by Jimmy Fleming
One of my favorite memories of when I was a little boy was collecting eggs with my grandmother. When I got married and we bought our first house, it didn’t take me long to buy some chickens and start collecting my own fresh eggs. My dad used to incubate quail eggs, hatch them out, and raise them which also influenced my love for fowl. I incubated eggs in his old incubator, put eggs under a setting hen, and sometimes ordered baby chicks through the mail. There was just something relaxing about watching the chickens in the yard and collecting those fresh eggs. It was also great eating those fresh eggs too. A fresh egg from chickens that are allowed to free range in the yard looks and tastes totally different than the eggs you buy in the big supermarkets. An egg that comes from a home raised chicken has a dark orange colored yolk and the white of the egg is very firm. The egg shell is also very tough and harder to crack than store bought eggs. When hatching your own chicks or even buying what is known as straight run chicks, you end up with more roosters than you need. The best way to solve that problem is to raise them till they are about 3-4 months of age and have yourself a chicken killing. At 3-4 lbs each, they make great fryers, chicken salad, chicken soup, or any other way you prefer your chicken. The meat from these chickens also looks totally different than the chicken meat you buy in the store. The meat is richer in color and actually has some fat on the carcass. Anyway, I highly recommend raising your own chickens if you live in an area where you can. If I ever get back to living in the country again, chickens will definitely be on my list of things to do.