Eggs-tra special fun… raising chickens with your kids
Karen Bowen Desert Gardener
Jul 8, 2014 by Amy Crawford
• It is best to wait a week after purchasing eggs to boil and peel them, since an older egg is much easier to peel.
• Besides being a good source of protein, eggs have been shown to be an excellent source of choline, a key factor in the development of memory function in human embryos. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, important in reducing risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in those 65 years of age and older). They also contain vitamin B6, riboflavin, and vitamins A, D and E. With so many beneficial nutrients, it is easy to see why eggs are popular.
• One large egg provides 28 mg of calcium necessary for building and maintaining bones and teeth.
• For those on diets that omit meat, an egg equals one ounce of lean meat, poultry, fish or seafood.
• An egg’s protein is the highest quality of protein of any food, with the egg white containing 57 percent of the egg’s protein.
• An egg contains all the essential amino acids, plus B12, and are an excellent addition to a vegetarian diet.
• To tell if an egg is raw or boiled, spin it. A hard-boiled egg spins easily, a raw egg wobbles because of the loose liquid inside.
• Chickens arrived in America when Christopher Columbus made his second voyage in 1493.
Who said raising chickens was hard? With just a few basic supplies and chicks from the local feed store, you will be a chicken farmer in no time.
It’s a wonderful way to introduce your children to the responsibilities of caring for animals, with the added bonus of eggs to collect as a reward for their efforts. Within Yuma city limits, a small flock of hens is allowed, but no roosters.
When my kids were small, we began our first flock with four Barred Rocks (black and white striped) and three Rhode Island Reds (reddish-brown). I liked the idea of brown eggs, so chose those breeds.
To prepare for our new chicks, I found a large cardboard box to use as a brood box. I purchased a heat lamp with a clamp to attach it to the side of the box and lined the bottom of the box with paper towels. Chicks are prolific poopers and being able to easily throw away the paper towels and place clean ones down was a good thing. You can also use pine shavings or sand. I placed a water container and feed holder in the box and filled the feed holder with chick starter.