Normally, I don't weigh the eggs to grade them -- we aren't a commercial operation and don't need to comply with the commercial grading requirements to stick them in the refrigerator until we need them for breakfast or baked goods. It is interesting, now and then, to check the flocks's performance against commercial standards. The information can be helpful in deciding whether it's time to cull non-producers, bring in a new bloodline, or change their feed formula.
These chicken eggs are in the medium-to-large range, about normal for pullet eggs from Wyandotte hens. Pullets, the younger hens that are just starting to lay, tend to produce smaller eggs. The eggs tend to get a bit larger as the hens mature. By the time a hen is several years old, she might lay an egg every second or third day, and those eggs tend to be noticibly larger than the others. I don't get many double-yolk eggs from my flock, but those I do get come from my two oldest hens. I also get an occasional extra-small egg with no yolk. I haven't figured out yet which hen that comes from.
The duck eggs fits nicely into a Jumbo egg container. The one pictured is on the small size and likely was laid by one of the Golden Cascade duck hens. They're a newer breed, introduced in 1984, by Holderread's and were bred specifically for their reliable egg production. I also have a couple of Pekin duck hens. Their eggs are larger, but they don't lay as many as the Golden Cascades.
A duck egg can be used just like a chicken egg. The taste is a little stronger, and the texture of the cooked eggs is firmer. I especially like to use duck eggs in my bread recipes for the subtle improvements in taste and texture.
The goose eggs are safe to eat, too, and one would make quite a meal. I've never had one though because the geese aren't prolific layers like our other poultry. American Buff geese aren't that common, and we'd like to increase our flock from three to . . . well, more.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Here's a comparison of various egg types, just to give you an idea of the size differences. Eggs from left to right: goose, 6.5 oz.; duck, 2.6 oz.; chicken 1.8 oz; chicken 2 oz. I put the goose and duck eggs into the incubator, and the chicken eggs were breakfast.