I’ve noticed a new trend among some of my city-dwelling friends and acquaintances lately – they want to raise chickens in their back yard. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s with the idea that the eggs and meat from these chickens are healthier. Or perhaps it’s a longing for a simpler way of life or a way to connect with our agricultural roots.
When I first heard about raising chickens in the city, my thoughts immediately went to my early childhood on a farm in southern Minnesota. One of my chores was to collect the eggs in the chicken coop. I remember putting on my scarf, grabbing a bucket, and heading out for this job that I really did not like.
Sometimes we had baby chicks in the coop, but I’m not talking about baby chicks here. They are soft, cuddly, and cute. I have more of a problem with them when they grow up. The coop our chickens lived in seemed dark after being out in the sun. It smelled bad too. The chickens had little cubbies where they would lay their eggs and I had the not-so-very pleasant job of sticking my hand in to this dark, smelly hole to find the eggs and collect them. I had visions of snakes, worms, or bugs living in there with the chickens and eggs. Nevertheless, I dutifully performed my chore and got out of there as quickly as I could. So when I heard people talking about raising chickens in their back yard, I thought they must be out of their mind. Smelly, dirty, and loud (because chickens will squawk at you when you startle them) are a few adjectives that came to mind.
But in reality, why not raise a few chickens? The coops I’ve seen on the internet are much nicer than the old chicken coop our chickens lived in. There’s more air circulation and light. The buildings are more attractive, not an eyesore. Moreover, you’d have the benefits of farm-fresh eggs right on your doorstep. To top it all off, eggs are healthy. They are a rich source of high quality, complete protein, and a good source of choline. And done properly, you would have your own source of natural fertilizer! If you live near me, I’d even buy a few eggs from you.
There are plenty of ways to prepare eggs: fried, sunny-side up, over-easy, poached, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, and of course –baked. There is nothing much simpler than a baked egg. Season it however you like, baked eggs are easy to prepare and serve for just about any meal. For this recipe, I used a six cup silicon muffin pan. This made it easy to remove the eggs from the pan by inverting the muffin cup. You can still make these in a metal muffin tin. Just carefully lift the baked eggs from the muffin tin with a spatula.
Simple Baked Eggs
- 6 eggs
- 6 tsp. milk
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 6 cup muffin tin by spraying tin with non-stick pan spray.
- Crack one egg into each muffin cup and pour 1 tsp. milk on each egg.
- Top raw eggs with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake at 350° F for 17-20 minutes. Remember, eggs will continue cooking a little after you take them away from the heat source. I baked mine for 17 minutes and they were slightly runny, not overdone. Check your eggs at around 15 minutes until you know how they will bake in your oven. Remove from oven when done to your liking and serve immediately by carefully lifting each egg out of muffin tin with a spatula.
Have you ever thought about raising chickens, or do you already raise chickens? What would you tell someone considering raising chickens? Tell us about your experience in the comments below. We would love to hear about it!