Allergy-Friendly Eggs (One Dozen)
I don't make these; our hens do! But it takes a lot of work to get eggs like these.
I'd say our hens are pretty happy, and very healthy!
Our eggs are from chickens fed a diet of *organic* hand-mixed seeds and legumes. We do not feed commercial feed or crumble.*
They get kelp, peas, lentils, hay pellets, millet, sorghum, black oil sunflower seeds, the occasional amaranth, and lots of greens (herbs, kale, weeds) from our gardens, yogurt, ferments, apple cider vinegar, various oily seeds like flax, pumpkin, and camelina seeds, and molasses. We also feed scraps from our own gluten-, corn-, soy- free, and (mostly grain-free) organic kitchen.
*They do receive whole, organic oats and some Scratch N Peck feed in the winter months when they need more protein and alternative grains are harder to source. This is phased in around November and out of their diets again around March. We typically do not have extra eggs for sale during these months, but if you have any questions about feed, please ask and I can tell you exactly what they are being fed at any given time since I hand mix monthly. We are also working on sprouting/fermenting systems currently so that this may change for the better.*
They are pastured, which means, that they have run of an actual pasture, and we raise our chickens so that they have good genetics and are hen-raised to learn foraging from the start. This means we give little feed, and they are eating lots of bugs and on lots of green plants.
In winter months during mud season, we have been throwing them lots of forage from the pasture. This means lots of dandelions, any remaining kale or chard, etc.
Our daily routine is this: Chicken coops are opened usually around 9 am (we keep a rooster, and this keeps our neighbors from hearing him at dawn quite so loudly.) The chickens are fed on the ground, encouraging them to scratch for bugs and turn their run into compost that we then use in the garden for a closed-loop, sustainable system. We currently have two flocks, but sometimes three. Coops are used by the chickens as they desire. They always have access to the outdoors other than night time, when we close the door against predators.
They are free to roam almost an acre of various un-sprayed lush, green plants all day long once the coops are open. They interact with my goats, ducks, sheep, and cats. They dust bathe wherever they want, pick the compost for worms, beetles, etc. and some come up to be petted. They have access to sun, shade, grit, crushed chicken shells that came from their own eggs (to return calcium to them), and plenty of fresh water.
Most lay eggs in the nesting boxes in the coops or barn. We have a few who prefer to lay under bushes, etc. and we just let them nest where they want and do an egg hunt each evening. We let them go broody on fertile eggs when they want, so we hatch out our own chicks, not hatchery chicks. We do not put chicks under lights- we let the mamas raise and teach them good survival skills and foraging.
My coops are set up so that the roosting bars are over a tray that is cleaned about once/month. We put shavings where they walk, and I mix my own herbs for the nesting boxes as they need refreshed and "fluffed up." The coops do not stink, and again, they only go in at night.
When dusk comes, the chickens enter the coops on their own, and we then go out and close the door against predators, and look for eggs.
We have had some predator attacks on our chickens occasionally. Typically, the chicken has to be put down, but some are very resilient and have been able to recover. If we think we can treat a chicken illness/injury, we bring the chicken either into the bathroom for care and observation around the clock, or seclude them into a dark barn stall to rest if they need less care. Wounds are treated with colloidal silver, typically, and my handmade herbal salves. We push electrolytes and commercially mixed vitamins if needed, but these will be out of the system by the time the chicken is then laying eggs again. We have not had ill chickens on our farm, other than impacted crop that was dealt with by giving plenty of grit and apple cider vinegar, and one consistently getting egg-bound after sustaining an injury from a dog attack.
Aging hens (hens more than 3 years old) are dispatched here in fall by us and used for meat by my family, if they are found to be no longer consistently laying. We do have exceptions.
I band each hen's leg as I see her in the nesting box throughout the late summer. If she is found in the nesting box at all, she gets a band. Blue for ones that are more than 2 years, Red for 2 and under, White for 1 year. I can recognize most of them, and know the youngest generation, and they do not get bands yet.
Any older chickens without bands get culled in the fall when we rent the county equipment for the most human slaughter we can. We remove the chickens from the coop in their sleep, so they are not stressed by us chasing/catching them.
We do keep several older hens who rarely lay, but are consistently good mothers. These are hens that go broody and are very protective of the chicks they hatch, and can pass on good foraging skills to the younger generations.
These hens have NOT been fed anything to enhance the color of the yolks- that comes from proper nutrition! They do have access to dandelions in the summer months, and lots of other lush greens and weeds, which I am sure contributes, as well as eating a high-protein diet.
These are pricier than some, but also more easily digested if you have food sensitivities. That information comes from our own experience with family members who thought they were sensitive to eggs, as well as customer feedback. We also do not bleach our eggs, so that can be a benefit if you are sensitive to bleach.
$8 for one dozen, packaged in a recycled carton.
Shown are actual photos of our eggs. We have hens that lay all colors you see, from dark chocolate brown to pale blue, and everything in between, and various sizes.
To judge a nutritious egg, there are three important qualities: Color of yolk (should be deep orange, not pale), firmness and height of yolk (should stand firm and tall, not be flat and watery), and thickness of shell.
My eggs are available for pickup on our Azure Standard pickup day, which is every month on a Thursday, or on Eat Local Pierce County pickup/market day, which is usually the first Friday of the month. I am also available by appointment. Pickup is on our farm; I do not deliver.
You are welcome to visit my chickens by appointment if you would like to learn more. I firmly believe in transparency in food, and invite you to see where your food comes from if you are purchasing from me.