There is a small valley in the wooded hills of northwest Oregon. A creek runs through the twists and turns of the land. The pastures are dotted with livestock, fences and barns, gardens and old farm houses. It’s a logging community.
Travel down, down, down the valley, passing one farm after another, until you’ve almost come to the end. And then? There’s a sizable farm with a very lovely, quaint farmhouse surrounded by a large yard, which in turn is surrounded by apple and plum trees. And you’ll notice the barnyard. There are ducks swimming in a pool behind the open-ended barn, a pond made by the little hands of young children, who, in effort to make a comfortable place for their ducks built up the lower end of the stream, making swimming hole where they could watch the antics of the funny fowls.
Perhaps at that time you’ll also note the large black bird strutting on the other side of the barn. You can’t miss the familiar sound of thanksgiving dinner! Puffing and fluffing himself to unusual size, the male tom weaves his way among the hens. Perhaps you’ll see a scrawny young’un pecking for grit in the gravel, or see ’em settled in the shade of the stock trailer.
And not far off are the chickens and such a mixed flock you never did see! Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red, White Rock, Buff Cochin, Millie Fleur Bantams…more and more breeds! There’s such a random mix the colors are overwhelming. Unlike the other poultry, they have a permanent house and large pen, which, in spite of its size won’t hold ’em in! As you watch, you see one fly over the fence and disappear into the barn, mostly devoid of square hay bales in early spring.
A young girl appears, is trotting from the house toward the barnyard, her younger brother keeping step. To the ducks “hidden” nesting spots they go. Salvaging the eggs from among blackberry brambles, they’re off to raid the turkey’s nest under the old hay baler. And then the hen house.
Holding their t-shirts at a right angle, they carefully nestle the eggs into the cloth pouch. With each added egg, the shirts stretch a bit more, more and more, until you’re quite certain the material will never be the same again! Still, they stack the eggs neatly, then carefully walk back over the green grass, under the old apple tree and in the back door of the old farmhouse. Breakfast is served.
Eggs. I love ’em! While the two siblings just younger than I were given primary responsibility over poultry care on our farm, we all helped. Chickens provided us with the primary egg supply but we also enjoyed the variety of both duck and turkey. In the egg world of buying and selling, chickens have #1 place, while ducks hold steady in #2 and turkeys take #3. Which eggs is is best for you? Which do you prefer?
Most of us are familiar with the chicken’s egg as its most common in our North American culture. The egg of the chicken is usually #1 choice with prolific production leading to cheaper prices. Eggs vary in coloring from white-cream, tan-chocolate brown, green-blue. Though eggs are smallest of the three, these birds have been bred to be producing machines.
Hen’s production rate decreases after their 2nd year of laying. If allowed to rest (aka no light is provided) over winter, hens will stop supplying for the kitchen in this time but egg-layin’ lifespan will increase. Either you get all your eggs in 2 years time or slow the production and have ’em spread out for the next 5 years!
Of the three poultry breeds, the egg of the chicken is most acidic and also lowest in calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals. However, it is still packed with goodness! To see nutritional content, click here.
A single duck egg is larger than the chickens. How much? It depends on the duck and the chicken! A safe estimate is that the duck’s is 40%-60% larger. Colors vary from white-cream, blue to green, brown, light-dark grey. Duck eggs also have a tough, thick shell, much tougher than either the turkey or chicken. At times they can be difficult to crack open. A good, strong thawak! on the side of the bowl will suffice. Smack ‘er down hard.
You’ll quickly find the duck egg has a larger yolk than a chickens’, though not so large as the turkeys’. Though somewhat dependent on the bird’s diet, eggs generally have a distinct, strong flavor and for this reason, some refuse to eat ’em.
The duck egg is often preferred in baking as it is gummier in texture and helps hold goods together. They are sometimes the preferred egg for long-term storage due to toughness of shell and skin.
Ducks will produce 5-7 years and laying breeds are just as prolific as those of the chicken. While they may slow in winter, they prefer the outdoors. Put ducks and chickens side-by-side without a heat lamp and ducks will outlay chickens every time! Of the three poultry types, ducks are least affected by wet and cold temperatures.
All in all, the duck’s egg is higher in protein than the chicken’s and contains more cholesterol, calories and fatty acids. Check out nutritional content of the egg here.
Turkey eggs. Not-so-commonly-heard of, are they? Of the three, turkey eggs are usually the largest. In my experience they are generally 25%-30% larger than the duck, though eggs produced by a smaller breed may be comparable. Egg colors are not so exciting as ones produced by other poultry. Creamy white is the coloring, and a few breeds produce eggs with a spattering of red-brown speckles. Egg shells are tough, but not so hard as the ducks.’
Yolks are largest of the three birds. Flavor is mild as with the chicken and texture is similar. For this reason those looking for an alternative egg to the chickens’ choose the turkeys as it most resembles what they are accustomed to.
Turkeys are not prolific layers and produce for 5-7 years. If a hen lays 100 eggs in a year, she’s doing well! Realistically, it will be closer to 80. While they are hardy birds and brave cold temperatures, hens generally produce from April-Sept when fed high protein and will lay every 2nd-3rd day. If using artificial lighting they will produce year-round. The Midget White breed is said to be one of the best egg producers. My personal experience says it depends on each particular hen.
Turkeys eggs are incredibly high in vitamins, fatty acids and are indeed highest in protein. They also contain more cholesterol than the chicken’s egg. Read about their nutritional content here.
And now…let’s have some fun! I’ll show you pics of the bird’s eggs for comparison!
OR IS IT…
COULD IT BE…
Wanna see a side-by-side comparison of all three?
Which egg is right for you? I personally prefer the turkey’s egg due to high protein content. Eating two for breakfast is about right! I love ’em! Next in line comes the duck and lastly, the chicken.
But I’ll eat any of the three most willingly!