Is an Egg for Breakfast Worth This?

2 eggs jun 30 08

Here’s a good article about how commercial factories raise chickens in order to sell their eggs. I’ve included the link to the New York Times so please head over there to read the entire article.

 

Supermarket eggs gleam with apparent cleanliness, and nothing might seem more wholesome than breaking one of them into a frying pan.

Think again. The Humane Society of the United States plans to release on Thursday the results of an undercover investigation into Kreider Farms, a major factory farm that produces 4.5 million eggs each day for supermarkets like ShopRite.

I’ve reviewed footage and photos taken by the investigator, who says he worked for Kreider between January and March of this year. In an interview, he portrayed an operation that has little concern for cleanliness or the welfare of hens.

“It’s physically hard to breathe because of the ammonia” rising from manure pits below older barns, said the investigator, who would not allow his name to be used because that would prevent him from taking another undercover job in agriculture. He said that when workers needed to enter an older barn, they would first open doors and rev up exhaust fans, and then rush in to do their chores before the fumes became overwhelming.

Mice sometimes ran down egg conveyer belts, barns were thick with flies and manure in three barns tested positive for salmonella, he said. (Actually, salmonella isn’t as rare as you might think, turning up in 3 percent of egg factory farms tested by the Food and Drug Administration last year.)

In some cases, 11 hens were jammed into a cage about 2 feet by 2 feet. The Humane Society says that that is even more cramped than the egg industry’s own voluntary standards — which have been widely criticized as inadequate.

An automatic feeding cart that runs between the cages sometimes decapitates hens as they’re eating, the investigator said. Corpses are pulled out if they’re easy to see, but sometimes remain for weeks in the cages, piling up until they have rotted into the wiring, he added.

Other hens have their heads stuck in the wire and are usually left to die, the investigator said.

Read the rest of this article here. Please leave a comment here on our site and let us know your thoughts about buying eggs from the big commercial factories.

 

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Chicken Farmin’ 101

eggs, raising chickens, eggs or your family, farm fresh eggs

 

 

eggs, raising chickens, eggs or your family, farm fresh eggs

 

Chickens are hard workers in our barnyard. They work to keep the bugs down (have you ever seen chickens chasing bugs? Hilarious stuff). They fluff up our composting manure piles in their search for bits of grain and worms.

Plus, they lay some of the best tasting eggs you will eat. Don’t knock farm fresh eggs. They taste SO different from those store bought ones.

And the colour – the brilliant yellow, almost orange yolks are a sight to behold. So unlike those pale runny eggs they sell in the grocery store. If you don’t have chickens at your house, consider getting a few. Even 3 or 4 hens will lay more than enough eggs to keep a family of 4 happy and they make great additions to your backyard.

Many towns and even large cities are changing their bylaws to allow chickens in city backyards.  In the City of Vancouver, you are allowed to have 2 hens per house. It is really great to see so many cities and town starting to think progressively about the food supply.

You don’t need a rooster in order to get eggs from your hens. That’s a good thing, because roosters in the city may be a problem because of their crowing.

You can look on Craiglist for some laying hens. But be aware that sometimes people will sell off their OLD laying hens. You want young hens, ones that will produce well for at least 2 years. Older hens will lay fewer eggs but those eggs will be larger.

If you have a local feed store you can ask if they ever bring in “Ready to Lay” hens. These hens are probably about 5 months old, and should start laying for you within a month. Our feed store sells them for about $10 each and most years I do order some to add to my flock.

You can also mail order day old chicks and raise them to laying age yourself. If you want to learn about setting up brooders and raising day olds, 8 Pounds in 8 Weeks covers all the stuff you will need. Whether you are raising meat birds or laying hens, their starting needs are the same, except for their feed.

We feed our layers 16% protein feed. Much of the year, they are outside running around in the yard chasing bugs and worms which adds more protein to their diet. If we had a worm farm, we could likely do away with the feed from the store. Our hens also get a lot of our garden waste and veggie tops. We can reduce the amount of store bought feed in the warmer months as the hens are getting protein from other sources.

During the winter months, when our barnyard is covered in several feet of snow, things change for our hens. They get lots of  16% lay pellets, plus hay. Our hens love hay and yours probably do too. Alfalfa hay is excellent and will help their yolks have that beautiful deep colours.

We also give them all our household leftovers and scraps, except chicken. We do NOT feed chicken to chickens, just like we do not feed pork to pigs.

Speaking of pigs, when we butcher our pigs each Fall, we trim off a lot of the fat. Our pigs do not have as thick a layer of fat on them as straight grain fed pigs, because we feed them heavily on garden veggies. We still get plenty of fat for our needs.

I wrap the fat in bags and tuck them away in the freezer. Then during those short, cold dark days of Winter I pull out a package and dice it up for the hens.

 

 

feeding pork fat to chickens

They love it and it’s good for them.

Look around your barnyard and see how you can reduce the feed store food bill. Many people with extra freezer room tuck turnip tops or beet tops in there to take out for their hens in the Winter. Cabbages can be kept in a cold room down in your basement to be brought up to the chicken coop during Winter.

 

 

Five minutes later, here’s what’s left of that big bowl of fat and leftovers.

What do you feed your chickens? Start thinking of easy things to grow that will be good for chickens. Less dependency on the local feed store is a good thing.

 

Want to be sure you’re reading what we’re writing?   Subscribe to our mailing list and don’t miss a single post. Take a look at our sidebar at the top of the page and subscribe. I promise you I’ll keep your email addresses to myself – you won’t ever be spammed and I won’t ever do anything with my list other than let you know every time a new post is published here and give you the inside scoop on great info and deals.