Anyone who has had lying hens has discovered how readily they will fill your fridge with eggs until, inevitably, there is no more room for them - even after giving away or selling eggs to your friends, relatives, and co-workers. For anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen (and even those who aren't so eager to cook), there is never a surplus of eggs - even if you are getting a dozen eggs a day.
The following is a list of uses for eggs that go beyond breakfast and cookies. These things have cut our expenses, allowing everything our chickens produce to be enjoyed rather than grudgingly collected (after all, few things are as frustrating as being frustrated by a job well done).
One of the easiest ways to preserve your eggs so that they can be used for breakfast is by liming them. To do this, eggs are placed in a container that is filled with water, salt, and lime. The eggs sink to the bottom and are sealed by the liquid, while being preserved in an anti-bacterial environment. Eight month old eggs that are taken out and cracked will look and taste similar to fresh eggs cooked alongside them.
To make limed eggs you will need: 8 cups of water, 1/2 cup of canning salt (non-iodized salt), and 1 cup of pickling lime per one gallon container. Each gallon will hold roughly 20 eggs.
Stir the solution for a minute to dissolve the lime and salt in the water, then add the eggs one at a time to keep them from cracking against the container or each other. Make sure that the eggs you use are clean and NOT washed. The natural protective coating on the eggs is required for this preservation technique to work. If you wash the eggs then you remove that coating and compromise the whole batch. Eggs that are dirty can be preserved by scrambling them and freezing them.
Once your container is full of eggs (which can be done all at once or by adding eggs each day until you reach the top), make sure that it is stored with a lid in a cool place away from direct sunlight. The cooler the storage space the longer the eggs will last before they begin to take on "off" flavors from the lime.
By preserving eggs in lime you can free up freezer space and guarantee that you have plenty of eggs for fall and winter baking without having to keep lights on in the hen house or trying to maintain a large flock through the cold. It is a way of working with the natural cycle of things.
There are times of the year when you are overran with eggs, and other times when you may have to embarrassingly sneak to the grocery store to buy a dozen while your hens are going through a molt or resting over the winter. By storing eggs in the freezer you can make sure that you always have plenty to cook with, even during your dry spells, while also making the heavy laying periods seem less heavy.
To freeze eggs, separate each one out using large ice cube trays. This allows you to freeze each egg individually so you know precisely how many you are using in a recipe. Once the eggs are frozen you can store them in a sealed bag in the freezer until they are needed. Eggs can be stored for up to six months, giving you plenty of time to store away what you may need for the winter.
You can also scramble the eggs and fill ziplock bags, or even mason jars, to store in the freezer. If filling bags, place each bag on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer that way. The bag will freeze flat and smooth, making it easier to stack once frozen solid. If you want to use mason jars then leave at least one inch of headspace and freeze with the lid off. Once the contents are frozen solid you can put a lid on it and store it in the freezer.
Frozen eggs can be used for omelets, baking, chick starter, and in cooked dishes. They tend to work poorly for an overeasy breakfast.
This is easily our favorite thing to do with extra eggs and deserves a spot of its own. Egg noodles are fast and easy to make - even without a pasta machine. You can make giant ravioli to stuff, perfect lasagna noodles (ie. sheets), and long linquini. There are a wide variety of recipes online, most of which require a combination of eggs, flour, and a pinch of salt. Dry the noodles and store them in an air-tight container in your pantry.
There are very few people I know who make use of their eggs in this way, which can also work to your advantage: dried noodles are great for bartering in exchange for things you may not have (such as fresh honey or homemade jelly). I have found that egg noodles trade for more than eggs - after all, most people have access to fresh eggs. A woefully small number of people have access to homemade noodles.
Tempera (Egg) Paint
If you enjoy painting, you have to try out tempera paints if only once. Tempera painting combines egg yolks, water, and colored powder to create rich, beautiful colors for painting. Tempera is a lot like acrylics, allowing you to thin it down for watercolor techniques, or to slather on bold colors when thick. Finely ground dry pigments can be purchased online, or you can make the powders yourself using natural materials grown or collected around your home. Don't let the egg whites go to waste - save them to make a great angel food cake, which will take 10-12 eggs at a time.
More information about tempera painting can be found at The Society of Tempera Painters or by doing a quick Google search.
Dozen Egg Recipes
There are a plethora of recipes out there that use a dozen eggs, including Creme Rappresa (a chilled Italian mocha dessert), ice cream or gelato, pound cake, and angel food cake. If you aren't tired of eating eggs yet, or you want to make sure you don't get tired, there are also dozen-egg recipes for meals instead of desserts, including a wide array of omlets and baked casseroles.
30 Egg Pound Cake
If a recipe that calls for a dozen eggs still isn't enough, try some of the pound cake recipes posted here. Each recipe uses around 30 eggs and are great to couple with some of the other desserts, like homemade ice cream (which takes another dozen eggs).
Chick Starter Supplement
For the first few days of life, chicks live off of the remaining yolk that they abosrbed right before hatching. Providing chicks with hardboiled eggs for the first week will give the babies an extra burst of energy and nutrients while also saving money on expensive chick starter.
Boil the eggs until well done, then allow them to cool and crumble them up. The yolk is the most beneficial part, but if you (or your dogs or cats) don't want to eat the whites, then that can be fed to them, as well. Provide the mash as a supplement to the chick's feed by sprinkling a little over the top. Once they realize what it is they will devour that before eating the starter. Remove any egg that isn't finished within a few hours.
Frozen scrambled eggs can also be cooked and used as a chick supplement.
Chickens love eggs and will appreciate a snack on occasion. Scrambled and hardboiled eggs are especially good for broody hens, broilers, and heavy layers, all of which use up a lot of energy. You must cook the eggs before feeding them to your birds. Chickens are clever and once they realize that the tasty snack you are giving them comes from the eggs they lay they will start breaking eggs open to feast on their own time. Chickens that learn how to do this will teach others in the flock. Once the trick has been taught the bird must be removed from the flock - there is no way for them to unlearn the behavior.
Hardboiled and scrambled eggs don't have this issue. Any extra eggs can be boiled and fed back to the birds. Make sure you feed the eggs without the shells on. Shells can be crushed and given to your flock separately, or crushed and added to your garden soil.
If you are in the habit of giving your flock treats then this is an easy way to help keep the cost of special goodies down when you find yourself truly overran with eggs. In addition, cooked eggs are a great way to befriend a skittish bird or to provide extra nutrients during extreme temperatures. It normally doesn't take more than a few eggs for an untrusting chicken to run up and snatch the treat out of your hand.