The Incredible Edible Egg and Goosey Goosey Gander
My readers ask such good question! In the post about hatching my goose eggs renn of rennratt left this comment.
renn said: What are the differences (overall) between different breeds of geese? I understand appearance, but are there qualities that shine in the various breeds? Do you eat goose eggs? Or geese in general? I am fascinated by this.
Let's talk about the incredible edible egg. Not just chickens eggs. Most every fowl egg that I know of is edible. They are. You can eat all sorts of delicious eggs and probably have and may not have known it.
Goose and duck eggs are great for baking. They have a much bigger yolk and make a much richer baked product. Cakes are to die for when baked with duck eggs in place of chicken eggs. Quail eggs are often used for gourmet hors' dourves. You just never know where a different fowl egg will pop up in your diet. People also eat ostrich, rhea and emu eggs too.
In this photo is a sampling of eggs I have on hand. From largest to smallest are goose, duck, chicken, jumbo guinea and smallish guinea. The very small guinea egg is about the size of a bantam chicken egg. It would take 3 of those to make a large standard egg in your cooking recipes.
A farm fresh egg has a different taste when compaired to a commercially produced egg. It does take a while to get used to a fresh egg because they are so much richer and have a better flavor. Eggs don't take on flavors when the hen eats wild onions or garlic. But that is not to say what they eat doesn't cause a difference in the eggs when compared.
Farm fresh eggs from a small backyard coop are generally much deeper orangey in the yolks. The whites look cloudy. All of this is a good thing. Hens that are able to freely choose what they eat and are given a much wider diet have a more healthy egg. It has been proven under laboratory testing. Backyard, free range eggs have much higher Omega-3 fatty acids.
The orangey yolk is from the wide diet the chickens eat. Chickens are naturally omnivours. They do eat meat and they do eat pleants. Factory hens are fed a commercial mix of feed that is manufactured to have the least waste material and the most utilization in the chicken body.
Backyard chickens get more than feed. They eat bugs and green grass. Many are catered to and get treats just because they are pets more than egg producers.
My own chickens get all of the meat scraps from my kitchen and alot of my vegetable scraps - I have to give some to my goats too. Also my chickens eat grass. They eat bugs. I often cook rice and mix it with yogurt for good probiotics. Chickens will also catch and eat mice, lizard, small snakes and other little critters. This makes deep rich yolks. When I make my 12 eggs pound cake the cake turns yellow/orange from the yolks not a pale yellow or white. Also a cloudy tight white means an egg is super fresh as the carbon dioxide hasn't had time to dissopate through the shell. You want the yolk to sit up high on top of a tight white. This is getting the best of egg goodness.
This is true for most eggs. Turkeys, ducks, chickens, guinea, pheasant, quail, etc all eat the same things. The eggs are enrichened in the same manner. Geese, however, are different.
A goose is a herbivor. It only eats plants. It might swim like a duck but it doesn't eat fish or bugs or other creepy crawlies. Geese are best when they pasture graze. Their diet consists of good green grass in a nice wide field and a clean water source to keep their nares clean and clear.
It was once customary and still is with the English to raise geese. Christmas goose has been popular since Victorian days. Having spent the past 3 years looking for a goose for Christmas dinner and not finding one I decided I was tired of searching for the mountain. I started moving dirt and am building my own moutain -so to speak. I went in search of eggs for breeds of geese that were noted to make the best table birds. There are breeds of geese raised for their liver - mmmm, pate.
There are many kinds of geese. African, American, Buff, Emden, Toulouse, Brecon Buff, Buff Back, Grey Back, Pomeranian, Chinese, Pilgrim, Roman and more including canadian and wild geese. Even some real eye candy geese like Sebastopol. I should be getting some eggs for some Sebastopol next week. I am thrilled!
The heavier breeds are good for eating. I did a lot of research and found the most recommenations for embdens as table birds. Those are what I am raising for meat. There are others that are better at laying more eggs. I have some mutt geese growing out and who knows if they will fatten out for meat or be good layers. I have to wait and see. My embdens should be ready late this month. It takes 28 - 35 days for them to hatch. An entire month! The waiting is long and the hatching is longer. Geese are the hardest to hatch.
I don't have a pond. I bet you wonder how I will be able to raise waterfowl on dry land? They live just find with a kids wading pool to dip in to. It would be perfect to have a pond, even a wet weather pond. I am asking Steve repeatedly to build me one. We'll see. Maybe by next spring I'll have one. Fingers crossed.
My oldest geese are four weeks old. They don't need as intensive care as chicks. In fact my geese are turned out now. No heat lamps, tending to themselves. I make sure they have clean water and they graze and nap in the sun. I also give them a dish of game bird feed to supplement them as they are still growing and have not feathered in yet.
I am raising Chickens, geese and guineas. Turkeys will come this month and hopefully in 2 weeks my ducks will hatch. This is mostly breeding stock for next years big meat harvest for the winter freezer.
Steve hunted this past fall and the wild goose he brought home was delicious. I hope our home grown Christmas Goose is equally as good.