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Get Real: Eggs Revisited

 

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

Back in June, we started the conversation about eggs, and today we return.

When you purchase eggs what are looking for?  Are you concerned with what your hens were fed?  Do you worry about the conditions in which the hens were raised?  What terminology are you looking for on the egg carton when you are shopping?  So how do you find out if the hens were raised and fed they way you would approve?  Just ask!

One egg-farming family I spoke with shared about their chickens’ (23 hens) living quarters.  Their hens roost in a specially-designed coop on wheels (built for easy clean ups) each night, but roam free in the yard all day, feasting on bugs, worms, grass, and whatever they find throughout the garden.  Their diet is supplemented with pellets.

I read another backyard chicken farmer’s account, telling about how she has a small compost pile that is kept just for her chickens, kept stocked with organic vegetable cuttings, and other small treats her hens love.

Gudrun of Kitchen Gadget Girl says:  For eggs, organic eggs must be from chickens fed organic food and given access to the outdoors, and not raised in cages. The USDA does not have a legal definition of free-range chicken eggs – free range is supposed to mean the chickens have free access to the outdoors and don’t live in cages. Cage-free birds don’t live in cages either, but usually live indoors. And just because chickens raised organically and free-range chickens have access to the great outdoors, it does not mean they use it. It a situation like this, I would try to find the most local eggs available on the shelf.

But what if you can’t find a local egg source?

In the previous egg post Kelly shared this link, which was so good I want to share it again.  Take a look at the rankings, find your state, and find some egg buying options that work for you.  And if you can’t find what you need to know there?  My answer to almost everything: Google it!  Be a responsible consumer and know from where your food is coming.  Give it a try and you might be surprised. Here’s another great link that was posted just this week from The Healthy Home Economist regarding store bought eggs.

 

September Week 3 Action Item:

Each week we will try to give you some simple action steps to put this journey into practice. It is important that you start this journey by understanding yourself, your goals and perhaps your obstacles.
  1. Spend a little time this week finding out from where your eggs came.  If you purchased them from the store pull the carton out of the fridge and do some Googling.  Check the Egg Scorecard.  Find out all you can about from where your eggs came.  If you purchased your eggs from a local farmer ask them questions about how they raise their hens, and what their farming practices are.  Be an educated consumer!

September Get Real:

Please take a moment to thank our guest authors by clicking over to their sites and/or liking them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Sponsor:  Once A Month Mom
Guest Author: Gudrun of Kitchen Gadget Girl

2 Responses to “Get Real: Eggs Revisited”

  1. As a recent “real food” convert AND small chicken flock owner (also just began in March of this year) I commend your article. We were shocked when we took on our first four hens back in March how amazing this creatures are! To put it in perspective, we now have 20 with number 21 on it’s way this afternoon and my children are looking at using THIER allowance to buy an incubator to hatch some of their own. They are funny, curious, loving (yes surprisingly lovable), thoughtful birds. Many of which, even your average backyard varieties such as Orpingtons, Rhode Islands, non-industrial Leghorns, and Plymouth Rocks are on the endangered and recovering lists as conservation priority poultry for 2012. Once I “met” these unique animals, I could no longer “forget” the facts of how the average commercial bird is treated and raised. Watch Food Inc for horrible examples if you’re at all interested and prepared to make a change. I encourage readers to visit a local farm or ask around to friends, I was shocked at how many people I “knew” through clubs, sports, school, etc. that already were raising backyard chickens!

    Even if you’re not interested in the animal cruelty/ animal treatment area. Eating local, humanely kept eggs is better for your family’s health, better for the local economy (keeping local farmers in business helps EVERYONE), and the environment.

    My chickens are unknowingly creating me “black gold” in terms of an amazing compost that will help keep my family in fruits and vegetables next spring/summer/fall. They’re amazing bug catchers also, freeing our yard of mosquitoes and other pesky critters, keeping the environment in balance around here and eating our leftovers and scraps so we aren’t wasting so much!

    I think one of the more important things we were surprised to discover is flavor! People can tell you how much better they are all day but the first egg we collected surprised us all- from cracking it open in a pan beside a store bought egg (YELLOW, firm, large yolks), to the kids’ first hard earned plate of scrambled eggs-it was a tasty meal.

    Being a recent “convert” myself I’m not judging by any means. Trust me, as hard as I’m working on the Real Food commitment here, we still have fast food more than I’d like to admit. I’ve had to convince myself it all will happen in small steps, making one good choice at a time and not beating myself up when it all falls apart some days :).

    Thanks for letting me comment and share a bit of my recent experience and knowledge of backyard eggs and chickens.

  2. Angie Clark says:

    Thanks for the info. I checked the scorecard and my eggs weren’t listed. I googled a bit too. I am going to try getting some eggs this week from a local place…

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