It's World Egg Day!!! Do you raise chickens on a city lot? Ever wanted to? Many cities and towns now allow people to raise small flocks of chickens on regular city or town sized lots. Katie and Angela of Creekside Produce have been raising them for years now and Katie swears they are easier to take care of than her other pets. They certainly are cute and who doesn’t want a steady supply of organic or at least free range happy eggs???
World Egg Day began in 1996. The idea behind the day was raising awareness across the world, of the important place eggs have in human nutrition. Eggs are a fantastically versatile and economical food packed with protein, vitamins, low in calories and great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts too. (I think my daughter could almost live on simple scrambled or soft boiled eggs.) Eggs are one of the most common foods of the world - almost every culture and country eat them.
You can raise chickens here on Vancouver Island in most areas now and it's easier than you think. In Campbell River residents are allowed up to 6 chickens! Definitely enough to keep a family supplied with eggs. You must first obtain a license ($10) and you are not allowed any roosters (you may love 4 am cock-a-doodle-do's but not all your neighbors do, just sayin'!) You can sell your excess eggs on a small scale but not chicken meat. Click here for the Campbell River City Chicken Bylaw info, here for Nanaimo Chicken Bylaw info, I was unable to find the rules for Courtenay/Comox Valley, if any of you know, please comment below with the rules or link. If you are in another area, just google your town or city plus chicken bylaw.
I asked Kate Green what you need to know about raising chickens and how to get started.
When did you start? Approximately 7 years ago, too long ago to remember exactly.
What do you need to get started? A chicken coop and an outdoor area (chicken run) protected from predators, this can simply be your back yard or your garden. You will need at least one nesting area for each 3 hens (I have 4 nesting boxes) and containers for feed and water.
How many do you currently have? 10 chickens and 2 roosters.
Are they social? Chickens are social animals so it is better to have more than 1.
What do you feed them? Chicken feed from a feed supply store, worms, bugs and grass in the chicken run as well as vegetable scraps from my kitchen or garden.
Do they need to go to vet? No, I have read books and do all the chicken care myself. One of my favourite books is by Lisa at FreshEggsDaily.com, check out her article site for some great organic, natural chicken keeping advice.
How long can you leave them alone? You can leave them for a weekend if you can leave enough food and water but longer than that, you should get a chicken sitter.
How many eggs do hens produce? Approximately one per day during the longer days of summer but when the days get shorter, the hens lay less frequently.
What is your favourite thing about raising chickens? I can't pick just one! Chickens are useful, they eat veggie scraps from the house and garden, produce eggs and the chicken poop is great fertilizer for my garden. They all have different personalities and cute quirks, so they are fun entertainment in the yard, they are great for kids! The only bad part is when predators get in 🙁
What gives the eggs their color? The breed of chicken determines the color of egg they will lay. For instance Americaunas lay pretty blue eggs, Silkies and Seabrights lay white eggs and Olive Eggers lay green and there are quite a few varieties that lay cream or brown.
Thank you Katie and Angela for all the info, eggs and chicken advice!!!
While in Spain last year, I discovered an amazing and simple egg dish, a traditional Spanish Tortilla. I can't believe I hadn't ever heard of it before. This is not at all what we think of here when we hear the word tortilla. This is thinly sliced potato, poached in olive oil and then cooked in an egg mixture, and while it sounds rather plain the flavour is delicious. In Spain, this is eaten at any time of day, for breakfast, lunch or dinner and often at room temperature but can be served hot or cold. This with a side salad makes a really complete and easy meal and like a quiche, you can add many flavour variations as long as you're careful that they don't make the tortilla soggy. Linked is a basic Spanish Tortilla recipe from Canadian Living magazine, this is a lightened up and slightly faster version than the traditional recipe which poaches the potato slices in olive oil before assembling. If you haven't tried this, I highly recommend this versatile and very delicious recipe.
Also find eggs as a star in my fresh tuna Nicoise Salad recipe.
Eggs are often a requirement and sometimes a star in desserts and baking like my Clafoutis recipe, made with a base of eggs.
For perfect hard boiled eggs put your eggs in a pot, fill with water so they are covered by about an inch. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat, leave the pan on the burner and cover with a lid. Let sit 10-12 minutes and voila, perfect hard boiled eggs. The beauty of this method is they won't overcook if you forget about them because you've already turned them off!
Other great egg ideas are the humble deviled egg (totally retro cool appetizer), egg salad sandwiches (great go to for school lunches) and quiche. Eggs are a great way to add economical meatless protein to chow mein or pad thai and other dishes too.
I hope all these egg ideas have inspired some eggs-ellent meals and if you aren't quite ready to raise your own chickens for eggs, stop by and support your neighbors roadside stand or the local farmer's market for healthy, free range eggs! Comment below your favourite way to use eggs 🙂
PS. The fabulous egg cups in the pictures are from Daniela Petosa Ceramics. When I visited Katie, I fell in love with them and bought myself some at the Tofino Farmer's Market this summer 🙂