Thursday, February 26, 2009

A few questions

OK, I need some advice from you experience farmers out there. I have 2 questions.

First, I found a hidden stash of eggs yesterday. They are Kudzu's, I just thought she was a spotty layer, but had also been searching for a hidden nest. There were 6 eggs in it, I know 5 of them are less than a week old, but one of them is at least 2 weeks old. Our temps have been in the mid 40s most days but we've had a few days in the 60s. Are they safe to eat? Should I just throw them all away? Can I test them somehow? I know about the float test and that it will show age, but will it show if an egg is rotten? Should I just open them in a separate bowl before using and decide on an individual basis?

Hopefully now that I know her secret spot I'll be able to get the eggs when they are fresh from now on.

My other question regards keeping sheep and goats together. Does anyone keep sheep and goats together? I plan to have both and with the layout of my property it will be much easier to keep them all together. However, I know goats need more copper than sheep. If you keep them together how do you handle the different mineral needs? I guess I could add minerals to the goat food when I feed them and not keep it out free choice. Our I could have separate stalls and only put the mineral out at night. Are these realistic ideas or should I just plan on keeping them totally separate?

Thank for any input! I need it.


Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I have no words of wisdom. Somebody will though! Just never told you how much I love the photo in your header! Too cute.

JAM said...

I think the eggs would be fine. In the old days eggs were never refrigerated, and it's not like it was 90, it was only 60. I would crack them individually into something separate and give them a good sniff - but I bet they will all be fine. My hens occasionally hide an egg that I don't find for a few days, and I've never had a problem. I also haven't had a problem with eggs freezing (if they lay them late and I don't get them till the morning) and then just thawing in the fridge. My kids call them eggsicles when they get them - they're too cold to hold for very long! My 3 hens are laying quite well now that the days are getting longer, and I'm very hopeful that my 4 new girls will lay soon - they'll be 20 weeks old mid-March so technically they might start then, but I think my older hens were closer to 24 weeks when they started...

Anonymous said...

Hey Christy,
On the eggs, I go by the float test too. The more it floats toward the top, the less fresh it is. The cool tempertures would have help keep them safe to eat.
On the minerals, we buy a mineral block at the feed/seed store for our goats. They lick it when they need minerals,(they know).
We don't have any sheep, but we have the cows/calf/goats/ and Jack together right now.
Good luck with it all.

kristi said...

My sheep and goats are all together and they get along fine, the goats love to pull the fleece of the sheep and eat it. You can NOT feed sheep copper as it will kill them therefore, if you are going to give them all grain, you can feed sheep food to all of them but never feed goat feed to the sheep or find an all-stock feed w/out copper to give them. As for minerals, same thing NO COPPER FOR THE SHEEP. TSC has an all trace mineral that I feed for the horses, sheep, and goats that has no copper. Purina sheep minerals also works well but it is more expensive. The mineral blocks are a waste of money in my opinion. Now I also keep my bucks and rams together and they are fine together but all of them are polled. I will not put the horned and polled together. And the 2 mini's are in with the sheep & goats but I do feed them their own grain in their stalls. Hope that helps:)

FarmHouse Style said...

I think the eggs should be fine, especially considering the temps we have had lately. If you have any doubt, just crack them separately as you go to be sure.

Sorry I can't offer any advise on the sheep and goats, but I am glad you asked the question since one day I too would like to have both. I'll stay tuned and learn from you:-)

BTW, I loved the Kid's Interview! I will have to try it with my son just to see what he will say.


Kyfarmlife said...

Great questions and I'm so glad you asked them! I needed to know this too! Once spring hits I'll be getting the rest of my flock...and we plan to sell the eggs around the community...I know that eggs last a long time....but for how long refrigerated will they keep? I plan on dating the cartons, but I wonder what else I should do. Pepper has a special place she lays, outside of her coop, but she did go 3 days without laying...wonder why? Will they only lay one egg at a time like she has been doing? Hmm i sure need to do my own research

JLB said...

I'm trying to come up with any sort of answer since I know it all ;)
(but I really have no idea)
Can you try candling the eggs?

The lady I got Sue from didn't do anything different for the goats than the sheep and she had them all together. She did have pens to put them in and had a mineral block in it. (maybe she only allowed the goats in that pen??) Not sure though, I thought your idea of adding it to the food was good but then they may not need all you give them and may overdose...hmmm great answers huh

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

The chickens hens don't want ya to find the eggs, so you don't take 'em away, the hens want to go broody and hatch 'em.

Melody said...

Definately float the eggs. Most of mine just "stand up" rather than lie on the bottom. If they aren't on the bottom at all, floating somewhere in the water, throw them out. If they just stand up, they are a little older, but will be fine to eat.

As a rule of thumb, always, always, always crack the egg in a separate bowl. Especially if you have a rooster who might have fertilized an egg. A fertilized egg presents with a little blood in it.

I learned my lesson when I unsuspectingly cracked a developing chick into a hot pan.

I'm not really sure about sheep, sorry.

ChristyACB said...

I don't keep chickens yet, but I do buy local eggs home grown and free range. I float every egg I get from them, especially in the summer. Nothing against them, they just have a lot of chickens and those little guys do like to hide them. Ditto on the cracking in a separate bowl. That is so not a sight you want to see directly in the pan.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Floating eggs won't tell you if the egg is rotten, only how old it is. Old doesn't necessarily mean bad.

Even a 2 day old egg that's been sitting out in humid 95 degree day can become spoiled.

Factory farmed eggs are permitted to have 45 days between gathering/packaging and delivery to the store. And then the buyer has 3-5 weeks to keep the eggs after the sale date.

The worst thing that happens during that time is the quality of the egg is greatly diminished.

The best and really only way to tell if an egg is spolied or rotten is to crack it and smell. Also look at the color of the white. If it's slightly pink, there is dangerous bacteria inside that egg.

Your temps may have been in the 40's, but the hen laying on them is much warmer. Keeping them cool is important, but consider that the French typically don't refrigerate their eggs, and they aren't known to have problems.

It's really your call. If it were me, I'd first do the water test, and then I'd do the 'crack open' test.
Of course, if it's only 5 eggs, you might feel safer tossing them into the compost pile and not taking any chances.

I've been keeping my 5 goats together with my two sheep for over a year without any problems.
We don't feed our sheep or goats special food. They all only get grass hay and sometimes grass/alfalfa mix. We have a mineral block for the goats that the sheep never bother with. And our sheep get their loose minerals separate in a mineral feeder.

We also keep our llamas in with our goats and sheep, as they are for protection. The llamas each receive their bucket of loose minerals along with a cup of llama pellets each every evening.

Another benefit of keeping goats with sheep, is that goats keep sheep calmer. Goats don't tend to startle and take off at the slightest spook, so they are useful for making the sheep calm and quiet.


Gail said...

Do we even know how old the eggs are we buy in the store?

They should be fine. To feel better break them in a cup first.

I have discovered the float test only works on very rotten eggs. I also know hatching eggs placed in warm water will bob if there is a live chick in the egg.

Christy said...

Thanks for the advice! The hen wasn't sitting on the eggs, she just laid them in a place I didn't find for awhile. So they won't warm under her. I'll keep those ones separate and crack them in a bowl before using. With only 2 hens, 6 eggs is a lot to throw away!

For those keeping sheep and goats together, the goats don't end up copper deficient? I thought they needed a high amount of copper. If they'll be fine without it, I won't bother with it. I don't want to risk killing the sheep.

JLB said...

I made a copper post of a few links on my vet blog, not sure it will help much but you might want to check :)

Danielle said...

I would eat them, but not sell them. Any I was iffy with, I'd either hard boil or give to the dogs.

I wash and refrigerate all eggs to be sold because that's part of our regs, but I don't wash or refrigerate the eggs we use for ourselves.

As far as sheep and goats, the copper is the biggest issue. If you plan to stall them at night, you could certainly put the minerals in the stall and leave it at that. The other option is to give them all sheep minerals and learn to bolus; then you could just give the goats a copper bolus and be done with it.

A bolus gun, is basically just a long plastic plunger that puts a big pill waaay back in the throat so the animal will swallow it. The trick is to get it to go to the right stomach.

Jennifer said...

I wanted to stop by and say thank you so much for your comments on my chicken post! They were very helpful!

Peggy said...

We keep our sheep and goats together and they are just fine. We keep a mineral block out for the goats. The sheep won't even look at it and give the sheep their minerals after we feed them in the evening.