I Was Wrong
I was wrong. Here is the first of the (allegedly) chocolate brown eggs:
You can’t tell in this photo, but it’s also half the size of a normal egg, which is pretty normal for the first eggs that a hen ever lays.
At the moment, the 7 mature hens (not counting the first of the three newcomers) are producing about 27 eggs a week, or slightly more than one egg every two days per hen. Unfortunately, the rats got four of them this last week (which was at least a lot less than they got the week before, when they managed to nab four a day on some days), leaving us with 23, which is not really enough to split amongst 6 people. But soon it will be back up to more like 35-40 eggs per week, which is just starting to border on too many. Which brings us back to the EAT-Lancet guidelines.
To feed the world while saving the planet and your own health, EAT-Lancet recommends a maximum of three eggs per person every two weeks, if I remember the guidelines correctly off the top of my head. At peak egg, we’ll be having to dispatch the equivalent of two eggs per person per day. So we’re way over the limit.
If we’re going to keep chickens, and if we’re going to insist on having Bertram Wilberforce Rooster, we’re kind of stuck with this minimum of ten hens. Even with his attention spread this thin, he still manages to claw bald spots on the shoulders of his favorites.
So then the question becomes what is the reasoning behind the three eggs every two weeks guideline? Is it because the life of an industrial laying hen (or really any industrially farmed chicken) is so freaking miserable for that short period before their egg production rate dips slightly, they get slaughtered? Or is it because there are literally tens of billions of chickens on the planet at any given time (more than one per person), and that’s a terrible strain on ecosystems? Or is it that egg (yolks) are cholesterol bombs and doctors think you shouldn’t eat too many of them?
My suspicion is that the answer is a bit of all three.
I’d been skeptical about eggs being bad for you (since cutting down on dietary cholesterol has only a minimal effect on blood cholesterol levels). But the study that came out earlier this week changed my mind. (If you’re interested in the article itself, which was published in JAMA, you can read it here and the summary of which, at least, is not hiding behind a paywall.) To sum it up in one sentence: This study followed nearly 30,000 people for 17.5 years and found that people who ate increasingly more than the cholesterol equivalent of two egg (yolks) per day were at increasingly higher risk of cardiovascular disease (and death). So back away from the eggs (and butter, cheese, and fatty meats). I haven’t wandered over the paywall to the details of the study, but it’s hard to argue with the summary.
On the other hand, two eggs every three weeks is an awful lot less than the cholesterol equivalent of two eggs a day (the odd moderate bit of butter and cheese on its own, won’t get you anywhere near the dreaded 300 mg cholesterol per day, not unless you are consuming these dairy products on the order of hundreds of grams per day).