Eggs are largely touted as an inexpensive source of protein. Eggs contain 9 essential amino acids. They may have gotten a bad rap a few years ago for containing cholesterol, but eggs are really our friend. The protein in eggs is important to help sustain energy throughout the day. This includes physical and mental energy. Eggs also contain choline which helps promote normal cell activity. Choline has also been associated with liver function, and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. Eggs are a great thing.
I really love eggs. I like them over easy. I like them in an omelet. I like them deviled. In fact, I like them so much that I co-authored a cookbook about eggs called “Get Cracking” with my friend, Angie, over at Kitchen Hospitality.com. That cookbook is specifically about the uses for hard boiled eggs, but it’s still about eggs. (Click on the title of the book to be taken to a page where you can buy the e-book for only $.99.)
I try to be frugal with all of my grocery purchases, but once in a while, I hit a snag. Once, I paid $300 for an egg. It was a very fresh brown egg from a free range chicken. It’s the smaller, medium sized, brown egg on the left in the photo at the top of the post. The egg was delicious, and I don’t regret the purchase for a minute. If you think I’m crazy, don’t be too harsh. Wait until you hear the rest of my story.
Because of my love affair with eggs, I had the bright idea of raising chickens. Of course, when raising chickens, I decided that the best idea would be to start with chicks. Realizing that not every member of my family liked eggs, I decided that a maximum of 4 chickens would be sufficient to keep us in eggs. I purchased three little chicks from the local feed store. Each chicken was a different breed. There was a Rhode Island Red, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and a Golden Polish. Two weeks later, we added a fourth chick, an Americauna. (That addition is a funny story of it’s own.)
Initially, our expense for the chickens (and the eventual eggs) was $10 for the chicks and $5 for the food. They lived in a cardboard box in my mother’s room. She tended them and kept the cats away while she was recovering from surgery. She loved holding the chicks and tending to them. The problem with the chicks was that they were very messy. As they constantly knocked over their water, turning their bedding into a disgusting foul smelling swamp. In fact we started calling them the swamp chickens.
The cardboard box was replaced daily as was the bedding. I got free boxes from work, so there was no cost for their housing. The bigger they got, the messier they got. We needed to get them outside as soon as they were big enough to not tempt the ravens that were in our area.
We took the chicks outside when we were working in the garden and allowed them to run around to scratch and dig. The first time they were outside and the sun came out from behind a cloud, they all fell over on their sides, and I thought there was something wrong. My mom,who grew up on a farm, assured me they were fine. She said they were sunbathing. Another time, while I was kneeling and weeding my garden, all of the chicks ran underneath me when they spotted a hawk flying overhead.
We didn’t have any scrap lumber lying around, so in order to build a chicken coop/house, we needed to purchase wood, etc. By the time I got my first egg, we had spent $300. Thus, we held in our hands a $300 egg. Of course, when we got the next egg, the cost of the egg dropped to $150. We waited to eat them until the cost was down to $25 per egg. (In other words, we waited until we had our first dozen.) By the end of the year, our egg costs were below what one would pay for free range eggs per dozen, and we had more than enough to meet our needs. It’s just that the first egg was quite expensive. Still, I don’t regret the experience or the expense. That $300 egg was well worth it.
We still have two of our original chickens. They still lay eggs, but not every day like they did when they were younger. The girls are approaching 5 years old, and their productive years will soon be behind them. They will continue to live out their lives here as pets instead of food animals. Baker’s Man, who is a total city boy, once asked me what the difference was between our chickens and the chickens people eat. I looked at him and said. Food chickens don’t have names. He thought I was joking until I said “Who want’s to eat fried Buffy or Lacey and dumplings? He realized my point. The girls have names, so we plan for them to die of old age.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.