Is It Cooked?

Lots of people claim that they get backyard chickens to “teach their children about responsibility.” It’s a good way to do it. No one is harmed if you don’t vacuum your room, but if you don’t water the poultry, they’ll die.

I got my first hen when my oldest son was two. He’s now sixteen. However, I didn’t get chickens for him, or for his brother. I got them for me. I like doing the chores. I spent this morning cleaning out the coops and shoveling goat manure. I couldn’t have been happier. I like doing the daily feeding and scrubbing the waterers. My husband does too. Honestly, I haven’t wanted to share that with the kids. Terrible, isn’t it?

Still, the boys, somehow, have learned about putting other living creatures ahead of themselves. They’ve learned about how calming sitting with a hen can be. They know the sweet smell of goat breath. They do have chores, just not barn chores. Among other tasks, they vacuum (up a lot of dog hair!)

Once in awhile, they collect the eggs. You’d think, that after 14 years of bringing eggs into the kitchen, that my eldest would know the routine. But, as I said, my son is 16. There are teenage brain-lapses. A friend of his was over, so they went out to the coops to see the chickens, pet the rabbit, and play with the goats. The backyard animals are always the first stop for visitors. Even teenagers. More fun that a Wii. Anyway, he came in with three eggs and asked me where to put them. How he couldn’t know, after 14 years of bringing eggs into the kitchen, I don’t know. I was busy and didn’t look up. I said, a bit exasperated, “with the other eggs!”

I later asked him where the eggs were. He said, “in the fridge with the other ones, like you told me to.” After a bit of searching, I realized he’d put the freshly laid eggs in the bowl with the hard-cooked ones. Now how was I going to tell which was which? My morning routine is to eat a hard-cooked egg, first thing. I’m usually still half-asleep at 6:30. The jolt of protein helps. I cook up a big batch once a week. I didn’t want to wake up to a raw egg. From the outside, they look the same. How to tell which was which? Take a flashlight and shine it on the egg. A Raw egg looks translucent. A cooked egg is opaque.


  1. Oh, my! This is so familiar! We’ve been doing the same “chicken” routine for 3 years and I still have to ask every day to be sure that they have food and water, eggs collected, door locked, etc. I often go back and check to see if it was a job “well done”. Recently, we started tracking how many eggs the hens lay in relation to a bag of feed – to see if this venture is at least paying for itself. The surprising benefit has been my daughter’s sudden interest in going to the coop and recording the information! I still ask and check, but seems that the business aspect of it has appealed to her and made them a bit more “dear” in her eyes.

  2. Another trick for checking if an egg is boiled or not is to spin it on a flat, solid surface (plate, table, floor). The boiled egg will spin nicely, whereas the raw one will stop pretty much immediately (as the liquid inside will prevent it from spinning).

    My dad taught me that at the breakfast table when I was little, after telling a story about a friend who used to whack boiled eggs to his forehead before pealing off the cracked shell, and one morning his friends did the obvious: put a raw egg on his plate – and he was wearing this raw egg not only over his face but also all the way down his front. :-)

  3. Is it cooked? Easy! Use a pencil to put an X on the shell, before or after cooking but before putting in the refrigerator.

    • I shouldn’t have to – all cooked eggs go in a nice bowl. The raw eggs are in the cartons. Simple, but I guess something a teenager doesn’t notice :)