Meet Edna K, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and Fozzy, a Buff Orpington Frizzle. As our chicks age we are figuring out who is a cockerel and who is a pullet, and will sadly be rehoming the cockerels to prevent the crowing from our coop disrupting the neighbours. We are looking for no kill homes for Bubble and Butters, and have welcomed in these two beauties to take their places. Isn’t Edna stunning?? Fozzy is molting right now so her feathers are a bit patchy, but we have met her before and she is a beautiful bird also. These two are already laying, which brings our total to 3 laying hens*; Britney has been laying steadily since we brought her home, and – drumroll please – Squeak laid her first egg yesterday!
*Edna, Fozzy and Britney are all around or over 1 year making them “hens” but Squeak is only about 6 months so is still considered a “pullet” (I’m learning about chicken things!)
It’s so little!!! And she laboured over that thing for like 2 days hahaha. Day before yesterday she started hanging out by the gate of the new run, and chirping a bit. I let her out and she walked right up the hill to the old coop and sat in Britney’s former nesting box. After a bit of being uncomfortable and pacing around she gave up and wanted to go back to the new coop. Yesterday was the same, pacing and chirping by the gate so I let her out and she went straight back up to the old coop and cuddled into a nesting box. I left her for a bit then 20 minutes later heard a big kerfufle outside. Squeak was squawking which was making Bubble squawk down in the other coop. I opened to old coop to release Squeak and found the itty bitty egg in the nesting box. I think she was bragging about her first egg haha.
Squeak is growing into a very beautiful hen (she is a black copper maran). Her feathers are black with iridescent greens and blues, and are sooo soft and velvety to the touch.
^ Fozzy in a photo taken back in June of this year.
So what have we been doing with these eggs you ask? Good question, because I don’t eat eggs. I’ll eat them if they are IN something, but a scrambled or poached egg makes me want to yack. J is British and eats eggs all day long, so he’s been taking care of them up to this point. All of my home baking is vegan and I use egg replacers, but now that we have access to eggs that I know the source of (and I know the chickens are happy and well cared for) I am going to start including them in some of my baking. Something like the frozen lemon torte I made a few months ago can’t be made vegan because meringue just can’t be made with anything other than eggs. This is the type of thing I will use our eggs for.
First thing we made with Britney’s eggs was a batch of lemon curd that is to die for.
If you enjoy canning and don’t have a copy of Food in Jars you better get one, it’s great. I’ll post her incredible recipe for lemon curd but you should support her fabulous publication and get a copy for your kitchen 🙂
^ Britney’s eggs!
Meyer Lemon Curd
1/4 cup finely grated Meyer lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Combine zest and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Using a double boiler or, like I did, a heat proof bowl over about 2 inches of boiling water in a pot (not touching the water), combine egg yolks and whole eggs and whisk together. Add the zest and sugar combination and whisk in. Finally, add the lemon juice and stir until it is blended. Add the butter and place the bowl over the boiling water stirring regularly with a silicone spatula.
Use a candy thermometer to monitor the heat. As it approaches 190-200 deg F / 90-95 deg C it should begin to thicken. When the curd has thickened to the consistency of sour cream it is finished (the recipe says 6-9 minutes but it took a lot longer for us, just hang in there and keep stirring). When thickened enough strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the zest and any bits of egg that got scrambled.
We then divided it into prepared 500ml jars (recipe makes 2 jars) and processed in a hot water bath for 25 minutes. When the 25 mins is up let the jars sit for an additional 5 minutes in the pot after you turn off the heat (remove the lid too) to keep the curd from reacting to the drastic heat change.
IT’S SOOOO GOOD I’m obsessed.