Late last summer, following mine and Cobalt’s “unity shindig”, Dad-in-law suggested adopting some chickens so we (his fam and us) could obtain some free-range eggs.
– pictured: Primula, Cyan’s chicken and Salvador, the Rooster –
After calling his chicken-raising friend, and creating a small chicken run/cage, Mr. Cox drove Cobalt, me and the sis-in-laws (Cerulean and Cyan) to the chicken farm to pick up our hens. Mr. Chicken Farmer gave us six young chickens, one for each of us, including for Mrs. Cox. We chose different breeds because we wanted different colored eggs. The two Blue-Laced Wine Dots would lay brown eggs, the Brabanter would lay white eggs, the two Welsummers would lay cream-colored eggs, and finally, the Americana would lay bluish/green eggs. They wouldn’t lay for several months, though, because they were only a couple of months old (and so cute!).
When we brought them home to the in-law’s (side note: they live next door), we first let the preteens explore the fenced-in backyard. For several days they were freaked out by everything, from the tall grass, to the food we set in front of them, to the family dog, to their cage and most especially to their new parents! But eventually they understood the routine. Every morning and evening Cerulean and Cyan fed them; and every night, around dusk, the girls would shoo them into the cage to protect them from nighttime predators. As the months went by we (or rather, the sisters, ha ;) ) continued to care and observe them. None of us had really seen chickens before up close for this length of a time, so this experience was fascinating!
Though easy to train with a schedule, the birds never got accustomed to their names (meaning, they don’t come when we call ;)). Cyan and I chose the Blue-Laced Wine Dots, and named them “Primula” (pictured above) and “Beatrix.” Cerulean named the Brabanter “Wanda” (I still call her Fro-nisha sometimes because of her fluffy bed-head hair ;-) ), and mutually we named Cobalt’s Welsummer “Bert” because of the way she clucks. I don’t remember what we named the Americana or the other Welsummer at the time, as these were Mom and Dad’s hens.
Soon, we began to discover something odd about the Americana. She began developing features that the other chickens were not, such as a cocky-er attitude and a fluffy tail. Several weeks later, we discovered — with a laugh — that this was no hen. It was a rooster!! The chicken farmer had told us it’s a little hard to tell the difference between genders when they’re younger. Though he tried to give us all hens, it’s no surprise that one of them was a male. Because we really wanted blue eggs, we made another trip to Mr. Chicken Farmer’s farm to get another Americana hen. This one we named “Amelia.” We named the rooster “Salvador,” but he sometimes goes by “Sir Dreamalot” because of all of his lady friends. ;)
Poor Amelia had trouble fitting in at first because she was the smallest one. Maybe the other hens were just jealous, though, as the rooster began to pay special attention to Amelia. It was actually quite hysterical the way he cooed at her, followed her around and did his little wing dance!
By December, the quawkers began laying eggs. Some before others, and some probably hesitating because the weather began getting colder. But as of a couple of months ago, all the chickens including Amelia now produce some fine, colorful eggs. Below you can see a picture of them. The blue ones aren’t in this carton yet because this picture was taken only a few weeks before Amelia started laying.
Aren’t they pretty?
While these eggs don’t taste much different from the store’s, what makes them stand out is their bright orange yolks. I never thought looking at those round puddles of sunshine in my frying pan would make me smile. The pale yellow yolks from the store just don’t compare!
With these I made some fantastic deviled eggs. To my surprise (for not making deviled eggs in a while and without consulting a recipe), this recipe was by far the tastiest deviled eggs I’ve ever had. Daddy Cox proudly thought so, too!!
Deviled Eggs with Dill and Paprika
- 1 dozen eggs
- 2-4 TBS mayonnaise
- small sprinkles of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp canned, minced garlic (or finely chopped fresh garlic)
- 1/8 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 small squirt of spicy mustard
- Follow this helpful video to boil and peel one dozen eggs (if you don’t have a large pot you may have to do them in batches).
- Cut each egg in half and spoon out the yolks carefully and place them in a separate bowl.
- To the yolks, thoroughly mix (or food process) the rest of the ingredients.
- (A friendly remember: you can always add more of each ingredient but you can’t take away! Taste test as you go along to identify the flavors you like. Also note that the first two ingredients (mayo and salt/pepper) are the basic ingredients. The others are merely flavor enhancements.)
- After mixing all of these ingredients spoon (or pipe) this filling back into the whites, distributing evenly.
- Sprinkle dill and/or paprika on top for a colorful touch!