Happy hens = Healthier and tastier eggs for you
- Our eggs are guaranteed less than 1 week old
- Our hens are ethically raised and fed all organic feed and given as much forage as they could want
- Our eggs are tastier and better for you
- By buying our eggs you are supporting a sustainable local economy
About our flocks:
We have two flocks of about 350 hens, all heritage breeds: Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Marans, Americaunas, Buff Orpingtons, and Silver Laced Wyndottes and Golden Laced Wynedottes, Australorps, Welsummers, and California White Leghorns. Our hens are more than free-range, they graze on a nutritious pasture of clover, alfalfa, chickory, plantain and grass. Each week they are moved to new forage. We supplement our pasture with locally milled organic feed, crushed oyster shells (for calcium), and organic veggie scraps.
Why are our eggs so expensive?
Because it takes a lot more resources to give hens a more natural life. Quality feed costs more, as does purchasing feed in smaller quantities. It also takes significantly more labor to pasture chickens than it does to keep them in warehouses with automated climate control, egg collection, feeding & watering systems. Our chickens live in mobile coops on fresh pasture. Every week we move the whole setup. We also have to maintain the pasture. Because they're on pasture, the eggs have to be hand collected each day and muddy feet mean dirtier eggs and more hand washing. In addition we feed our hens certified organic feed, which is almost twice as expensive as the conventional feed. These feed bills total up to over $2,000 a month- that's a lot of eggs just to pay off the feed bill. In addition we pay an extra $500 a year in liability insurance as well as increase organic certification fees. Cartons aren't cheap either, they cost us around 30 cents each. All in all, once you include the initial investment in building the coop itself, the cost of the baby chicks, the expense of hoses, feeders, waterers which all deteriorate faster in the sun... well, if we were just looking at the numbers we wouldn't be doing this.
So why raise chickens this way if it takes so much more work?
Because it's the right thing to do. Our eggs are completely different that grocery store eggs. Not only do they taste better with their incredibly bright orange yolks, they're better for your health. Eggs produced by chickens who live more normal chicken lives (foraging on bugs, worms, and greens) are more nutritious. A recent study of 4 free-range flocks done by Mother Earth News, revealed that compared to supermarket eggs from hens raised in cages, pasture raised eggs contained half as much cholesterol, were up to twice as rich in vitamin E, were two to six times richer in beta carotene (a form of vitamin A) and had an average of 4-6 times more essential omega-3 fatty acids (vital for optimal heart and brain function).
In addition our chickens are an integral part of our farm management plan. By allowing them to forage not only do they help us with insect control, but they add fertilizer to the soil that we rotationally grow produce on.
Our eggs require more labor, but there are great benefits. The animals are treated humanely and our farming system made more sustainable. In addition, the resulting product is more nutritious and tastes better.
How much would you pay for a large soda? or a donut? These foods are empty calories & cost just cents to produce...
Considering the labor, feed, and time that goes into its production, an egg is a nutritional bargain. We are so conditioned in this country to cheap eggs, that it can be shocking to be faced with higher prices at the farmers' market, but conversely we rarely question spending, say $4.50 on a morning pastry at the market. ...And unfortunately, cheap eggs come at a price for the hens producing them.
Our operation goes beyond what "free-range" or "humane" mean.
Labeling like "Free-Range", "vegetarian fed", "humane" can be misleading and confusing. Although there are differences between these categories, they generally all refer to operations of 1,000 hens or more in large warehouses under artificial light or in some cases no light at all. These hens eat a grain based diet of primarily corn and soy. "Cage Free" simply means that within these warehouses they aren't in cages. "Free-Range" means they have access to an outdoor run, though birds who've grown up inside will rarely go out and there isn't enough room for them all to be outside anyways. "Vegetarian fed" means they're not being supplemented with meat scraps or other animal bi-product, a common industry practice. Our hens are outside almost all the time, eat as much green grass and bugs as they want, and have a completely different life than a hen raise in a conventional setting.
By purchasing our eggs, you are not only supporting a more humane and sustainable way of raising laying hens,but you are also supporting a more reasonable and sustainable wage for farmers. Your food dollars translate directly into our livelihood. We thank you for your decision to support a more sustainable and ethical way of raising animals and a more just wage for farmers.
For more info on nutritional value of pasture raised eggs go to www.MotherEarthNews.com/eggs/chart