Guide to Backyard Eggs

When hens reach maturity and begin laying eggs their bodies take time to adjust to the laying cycle and as a result their first eggs are small.

| August 2017

Learn all about raising backyard chickens from small beginnings with chicks and eggs to identifying problems within backyard flocks and how to fix them in Pam Freeman’s Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics (Voyageur Press, 2017).  Freeman’s practical advice makes chicken keeping easier with these guidelines. The following excerpt is from Chapter 4, “All About Eggs."

You can purchase this book from the Capper's Farmer store: Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics.

Once your chickens are finally old enough to lay eggs, it’s exciting to head out to the coop and check the nest boxes to see if you’ve gotten any eggs that day. Your days are filled with anticipation!

When the first egg came from my first flock, I was so excited. I’d been waiting and checking the nest boxes every day. My hens had started squatting as I walked up to them, so I knew eggs were imminent. And then suddenly there it was! I remember grabbing that egg and running inside to show my family. We all stood around the egg and admired it.

We debated whether to keep that egg or cook it. In the end, we couldn’t resist tasting it. So I took a picture for posterity’s sake, then we cooked it and we all had one bite. It was delicious and we were forever hooked on the creamy flavor of the backyard egg.

Over the next few days, we received more and more eggs. I gathered up a dozen and decided the extras should go to the rest of our family. When my dad came to pick some up, I immediately opened the egg carton and preened over the beauty of my fresh eggs. My dad, who grew up in the city, just stood and looked at the eggs. I asked him what was wrong. He asked why they were smaller than store bought eggs. I explained that chickens lay small eggs when they first start laying but not to worry because they get bigger over time. He looked at me and said that was fascinating. He took the eggs home but looked befuddled as he was leaving.

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