There is so much in the media about eggs and chickens at the moment that I don’t really need to repeat much of it here. Selling eggs privately is something that has surfaced in many conversations on Social Media, and many folk think that those of us who have surplus eggs should be giving them away right now, or at least selling them legally (you must only sell to the end user if you are not in the business and have met all the requirements) at a very low price, as if it is somehow our duty to give away or sell cheaply our produce.
This worries me. It costs a lot to raise hens properly. The SPCA has written a recent article, and it’s true. Once can’t just get a few hens, set them loose in your backyard and hope to get daily eggs sufficient for your needs, every single day. Hens are like any other creature, they do require looking after, housing, feeding and treating if they are unwell. For those of us who buy in the food for our hens, the costs have sky-rocketed over the last year – partly this is political, partly it is weather related, and partly it is inflation in the input costs of producing the feed. Put these together and the cost of our daily eggs is expensive. If we were to cost our eggs as we do for the other products we sell, we would see a huge increase in the price we need to charge to break even. But why should we not charge our customers a realistic figure for what it actually costs? If I want to give my eggs away, I can, and I do. Now more than ever, eggs are currency, but that is my choice. I should not be made to feel guilty or publicly shamed for wanting to at least cover my costs.
Our eggs have been available for sale on our website for a long time, at $7.00. We have ONE lovely customer who buys eggs. ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! [As she is a friend, she will go on buying them at $7.00, but that is my choice]. Nobody else has bought eggs from us in the past year. At $7.00 even at the start of 2022 we were running at a loss on our eggs. Now at $7.00 per dozen it is a significant loss per dozen. So, we have put our prices up to more accurately reflect our input costs – not our labour or anything fancy like that, but just to cover the cash that we actually have to pay out.
In previous times we have fed our excess eggs to the pigs. With as many hens as we have this can sometimes be a bucketful of eggs, that no-one else wants. Legally I can’t give them to food-banks, legally I can’t sell them at The Grocer, where we sell our flowers, and we can only eat so many eggs a week. Now that eggs are the new gold coins it suddenly seems somewhat extravagant and wasteful to feed them to the pigs. So, in the absence of willing customers we decided to preserve the eggs so that we can have eggs in the winter when our lazy lumps of feathers stop laying.
I thought about water glassing the eggs – this has been highlighted on several Facebook pages recently but I didn’t want to buy in any more inputs, especially chemical ones, thus making our eggs more expensive for ourselves. We decided to freeze them, but not as recognizable eggs, as these tend to end up somewhat rubbery.
So, this is what we did. We had leftover cream from Christmas, and, after carefully checking each egg, we mixed 6 eggs with a good slosh of cream, whisked it up and carefully poured the mix into a resealable ziplock bag. The bag is flat, so we stacked up ten bags of six eggs, and one of a dozen on a tray and (carefully) placed them in a freezer. Now we can use them in baking, scrambled eggs, omelets whatever, during the times when our hens don’t lay. Yours won’t lay all year either unless you rig up fancy lighting.
So, if you do have hens, here’s an easy way to save the eggs, those little gold nuggets, for the time when the bank runs dry!