Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fried Egg Eaters Have Higher Sex Drive

According to research done by the British Egg Industry Council, the type of eggs you eat are an indicator of your personality. The research was conducted on 1,010 adults in the UK and used a mathematical technique called regression analysis to identify correlations between personality types and preferred egg styles.

From our perspective these findings should be taken with a grain of salt.... or should we say salt and pepper, or perhaps some ketchup or Tobasco. Studies like these seem more about generating publicity for egg producers than anything else.  But if you find this thing kind of fun, here's a summary of the findings as reported on the British Lion Egg Products web site:

Poached eggs
The average poached egg-eater is likely to have two children and no more than one older brother or sister. They are found all across the UK and are more likely to be women than men. A taste for poached eggs increases as one gets older. Generally, eaters are also most likely to be outgoing socially and energetic extroverts. They may have a tendency to wear decorative clothing and prefer upbeat and lively music. They are also probably happier than most.

Boiled eggs
The average boiled egg-eater is more likely to be a woman than a man. They could be either working or upper class, and come from anywhere in the UK other than the South East of England. Boiled egg-eaters scored lower on the trait of conscientiousness and thus have a tendency to be more disorganised, careless and impulsive. They may also run a greater risk of getting divorced. 

Fried eggs
Fried egg-eaters are most likely to be younger, male and come from Scotland. Fried egg fans are most frequently found among the skilled working classes and have older brothers or sisters. They are typically open to new experiences, creative, curious and imaginative. They are also more likely to have higher memorable dream recall, are better informed about sex, have wider sexual experiences and stronger sex drives. 

Scrambled eggs
Scrambled egg-eaters are most likely to live south of Birmingham, with the exception of London, and are least likely to come from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Scrambled eggs are the favourite egg cooking choice for those aged 20 to 39 and eaters were more likely than other types to be in managerial or senior-level jobs and also to own their own home. Scrambled egg eaters were more likely to be less neurotic but also more guarded and less open.

Omelettes
A middle class favourite, the omelette is eaten less frequently than all other egg dishes and finds its greatest fans in Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle. Omelette eaters tend to be reliable, well organised and self-disciplined. They are more likely to have tidy homes. Omelette fans may live longer and are less likely to get divorced.



Photo by Scott D Feldstein

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The $210,000 Chicken Coop

Be it ever so humble there's no place like a 775 square foot, Palladian-style chicken coop with a price tag of 130,000 British Pounds (About $210,000).  The coop was designed by Christopher Smallwood Architects for British financier Crispin Odey.

Mr Odey is a hedge fund manager and founder of Odey Asset Management. According to the London newspaper, The Telegraph, the coop is design as follows:

"The temple's roof - adorned with Anthemia statuette - will be fashioned in grey zinc; the pediments, cornice, architrave and frieze are in English oak; and the columns, pilasters and rusticated stone plinth are being hewn from the finest grey Forest of Dean sandstone."

With unemployment in Spain and Greece at 25% and with Europe teetering on the edge of a financial meltdown, its certainly is gratifying to know that the bankers have plenty of money to spend on their little projects.

If this story makes you made as hell, let us know by providing a comment.

Palladian-Style Chicken Coops for the Rich & Famous


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Correct Height For Poultry Nipple Chicken Waterers


Poultry nipples, such as the ones shown on the BriteTap waterer below, can be used to provide water to chicks from the day they hatch.  However, the height of the waterer should be adjusted as the bird matures.


The BriteTap waterer attaches to a standard Igloo or Rubbermaid Cooler and
makes it easy to use poultry nipples to water your flock


For chicks that are 1-5 days old, the stem of the poultry nipple should be placed at eye-level.  While the exact height will depend upon the breed, the stem will be approximately 4 inches above the ground on day 1, and 6 inches above the ground on day 5.

From day 5 through day 28 (4 weeks old), the stem of the poultry nipple should be placed just above eye level.  Again, chicken owners should continue to raise the waterer every 4-7 days, or as needed to keep the stem of the nipple at the correct height.  For a typical breed, this means that the nipple height will be increased from about 7 inches above the ground on day 5 to about 13 inches above the ground on day 28.

After day 29, the stem of the poultry nipple should be placed above the head of the bird so that it needs to stretch slightly in order to drink from the poultry nipple.  Poultry owners should continue raising the waterer to achieve this correct height until the birds reach full maturity.  At that point the stem of the poultry nipple is likely to be 18-24 inches above the ground. 

Proper Poultry Nipple Height By Age of Bird
  

For flock owners using the BriteTap chicken waterer, here are the dimensions of some common objects that can be used to raise the waterer to the proper height.  

Common Object Dimensions

Square-shaped milk crate  -13"L x 13"W x 11"H
Cinder block                      -16"L x 8"W x 8"H
Brick                                  -  8"L x 4"W x 2"H

Using these objects alone or in combination with each other, you can raise the BriteTap waterer to the right height for your flock.





Bricks, cinder blocks and milk crates can be used to raise your BriteTap waterer to the right height.



Free Smartphone App for Poultry Valve Pressure & More: 

When using poultry valve, the water pressure created on teh valve is a function of the height of water in your tank. Poultry valve are generally rate at 1 PSI (pound of pressure per square inch) or less, so you should not overfill your tank. 

If you would like to know the water pressure created by a specific height of water in your water tank you can use our Cluck-ulator smartphone app to do this. The Cluck-ulator includes five other cool chicken tools including a breed selector, coop planner and food and water calculator. These can be downloaded from the iTunes App store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android) and are free.

Click the below links to go to these stores to get your free app:

iPhone App at iTunes Store: http://goo.gl/dZnCS5

Android App at Google Play Storehttp://goo.gl/kbdUSQ




Posting sponsored by ChickenWaterer.com, makers of the BriteTap automatic poultry waterer. The BriteTap waterer shields water from dirt and poop. The water stays clean and there are no messy pans for you to wash out.




Origins of "A Chicken In Every Pot"

Everyone has probably heard this expression in which the chicken symbolizes prosperity.

The promise of "a chicken in every pot" came into use in America during the 1928 presidential election and has been with us ever since. However, it actually dates back over 400 years to the time of King Henry the IV of France.  To learn more about the origins and history of this common expression, check out this article in the American Thinker.

Chicken Soup & Dumplings. Photo by Yoninah.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Free Chicken Keeping Calculators

Whether your starting for the first time, or planning changes to the size of your flock, it useful to know how much, space, feed and water you'll need to support your flock and how many eggs you can expect to collect.

To make this easier for everyone, ChickenWaterer.com, the makers of the BriteTap chicken waterer, have created a free calculators you can use.

Calculator #1: Basic Flock Requirements

Enter the number of birds in your flock and the calculator provides the following:
  • Coop space required. (square feet)
  • Roosting space required. (inches)
  • Number of nest boxes required.
  • Average daily and annual feed required.
  • Average daily and annual water required.
  • Number of BriteTap waterer required for a flock of that size.

Calculator #2: Impact of Temperature on Feed & Water Consumption

The amount of feed and water consumed by your flock will vary depending on the temperature. To see this, enter the number of birds you have in your flock and the calculator provides daily feed and water requirements at five temperature categories:
    • Cold (25° F)
    • Cool (45° F)
    • Mild (72° F)
    • Warm (85° F)
    • Hot (95° F)
Calculator #3: Egg Production Estimate

Chicken are most productive during their first year of laying, but will produce eggs for many years past this peak period. To estimate the number of eggs you'll collect, enter the breed of chicken and it's approximate age.  The calculator will estimate:
  • Number of eggs you will collect this year.
  • Number of eggs you will collect next year
  • Number of eggs you will collect in five years.
  • Number of eggs during the birds peak egg laying year.
  • Current egg laying as a percentage of peak egg laying.
  • Total estimate for eggs produced by the flock.

The calculator is free and can be found at ChickenWaterer.com in the navigation panel on the left under "Chicken Calculators"

Posting sponsored by ChickenWaterer.com, makers of the BriteTap automatic poultry waterer. The BriteTap waterer shields water from dirt and poop. The water stays clean and there are no messy pans for you to wash out.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Free Range" Eggs Are Not All They're Cracked Up To Be

Many consumers buy eggs in the grocery store that are labelled as "Free Range" believing that the eggs are from birds that are more humanely raised than those on "factory farms."  The term "free range" conjures up idyllic images of chickens raised in open green fields.  However, the truth is very far from this.

According to the USDA definition, free range chickens are ones that "have access to the outside." There is no requirement that the birds have access to pasture or what number of birds can be kept in a given amount of space. What "free range" often means in practice is that hundreds or thousands of birds are kept in a crowded coop with a small door leading to a concrete yard.  Many of these so called "free range" birds may never actually see the outside in their lifetimes.

The reality of "free range" is a reminder why we can take pride in our decision to become backyard chicken owners.  We can provide birds with a better life in return for the joy and eggs they give to us.

What we believe "Free Range" should look like. It's a far cry from the reality of industry today

Sunday, September 16, 2012

BriteTap Waterer Good For Ducks As Well

This week we had an opportunity to display the BriteTap chicken waterer at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa California.  A number of visitors to our booth asked about whether ducks could be trained to use the BriteTap waterer.

White Pekin Duck. Photo by Maren Winter

Frankly, we weren't sure, so we did a little research and found that commercial poultry companies do use valves (often called poultry nipples) such as the ones found on the bottom of the BriteTap waterer to provide drinking water to their birds. However, research done at the University of Oxford in 2009 indicates that periodic access to water is beneficial because it allows ducks to keep their feathers, eyes, and nostrils clean.

The research study compared the health of ducks whose source of waterer was a trough, a shower, a bath (pond), poultry nipples only, and poultry nipples followed by a bath (pond access) after 5 weeks. The results of the study as published on ThePoultrySite.com are shown below.

The results suggest that if you are going to use a system like the BriteTap waterer for your ducks, you will need to provide periodic access to either a shower or trough so they can wash off their feathers and clean their eyes etc.  The advantage of using a valve-based system like the BriteTap waterer in conjunction with periodic access to shower or other water source, is that this watering routine lowers the health risks associated with open water sources like a pond which can harbor Campylobacter bacteria.

Source: Jones T.A., C.D. Waitt and M.S. Dawkins. 2009. Water off a duck's back: Showers and troughs match ponds for improving duck welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 116, (1), 52-57.

Posting sponsored by ChickenWaterer.com, makers of the BriteTap automatic poultry waterer. The BriteTap waterer shields water from dirt and poop. The water stays clean and there are no messy pans for you to wash out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

BriteTap Waterer to Be On Display At the National Heirloom Expo

If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in seeing a demo of the BriteTap chicken waterer, please come visit our booth at the National Heirloom Exposition (Sonoma County Fairground in Santa Rosa).

We will be on display from Sept 11-13.  We will be available to demonstrate the product and answer questions from 11 AM to 9 PM.  Our booth is located between the bandstand and the live animal exhibits, so come on by!


Stylish Chicken Coop But Worth the Price?

At ChickenWaterer.com we love good design and think this stylish coop from Nogg is lovely to look at. But for 1,950 British Pounds (About $3,100 US Dollars) it's a not what one would call a bargain. So here's the question... How much did you spend on your coop and did you buy it or build it? Please let us know what you think. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First Egg Cartons May Date to 1929


Nowadays, it's so common to see eggs sold in cardboard cartons that its easy to believe that they were always sold that way.  Below is an article written in May 1929 that shows what we assume to be one of the earliest attempts to sell eggs to consumers in packages.  Note that the cartons are not the ones we are familiar with today. Rather, they are wrappers designed to protect individual eggs that are then placed in boxes that look like wine boxes.
We don't know if these cartons ever really made it to market.  Just a few months after the article was written, the stock market crashed and the U.S. was thrown into the Great Depression.  That might have put a bit of a damper on things. If anyone knows about these cartons, please post  a comment.
Thanks to Modern Mechanix for posting the article.

Screen Shot 2012-03-31 at 5.12.01 PM
EGGS TO BE SOLD BY THE PACKAGE
INSTEAD of asking for a dozen eggs, housewives will buy them by the package just like breakfast food if the new method of packing shown above becomes popular. Eggs are individually packed in corrugated cardboard jackets and shipped in cartons which keep their contents practically unbreakable.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chicken & Duck Eggs Compared


Last year we visited a customer who is doing urban farming here in Northern California.  We brought her a few pounds of honey from our garden and exchanged it for fresh cheese she makes from the milk produced by several goats she keeps in her backyard.  We got a tour of her farm and during the tour I asked her about the two ducks she also is rearing.
Our customer keeps "Indian Runner Ducks" a breed that walk more upright than standard duck varieties and can outproduce chickens when it comes to eggs.  We mentioned that we were thinking of adding ducks to our menagerie so she sent us home with a few duck eggs to try.  For those interested, here's how chicken and duck eggs compare to each other...
Picture 56
Runner Duck

Size:
As you can see in the photo below, duck eggs are larger than even jumbo sized chicken eggs.  The duck egg on the left weighs over 3.0 ounces, the chicken eggs weigh 1.75 and 2.25 ounces respectively.

Comparison of Egg Size

Yolks:
The difference is more dramatic when you crack the eggs.  Duck eggs have a much larger yolk and the ratio of yolk to white is also lower than in chicken eggs.  In our opinion, this impacts the texture and flavor of the eggs in certain dishes.
Duck egg on left, chicken egg on right

Taste:
In our opinion, taste differences between chicken and duck eggs are slight.  We doubt most people would taste a difference if you didn't tell them they were eating duck eggs.  However, the larger yolk size may be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how you like to eat your eggs.

Fried Eggs - We don't like eating runny egg yolks, so when we fry eggs, we cook them on both sides until the yolk is solid.  This is easy to do with chicken eggs, but the larger size of duck eggs makes cooking them this way difficult.  To get the center of the yolk firm takes longer and this means the white may move from crisp to burnt.  If you like to fry eggs so the yolk is hard, chicken eggs are better.  If you love runny eggs, duck eggs may be more to your taste.

Scrambled Eggs - The larger yolk in duck eggs leads to a richer tasting scrambled egg with a more soft mouth feel.  In a scrambled eggs, we prefer duck eggs.

Hard Boiled Eggs -  In our opinion, this is probably the preparation where the difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs is most pronounced.  Boiled egg whites have a very hard mouth feel.  In chicken eggs, the ratio of white to yolk is fairly high so the overall texture is harder.  In contrast, duck eggs feel softer in the mouth and the increased amount of yolk leads to a richer creamier flavor.  

Recommendations:
If you are thinking of keeping either chickens or ducks, don't let flavor of the eggs be a deciding factor.  Differences exist to be sure, but they are not game changers.  
If you eat primarily fried eggs, we think most people will prefer chicken to duck eggs, particularly if you're the type that likes fried eggs cooked hard.   If you are a hard boiled egg lover, then duck eggs are superior.  If you eat all styles of eggs, then go with chicken eggs for no other reason than the portion size is smaller.
One more thing... If you are on a cholesterol reduced diet, you probably can guess that chicken eggs are a better choice; one chicken egg has about 200 milligrams of cholesterol while a duck egg will have over 600 milligrams. 
If you have an opinion about duck eggs versus chicken eggs, please share your opinions.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How Many Eggs To Expect Your Chickens To Lay

The number of eggs a backyard chicken owner can expect to harvest depends on the breed of chicken selected, the age of the bird and the season. These are detailed below, but we want to issue a spoiler alert...

At the end of this article is a link to an online tool that will estimate the number of eggs your chicken will lay based on its breed and age. In April 2014, we also created a smartphone app called the Cluck-ulator that you can download that included the egg estimator and 5 other cool calculators. Best yet, the Cluck-ulator is free.

Breeds
Champion egg layering breeds such as Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds and Austalorp that can produce an astonishing number of eggs. In some cases, these birds can product 300 or more eggs in their first year of life. Below, various breeds are grouped based on their potential year one egg production.  Backyard chicken keepers should use this as a guideline as egg production can vary from bird to bird and some breeds such as Polish are notoriously unpredictable in their egg laying.

Champion Egg Layers (250-300 Eggs)
Australorp
Dominique
Leghorn
Rhode Island Red (Winter Layer)
Star
White Leghorn
Excellent Egg Layers (200-250 Eggs)
Ameracauna
Araucana
Minorca
Plymouth Rock
Sussex
Welsummer

Plymouth Rock

Good Layers (150-200 Eggs)
Ancona
Andalusian
Appenzeller Spitzhauben
Barnevelder
Brahma
Buckeye (Winter Layer)
Buttercup
Campine
Catalana
Chantecler (Winter Layer)
Cubalaya
Delaware (Winter Layer)
Dorking
Easter Egger
Faverolles (Winter Layer)
Holland
Java
Jersey Giant (Winter Layer)
Lakenvelder
Langshan
Marans
New Hampshire (Winter Layer)
Orpington (Winter Layer)
Plymouth Rock (Winter Layer)
Redcap
Silkie
Spanish
Wyandotte

Buff Orpington

Poor Layers (25-100)
Aseel
Cochin
Cornish
Crevacoeur
Houdan
Malay
Phoenix
Polish 
Sebright
Turken
Yokohama
Silver Sebright



Age

Chickens generally start producing eggs when they are 20-24 weeks old and will produce the greatest number of eggs during that first year of laying.  While commercial egg producers cull their flocks at about 70 weeks in order to maximize their profits, backyard chicken owners should not feel compelled to follow their lead.  The truth is that chickens continue to produce eggs at good levels for many years. 

According to research done at the University of Florida, chicken can continue to lay eggs for over 10 , but their productivity does decline considerably over that time frame. Below is a chart that shows egg production over time using the first year's egg production as the benchmark.  The table shows that in the second year of laying, chickens will lay about 80% of what they did in the first year and 70% of the first year's production in the third year. If a hen lives to ten, we would expect her to lay about 20% of the eggs she laid in her first year of life.  Top egg laying breeds like Leghorns can produce 300 eggs in their first year, so even by year ten a Leghorn might produce as many as 60 eggs a year.

Source: Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flocks by J.P Jacob, H.R. Wilson, R.D. Miles, G.D. Butcher, and F.B. Mather. University of Florida IFAS Extension Publication #PS-35, April, 1998.


Season

Chickens go through a period in winter when egg production slows, or in some cases stops altogether.  This reduction is driven by both a decrease in daylight hours and molting. Molting is the process by which chickens replace their feathers.  The process requires the hen to divert biological resources from egg production to feather production and as a result hens lay fewer eggs.  The winter season also brings shorten day length.  This also negatively impacts egg production by reducing the activity of the chicken's pituitary gland which then impacts production release of eggs in the chickens ovaries.  This is probably nature's way of adjusting the chicken's fertility to better match availability of resources in the natural environment. In other words, reducing fertility when there's less food available for both mother and child.

The degree to which egg production slows varies from breed-to-breed and is the result of selective breeding by us humans.  Breeds that produce relatively more eggs during the winter months include Buckeye, Chantecler, Delaware, Favorelle, Jersey Giant, New Hampshire, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, and Rhode Island Red. 

Online Egg Calculator

Want to know how many eggs to expect based on the breeds and ages of birds in your flock? How much food and water you'll need? What impact the temperature has on these requirements?  

Check out our Free Backyard Chickens Calculator



Free Smartphone App: 

As of April 2014, the egg calculator and five other cool chicken tools including a breed selector, coop planner and food and water calculator are now part of a smartphone app called the Cluck-ulator that can be downloaded from the iTunes App store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android)

Click the below links to go to these stores to get your free app:

iPhone App at iTunes Store: http://goo.gl/dZnCS5


Android App at Google Play Storehttp://goo.gl/kbdUSQ



Calculator #1: Basic Flock Requirements

Enter the number of birds in your flock and the calculator provides the following:
  • Coop space required. (square feet)
  • Roosting space required. (inches)
  • Number of nest boxes required.
  • Average daily and annual feed required.
  • Average daily and annual water required.
  • Number of BriteTap waterer required for a flock of that size.
Calculator #2: Impact of Temperature on Feed & Water Consumption

The amount of feed and water consumed by your flock will vary depending on the temperature. To see this, enter the number of birds you have in your flock and the calculator provides daily feed and water requirements at five temperature categories:
  • Cold (25° F)
  • Cool (45° F)
  • Mild (72° F)
  • Warm (85° F)
  • Hot (95° F)
Calculator #3: Egg Production Estimate

Chicken are most productive during their first year of laying, but will produce eggs for many years past this peak period. To estimate the number of eggs you'll collect, enter the breed of chicken and it's approximate age.  The calculator will estimate:
  • Number of eggs you will collect this year.
  • Number of eggs you will collect next year
  • Number of eggs you will collect in five years.
  • Number of eggs during the birds peak egg laying year.
  • Current egg laying as a percentage of peak egg laying.
  • Total estimate for eggs produced by the flock.