Most of you reading this probably raise chickens. And most of you, like I, probably thought that chickens only laid brown or white eggs before you started raising your own flock and discovering breeds like the blue egg-laying Ameraucana or the chocolate brown egg-laying Marans. Many of you may also raise ducks and collect loads of slightly larger, richer, white and pale mint green duck eggs.
Quail - Quail eggs are tiny. Gorgeously speckled, they can be blown out to serve as beautiful decor in a bowl on your kitchen counter and the eggs also can be eaten. Quail eggs only take 16 days or so to hatch, so it's possible to grow a flock of quail in a relatively short period of time. Be forewarned that quail can fly, so they need to be in a covered run or they will fly away on you. For more information on raising quail, check out this book Practical Quail Keeping.
Bantams - Many standard breed chickens also come in bantam sizes. Think the Mini Me's of the chicken world. They lay slightly smaller eggs than a standard hen, but with their diminutive size make a great choice for families with small children. My Pet Chicken offers various bantam breeds HERE.
Ameraucanas - True Ameraucanas lay blue eggs (as do Araucanas and Cream Legbars). The blue pigment on the eggshell goes right through the pores, and the inside of an Ameraucana egg is also blue. However, the white and yolk of the egg looks like a 'normal' chicken egg. To read more about the difference between Ameraucanas, Araucanas and Easter Eggers, read HERE.
Marans - Marans, the breed of chicken originating in Marans, France, lay the gorgeous dark chocolate brown eggs. Revered by chefs worldwide, Marans eggs are thought to be superior in quality to other breeds' eggs and also have less chance of carrying salmonella. Meyer Hatchery sells various colors of Marans HERE including the popular Black Copper Marans.
Turkeys - Turkey eggs (not pictured) are about the same size as duck eggs and creamy-white or tan speckled and slightly more pointy than other eggs. Turkeys generally don't have as long a laying season as other poultry, but the eggs certainly can bet eaten. For information on choosing and raising turkeys, visit The Livestock Conservancy.
Ducks - Duck eggs are roughly 30% larger than an average chicken egg and can be used interchangeably in recipes calling for chicken eggs. They will make your baked good rise higher and taste richer. The 'official' ratio is two duck eggs equals three chicken eggs, but I often sub them in one for one and have never had any problem. Duck eggs can be white, mint green, pinkish or even charcoal gray, depending on the breed of duck. Ducks can live side by side with chickens with no problem and will be eager to show you the comical side of barnyard life. For more information or to order some ducklings, visit Metzer Farms.
Geese - Goose eggs are even larger than duck eggs but can also be eaten or used for baking and have a mild, creamy texture. To substitute goose eggs in recipes, lightly whisk the egg then measure out 3 Tablespoons of whisked egg for each chicken egg called for in your recipe. Geese make good protection animals, sounding an alarm if they sense predators or strangers. For a look at some popular breeds of geese or to order goslings, visit Metzer Farms.
Emus - Emus, the large flightless birds from Australia, also make wonderful guardians for a flock. They lay huge dark green pebbled eggs that are equal in size and volume to nearly a dozen chicken eggs and require a drill or hammer to break the shell! For more information about raising emus, visit the American Emu Association website.
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