Good Eggs with The Farm at Doe Run
A sought-after find at the local farmer's market, the colorful eggs above came from our friends on The Farm at Doe Run. Their pasture-raised flock of chickens is getting ready for Easter with eggs in a spectrum of colors from white and brown to bright blue-- no dyeing required! We caught up with Doe Run's resident poultry expert, Stacey Gentile, for the scoop on these spring chickens. Read on for more from the coop.
Blue & Green Eggs: Only three breeds of chickens lay blue or green eggs-- Cream Legbars, Araucanas, and Ameraucanas. Ameraucanas, the chickens responsible for Doe Run's colorful eggs, are a breed derived from Chilean Araucana chickens. Hardy and good-natured, this rare variety has distinctive "earmuff" tufts of fluffy feathers surrounding their faces. Why the blue shells? Ameraucanas have a unique genetic trait that causes them to produce oocyanin, a pigment that touches the shell as the egg forms and creates its distinctive shade. Even though these eggs are unusual in color, they taste just like standard eggs when used for breakfast or baking.
Brown Eggs: Many types of chickens lay brown eggs in a variety of saturations, from very light tan to rich chocolate shades. Wyandotte, Speckled Sussex, and Mottled Java hens are responsible for the brown eggs found at Doe Run. Wyandotte and Mottled Java chickens are both American breeds; in fact, Javas have been raised in the United States since at least 1850. Native to England, the Speckled Sussex also has a long history-- they're one of England's oldest known chicken varieties, believed to have originated around the time of the Roman conquest.
White Eggs: For bright white eggs, Doe Run's flock includes a number of Leghorns. Native to Tuscany, this popular breed gets its name from the Italian port of Livorno, where the first Leghorns were exported to North America. With pure white shells, their eggs are excellent for dyeing. If you're stocking up for this year's egg hunt, a Leghorn might be the perfect chicken for your flock -- a Leghorn hen lays an average of 280 eggs a year!