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Product Description For Epics For Bugs
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This isn’t a typical egg cookbook or guide to raising chickens, Epic Eggs takes a deep dive on the eggs themselves and tells you how to raise birds that will produce the best eggs you’ve ever seen.
It may be true that most poultry found on small homesteads or in backyards especially are viewed as pets, but they are inarguably pets with benefits–namely eggs. In Epic Eggs, homesteader and writer Jennifer Sartell looks at the eggs of the most common types of poultry you’d find in your backyard: chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, and quail.
Don’t jump to conclusions! This isn’t an egg cookbook or a guide to raising poultry. Jennifer delves into the eggs themselves and explains reproductive systems, egg anatomy, and how and why different colors are distributed to egg shells.
Jennifer will show you a variety breeds of birds, and what sizes, shapes, and even colors of egg they produce; from white to blue, brown, chocolate, olive, and speckled, plus heritage breeds and how to breed for specific colors.
Illustrated with fantastic color photography of eggs and their birds, Epic Eggs goes on to address how to optimize living conditionsand diet for the healthiest and most-flavorful eggs, the process of grading and storing eggs, and the eternal washing debate. There’s also discussion of nutrition, baking, cooking, preserving, pickling, and dehydrating. The book ends with advice for homesteaders looking to create business plans and a section on troubleshooting.
From the Publisher
The Art of Raising Chickens… And Eggs
Did you know that just like tomatoes, eggs are seasonal?
In nature, a chicken lays the most eggs in the spring. This flow continues through summer and usually stops altogether in the fall, when the birds molt. Egg laying is directly related to the number of daylight hours, so when the molt is over, the chickens often settle in for a break during the winter months. Nature intended for a chicken’s body to work this way. Eggs are a biological means for producing young, and a chicken lays eggs to continue her species, not to provide us with breakfast. So a chicken doesn’t naturally produce offspring in the dead of winter.
During the winter months, a chicken’s system can be tricked into thinking it’s still summer by providing additional light. With an artificial light source, chickens will continue to lay throughout the winter. However, the eggs will not be the same as the eggs of summertime, just as strawberries purchased in February do not taste like fresh-picked strawberries in June.
In the summer, our chickens free-range. They eat grass and bugs and get plenty of sunshine, and as a result, summer eggs are abundant and delicious. The yolks are bright orange, rich, buttery, dense, and full of nutrients.
Getting Started With Chickens
Step 1: Check on the Legalities
The first step is to make sure that chickens are legal in your area. I’ve read countless, heartbreaking stories about people attempting to raise chickens in neighborhoods or cities where they are not allowed. Called before a city council or township board to make their case, the families are all too often forced to give up their flocks. It is much better to know what your community allows before beginning.
Step 2: Decide on Breeds
The next step is to research breeds. There are hundreds of breeds of chickens, each developed and domesticated for a different purpose. Some chickens are productive egg layers; others lay eggs with unique, interesting colors. Some were bred for meat, and others, like the Polish with its crested head, have beautiful plumage that is really the main reason for keeping them.
Step 3: Plan Your Coop
The nice thing about raising chickens is that it’s almost as easy to raise three as it is to raise six or twelve or twenty. Once you have the coop, the feeders, and the waterers, it’s just as easy to scoop out feed for ten chickens as it is to feed two. You are only limited by the size of your coop and run.
Step 4: Establish a Food and Watering Plan
As chickens become more and more popular, more and more chicken feeds are coming on the market. Some are designed for young chicks, some for young pullets and cockerels, some for meat birds, and some for laying hens. There are also organic feeds, feeds designed to encourage feather growth, feeds that add omega nutrients to eggs, show bird feeding . . . the list goes on. You also have the choice of feed mash, crumbles, pellets, or whole-grain feeds. Some chicken keepers decide to forgo feed altogether, relying instead on rotational pasture feeding to raise their flock.
The Humble Egg
Until I started raising chickens, I didn’t appreciate eggs. I didn’t give them the credit that they deserve. They were an everyday item that was added to my grocery list, something to eat with bacon or add to a cake recipe. I didn’t see them as a capsule of potential, something capable of perpetuating a species and bringing forth a new generation. The egg is humble, concealing its wonder in a quiet stillness, until one day it bursts open with life.
Other Poultry And Their Eggs
After chickens, ducks are probably the most popular backyard bird. Like chickens, ducks are usually raised for eggs or meat, or kept as pets.
I’ve raised Black Spanish turkeys since 2009, and have found them to be easy and pleasant birds to keep, in many ways a perfect backyard pet. As large birds, however, they require a lot of space.
Geese were originally bred for meat, as guard birds, and for their feathers. But goose meat is a rarity on today’s menus, and although goose down is still used, synthetic materials are quickly gaining popularity. On top of that, geese require a lot of space to prosper.
Guineas seem like the soldiers of the farm to me. They march around in their little football shape, sounding off whenever something isn’t right in the yard. Guineas are tough little birds.
Publisher : Voyageur Press; Illustrated edition (November 1, 2017)
Language : English
Paperback : 160 pages
ISBN-10 : 0760352224
ISBN-13 : 978-0760352229
Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
Dimensions : 8.25 x 0.5 x 10.25 inches