What to do with your excess eggs?
After growing your own vegetables having chickens is the next thing people do in order to be self-sufficient. You buy 6 chickens and get about 4 eggs a day, some days more. Suddenly you have 1 to 2 dozen eggs a week. Then your friend is moving and gives you her 4 chickens and so it goes.
Next thing you are looking at 4 dozen eggs in the fridge and asking ‘what to do with your excess eggs?’ You could-
- Give them to friends and family
- Swap them for produce from another self-sufficient person in the community
- Donate to local soup kitchen
- Make savoury dishes
- Make dessert dishes
- Make snacks
- Boil them up and feed them back to the chickens with the scraps
- Add them to your dog’s diet
- Freeze them
- Use egg whites to clarify your stocks
- If you have a rooster, incubate them and sell baby chickens
- Beauty treatment – hair conditioner, egg white face mask
- Drill a hole each end, blow out contents and decorate the shell.
To sell eggs you need to check with your local authorities as there are different rules for different states or countries. These rules are to protect the public from bad bacteria, salmonella, and rotten eggs. Selling eggs without being registered can get you a fine or worse.
How long do free eggs last?
Some say don’t put eggs in the fridge, these people would be from the colder regions on the planet. A fertile egg only needs a steady 37 degrees to grow into a chicken. I know your chances of hatching a chicken on the bench top is remote but in warmer areas the eggs will go off fast. So as a general rule of thumb eggs last –
- In the refrigerator up to 6 weeks.
- Boiled and in its shell lasts about a week in the fridge.
- Boiled and out of its shell about 5 days in the fridge. So it would be better to boil your eggs as you need them.
Tip: When you have excess eggs if can get out of hand. To make it easier to track how old your eggs are write the date on each egg with a graphite pencil.
How to spot a bad egg?
Egg shells are porous so absorb bacteria from dirty eggs. Cracked eggs create an opening to allow more bacteria in. Wipe dirt off eggs with a damp clean cloth as you collect them.
A rotten eggs looks the same on the outside as a good egg. When cooking, break your eggs into a cup or small dish to check it’s freshness before tipping into your cake batter or meal. Nothing destroys a cooking season faster than breaking a bad egg into your dish.
If an egg looks stained, very dirty or dodgy don’t use it better to be safe than sorry. What to look out for when checking for bad eggs –
- Cracked shells
- Stained or discoloured from the chicken faeces or other contaminates.
- Floats in dish of cold water – to check how fresh an egg is put it in a dish of cold water if it sinks to bottom it’s fine. If it floats at the surface, it is older and building up gas.
- Yolk is flat and white is runny – as they get older the yolk and white break down.
- Smells of sulphur – rotten egg gas
- When cracked the white is cloudy, blood stained or just looks odd.
If unsure don’t use it. They can contain salmonella bacteria which gives you food poisoning.
If you find some eggs hidden under the junk in the back shed don’t try to use them. Throw them away as you don’t know how long they have been there. Don’t try to eat eggs that have been under a clucky chook for a while either as they will be either be part chicken or going off.
Are there other edible bird eggs?
You may not just have an excess of chicken eggs there are other bird eggs which are edible too. Apart from chickens other birds don’t lay all year round or lay very many eggs so it’s not a diet staple for most people.
With birds that don’t lay often or don’t lay very many eggs it’s probably better to incubate the eggs and have a meat option (or sell them).
Don’t just run around the streets or bush grabbing eggs. Know what animals they came from (snakes and reptiles lay eggs too) and how old they are. Some eggs could belong to protected bird or animal species.
Duck – slightly bigger than chicken eggs and a bit richer in taste good for cake making
Goose – about twice the size of a chicken egg and has a richer more gamey flavour.
Quail – smaller cream coloured eggs with darker spots.
Turkey – similar to duck eggs but turkeys don’t lay very many eggs in a year so are usually incubated to make more turkeys.
Pheasant – slightly larger than chicken egg with a gamey taste.
Pigeon – about a quarter the size of chicken eggs and popular in Asian dishes
Guinea fowl – slightly smaller than chicken egg but not available all year round.
Emu – large black green egg weighing about a kilogram from Australia native flightless bird. Being a native bird, it would be best not to run around harvesting their eggs unless you had a very good reason. Not to mention the mothers are big and fight, not exactly a chicken.
Ostrich – the biggest flightless bird with eggs around 2 kilograms and very thick shells.
What savoury dishes can I make with eggs?
Eggs are widely used for almost everything in cooking but here are some dishes that focus on eggs.
- Plain eggs, fried, poached, scrambled, boiled in shell
- Scrambled with added herbs, vegetables, bacon, chicken, cheese and more
- Devilled eggs, souffle
- Pancakes, pikelets, batter
- Make pasta, egg noodles
- Pasta carbonara
- Omelette, quiche, egg and bacon tart, frittata
- Scotch eggs
- Binding for rissoles, meat loaf, crumbed steak/chicken
- Fried egg in fried rice
- Keto breads
- Egg salad, egg sandwiches
- Home-made mayonnaise
- Fried egg on hamburger
- Bubble and squeak
- French toast, toad in a hole,
- Explore some other countries recipes for a change
What desserts can I make with eggs?
Who doesn’t like dessert? With desserts and sweets you can disguise your eggs if you are getting sick of eating just eggs.
- Cakes, sponges, angel food cake
- Royal icing
- Meringues, bombe Alaska, pavlova
- Custard – pouring and baked
- Crème Caramel, Crème Brulee
- Chocolate mousse
- Vanilla slice
- Lemon Meringue, Lemon Curd
- Curd of many flavours, blueberry, strawberry
- Baked cheesecake
- Home-made ice cream
- Sweet souffle
- Banana bread, carrot cake
- Egg nog drink
- Choux pastry
- Bread and butter pudding
How do I feed them back to my animals?
I boil the eggs up and then smash them up shell and all and mix it with the left overs. Chickens love eggs, they will egg their own raw if they want to. By smashing them up they look less like an egg so as to not give them ideas. Including the shell gives them the necessary calcium to make new eggs.
Crack a raw egg into their dinner. It will improve their coat, skin and general health.
There are many options available to use up your excess eggs from giving the eggs away or cooking something for yourself, your pets or to give away to family and friends. Cooking and feeding the eggs back to your chickens gives them protein and calcium. If all else fails and you keep having too many eggs get rid of some chickens. You only need about 4 chickens. Chickens need a flock to keep them happy so don’t go for 1 or 2 chickens.