿ™‚

lisa April 10th, 2012

now i feel better knowing im not the only one out there . I was just blaming it on the fact that its my first time ever having fresh eggs . I love the different shades of color and the different sizes .

Tami April 10th, 2012

I have brand new babies and I was thinking how will I crack that first egg?! How can I do it.:) My husband (knowing me well) even said to me… what are you going to do with these eggs? I said eat them of course. He snickered and walked into the other room ๐Ÿ™‚ We shall see. . . .

MArilyn Stewart April 10th, 2012

I am with you on the egg hoardering. I like all my eggs, and the pretty basket they create. My husband has had the lap-band. Eggs are the easieset things to go down and he loves them-but it’s hard to share. I have a Lakenvelder that lays small white eggs. My others(Wyandott, Orpington, Easter Eggers) lay shades of tan, blue and green. Can’t wait for my Barred Rock, RIR & Maran to start laying (should be with in the next month). The in September 2 Black Stars and 3 Orpingtons should be laying.

I ma OCD about eggs!

Heidi Newman April 10th, 2012

Ya know. being a “newbie” .. and only having my 6 girls for 6 weeks… I’ve started to wonder if I’ve gone “over the edge” in my adoration of them. I think about them first thing in the am (ok after giving the cat on my chest her dose of adoration)…. NO WHILE doing that…. planning what goodies I may take to the coop….thinking what the backlash would be if I called in sick and spent the day playing with my girls…. NOW you tell me in 5 months or so I’m going to have a whole new set of troubles deciding which eggs to eat! HA! Thanks! LOL! Just what I wanted to look forward to! TEEHEE

Cheryl April 10th, 2012

I’m grateful I only have three girls but I have to look each egg over and relish that no two eggs are the same. I feed berries and snacks for lets go inside at night treats and I swear this effects the beauy of each egg. I like to set them out in pretty bowls when we have guests (only for a little while) so everyone can admire. If I could I’d probly keep each and everyone. Who knew chickens could do this to grown people ๐Ÿ™‚

Debra Brown April 10th, 2012

But don’t they go bad if you don’t use them?

Kathy April 10th, 2012

My husband says the neighbors are going to start (if they haven’t already) calling me “the crazy chicken lady.” I love everything about my flock. It used to break my heart to use any of my eggs. I felt like it was murdering the potential chick – LOL I have gotten over that part but I still tend to use the “other” eggs before the pretty ones. I have a collection of what you called the “fairy eggs.” I take those teeny things and pin them and drain out the insides and give them a rinse. I keep them for craft projects and just to show people how tiny they are.

Elizabeth Beller April 10th, 2012

So glad I’m not alone in my obsession with eggs… and the chickens who made them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I particularly go gaga over bantam eggs. Loving the richness of their flavor and the golden yolks that seem to tower over standard sized eggs. They are scrumptious jewels. Thanks for posting such an entertaining story, and for reassuring me I’m not the only person who’s a little cuckoo for her eggs!

cherwin April 10th, 2012

We have all bantam breeds and our hens lay the cutest little eggs in shades of light browns to white. My problem is not with showing the eggs off but my husband won’t eat them because of the fact that he can’t stand the thought of them not hatching. So all our eggs go into the incubators.

Kaitie April 10th, 2012

@Debra Brown.

Of course they will go bad, but not in the time it takes for your girls to lay a more vibrant color, or a more perfect egg so you can eat the less important one.

I too have a problem with taking that one egg out of the perfect carton. I will wait until my girls lay the exact size and color before I take that one out. I normally stick with the crooked eggs that do not look as good.

michelle April 10th, 2012

I don’t really hoard mine I just don’t have a lot of chickens so i tend to feed my fiance the store bought ones and eat my nice blue one/brown banty eggs myself….obviously he needs to buy me more chickens right!

Teri April 10th, 2012

THANK YOU!!! I feel SO much better now knowing I’m not the only one who does thing like this (phew!)

LindaG April 10th, 2012

I can’t wait until I have such a problem. ;o)

Liz April 10th, 2012

I know what you mean!! I have 14 hens and I love going to the nests each evening and gathering the fruits of their labors! I am forever pulling weeds or tossing them apple cores or gleenings from my garden – the minute I walk near their yard they all run to the gate to welcome me and see what treat is in store for them. I absolutely love all the colors. Who knew?!?!

Lisa Meaux April 10th, 2012

Just yesterday I accidentally dropped my Speckled Sussex’s first egg — a perfect, warm brown egg — and the feeling I experienced when I saw it broken on the floor was nothing less than pure grief! I’ll never get that egg back!

Cliffside Chicken Ranch April 10th, 2012

I’m okay as long as all my eggs are not in one basket!

Parrish Worrell April 10th, 2012

I keep the shell of a giant egg one of my girls laid. My wife said it was time to throw out. I just couldn’t. I look forward t all the variety of eggs I get. Nothing like the girls and my grandkids to take away the stress.

Gwen April 10th, 2012

I had to laugh at your article. We get a lot of eggs. How many that we can’t eat also I put in a carton to give to the neighbors. However, the eggs in a carton have to be put in in an exactly precise order. I have to have 2 from my welsummers, 2 from my easter eggers, 2 from my bcm’s, 2 from my americunas, 2 from my banties, and 2 light brown eggs from some of my other chickens. We eat a lot of the light brown eggs from our chickens. I just love the ooohs and awes from friends, relative, and neighbors when they see all of the different colors of eggs I have brought them. It is amazing all the different colors they come in. I love my chickens.

Brian Grafton April 10th, 2012

When I first started I was proud to share my eggs. It would take me a long time to find the perfect dozen eggs to best “showcase” my beauties

Beth April 10th, 2012

I sell eggs and I like my assortments to look pretty so I agonize over color, size and arrangement of the cartons. Therefor, I end up eating the oddly shaped, small, and stained eggs. If I do get the opportunity to choose any egg I want, I go for my Cuckoo Maran Eggs. They are so large, rich and shiny. Plus the shells break so beautifully. I love my assorted egg basket, but those are my favorite of all.

traci April 10th, 2012

Well, reading through these comments has calmed me down. Thanks, everybody! There’s nothing like positive feedback from kindred spirits to make you feel like you “belong”. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Many of you have mentioned wanting the placement of your eggs in cartons “just so,” which I can totally relate to as well!)

Michele Simmons April 10th, 2012

Traci, Do what I do – blow out the egg contents and you can display the colorful and different size eggs in a large clear glass vessel on your table! I have everthing from my first banty egg to an emu egg. It never fails to get comments and you can always add new eggs to the collection

traci April 10th, 2012

@Michele: I’ve done that in the past, but I wonder if the egg colors fade over time? I made an egg wreath last year, and in order to ‘strengthen’ the eggs, I sprayed matte urethane on them. The colors have definitely lost vibrance. I feel like other eggs I’ve blown out and saved, sans urethane, have lost vibrance over time, too. Do you have this experience?

Wensday April 10th, 2012

As you can see you are not alone! We recently lost all but one of our girls in a dog attack and I so miss the dark brown eggs, the speckled eggs and my favorite blue eggs from Millie my EE. It was so hard eating those eggs from the girls we lost, I almost couldn’t do it. Whenever I gave eggs away I always went thru them and picked out the best and of course had to include several eggs from my EE since non-chicken lovers had no idea eggs came in other shades than white and brown! And sometimes my husband does call me the “crazy Chicken lady” which I am happy to accept! 3 babies in the brooder now with 15 more coming in June!!

Marsha Elliott April 11th, 2012

I do the same thing Traci. You are not alone. I have 12 girls and can’t wait everyday to see what they have done. Most of my eggs are given to neighbors and a few friends. I also love to just go outside and watch them run around: especially when they have a treat to eat. we blow our eggs when we want to keep a very special one.

Darlene April 11th, 2012

I am waiting for my chickies to lay eggs-they are only approximately 6 wks old and seem to have all their feathers. I can’t even think like that or I will never eat an egg. My biggest thing is to stop buying chicks; I started with 6 and now have 12 with 4 more coming from a friend. I asked my husband how many square feet I have so I could calculate how many more chicks I could buy-lol. I have 12 waiting for their coop to be finished. They go out during the day in a pen and come in at night because it is too cold. I told my husband I am bonded to my chicks-it will be with mixed feelings that they will be placed in their new home soon. I brought them in last night because it was so cold instead of leaving them outside with a heat lamp.

June April 14th, 2012

Yes to all of the above. Although it’s nice to see I have company, noone else admitted to blowing out the first 60 or so from a small assorted flock… ๐Ÿ™‚ I decorated my Christmas tree with them and now display them in baskets so I can refrigerate and eat the fresh eggs in good conscience – artfully arranging them in the cartons, of course!

Heather April 14th, 2012

I can’t wait until I have an egg basket like yours. I have to admit I have a tendency towards hoarding, so I’ve already been thinking about how to save the prettiest eggs. My plan is to treat each egg like it’s destined for Easter; poke a little hole in the top, poke a slightly larger hole in the bottom and gently blow air into the egg forcing the white & yolk out the larger hole. Sometimes you need a long needle to break up the yolk before it will come out.

I’ve done this many times with store bought eggs and am looking forward to the day I can do this with eggs from my own chickens.

stacy April 14th, 2012

I to love all the different colors of eggs..blue teal shades of borwns speckled white..love to get my eggs and it look like an Easter basket..nothing is like seeing the eyes of kids when they see so many colors..exspecialy when they see the green eggs..

traci April 14th, 2012

All of you egg blowers: we’re developing an inexpensive, awesome little egg blowing tool ourselves. It should be up on our website in the fall. I’m an egg-blowing fanatic, too, but I don’t have the patience to do too many “by hand” with just a pin and my lungs!

Teresa April 19th, 2012

Oh, I thought this was my own little secret pathology! I am glad to see I am not the only one obsessed with egg colors. ๐Ÿ™‚

Karen April 25th, 2012

I think I have the beginnings of this affliction.
I am in the process of obtaining chicks that will
someday give me a rainbow assortment
of colors. I only have 2, 8 week old chicks now, but
I am expecting in the next month.
Marans, Welsumer, EE, true Ameracauna,
Orpington wyandotes faverole etc etc
maybe even cream legbar. I went from wanting
6 chickens to expecting about 15 chicks. I have
also started bidding on hatching egg auctions if I like the
color of the eggs. I don’t even eat eggs that often. What
I’m going to do with all the beautiful eggs is beyond me.

[…] storage before eating at home. A lot of people use an egg basket or egg skelter so they can really show off the beauty of their flock’s eggs. And in fact, I have to admit that before I hard boil eggs for making deviled eggs, I generally let […]

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