free range eggs | Cage-Free? Free-Range? How Egg Carton Claims Relate to Salmonella Risks | Rodale News

free range eggs | Cage-Free? Free-Range? How Egg Carton Claims Relate to Salmonella Risks | Rodale News

Does the whole egg label thing confuse you?

It should.

What one thing seems to mean may not – at all – have anything to do with the generally accepted understanding.

Read this article!  It will help make sense of the whole mess.

If you buy eggs from us – you know without a doubt that our girls are pastured and allowed to be chickens!

Not only that – because our eggs are so popular – when you buy eggs here the eggs you receive are rarely more than 24 to 48 hours since being laid.  That’s fresh!

So…  pay attention to where your eggs came from.  Just because they’re cheap doesn’t neccessarily mean they’re good for you!

Fresh Eggs

John got the sign up today, advertising the fact that we have eggs for sale.

We’ve been selling eggs for quite some time. People stop by all the time and ask if we have any, and if we have enough excess, then we sell them. If you’ll recall, William decided some time ago that he should have an egg business – and so we ordered chicks to augment our flock this spring.

Said chicks have been laying – and getting their “sea legs” so to speak, starting with the cutest little tiny 1 ounce eggs, and most are now up to regular sized eggs. Most days we’re getting a dozen eggs. Today was a 15 egg day. We’ve got five dozen extra eggs in the fridge – and available for sale.

Wow – it’s actually happening!

The morning started off with a lady from the neighborhood stopping by to buy eggs. A good start!

Today as I was washing dishes and looking out onto the chicken yard, I was struck by the fact that our baby chicks are nothing of the sort any longer – in fact, they’ve grown into some really beautiful pullets. So, of course, I had to grab the camera and get a few pictures.

This one I’m excited about. This is the lone black Minorca that we have left. She is SO beautiful. I don’t know if you can tell at all – but she’s so black that she has an amazing green sheen to her feathers. I love the contrast between her feathers, her crazy floppy comb and wattles, and her white ears. Yes, she lays white eggs. It’s very difficult to get a picture of her – she’s pretty skittish. So I was pretty thrilled to get this one!

And I know I’ve said it before, but I just love the Blue Anadalusians. Here’s a not super clear picture of one – but I think this one is really a beautiful bird!

All of the Blues are, really – but the lovely deep hue of her plumage is really stunning.

I realized today that there really is no distinction – size wise, anyway – between the big girls and the 2009 chicks. When they’re out scratching around – you really can’t tell which is which, except for the breed differentials.

And great news! Crayon isn’t quite so naked any more. She’s getting her feathers in! She still looks pretty funky – but she definitely looks better!

And here’s a not very clear picture of Mystery – the black Ameraucana. She’s so pretty – and also very skittish – so it’s hard to get a picture of her.

On a different note – my Aero Garden is growing amazingly! Take a look:

See that? I’m not sure if you can – but those are little buds that are coming out!

It’s been so fun to watch these plants thrive and develop! It’s been nearly a month since they were planted, and they say we should expect tomatoes to eat in another month.

And amazingly – there are still a few flowers blooming in the yard. Not the best picture – but it’s still a beautiful little poppy! I’m definitely going to plant a whole bunch more poppies next year – I’ve loved them!

All in all – I’m adjusting to the fact that fall is here. It really is beautiful – even if it isn’t my favorite time of year! J

My Husband, The Genius

If no one has told you yet, let me be the first.

Chicken keeping is addictive.

When you first start making your plans to add chickens to your world, you might start by saying something like this: “Three, yes. Three chicks would be the perfect place to start.”

Of course, then you go to the local feed store in Springtime and see the beyond adorable chicks. On the way home you find yourself thinking thoughts like, “Eight is probably a better number… Wouldn’t be that much more room to house…”

How you get from eight to twenty-two (including roosters that had to go away) is anyone’s guess!

Sufficeit to say that by the time you settle down to fifteen hens and NO roosters, things seem, well, comfortable.

Here’s the thing, though. When you’re into chicken keeping, you’re pretty much sure everyone else ought to join you in this wonderful pursuit! So, when a friend happens to mention that she’s been dreaming of starting her own flock one day – all she wants is some started pullets… You help!

Over the course of time things happen. Five go to friends. One dies from some mystery malady. Two get eaten by neighbor dogs. One goes broody.

Before you know it, you’re down to just four or five eggs a day.

That, my friends, is just not enough!

Especially not when you’ve got BiL’s Farm Fresh Eggs to supply!

So – you might start saying things like, “Well… if William is really going to do an egg business this coming year, just how many chicks should we order?”

You, of course, temper those statements with things like, “We probably shouldn’t get chicks – at least not this year. I mean I’m going to have major orthopedic surgery!” (This would be why you’re up to midnight the night before said orthopedic surgery placing your chick order!)

So… somewhere along the line an assumption is made that yes, some chicks should be ordered. Someone might have said ten chicks. Someone else might have said, maybe 12 chicks. And somewhere along the line the order gets morphed into – oh, thirty chicks!

Thirty adorable chicks.

Five Blue Andalusians (one was a rooster).

Five Speckled Sussex.

Five Delawares (two went missing, one came back).

Five Cuckoo Marans.

Five Amaracaunas (one was a rooster).

Five Minorcas – three buff (one’s a rooster, one died), and two black.

See? I NEEDED thirty chicks! J

And, accordingly, we needed a larger coop and run! (Particularly in light of our new neighbor dogs! UGH!)

This is not a job for the faint of heart! It might even require some blood, sweat, and tears! Or at least a blister or two!

John, my genius husband, has designed and drafted plans for the expansion.

Have I mentioned recently what a genius he is? Cause if not – let me just be sure to keep you in the know – he IS! Seriously!

The coop was the first structure he ever built.

It’s been nothing short of amazing and phenomenal. Many people have stopped to remark how nicely it’s built, and what a great design it is.

Yes, like I said – genius!

So, my genius husband has drafted – as in AutoCAD drafted – the plans for the addition. They’re pretty cool looking. But I’m thinking the built-out model will be EVEN cooler still!

This new addition will more than double the space of the coop! This wall will have six new nest boxes.

The new big door will open into the expanded, new, and improved chicken run.

And my brilliant husband even thought to build in a spot for a fan – for the hot days of summer. Last thing we need is a chicken with heat stroke!

I love this door! He built this all by himself! Isn’t it cool?

And here you can see that the cattle fencing has been stretched to it’s new anchor on the corner of the addition. The girls are going to like this so much!

And here’s a peek at the new chicken yard addition – an actual area with grass for them to hang out in! They’ve already tried it out and seem to think it’s a great idea!

So – now we wait. We’ve got 25 chicks who will begin laying sometime around mid-August. John’s got a schedule all worked out to make sure everything is finished up and all of the new nest boxes are in place in plenty of time for that!

In the meantime – we’re on chick hatch watch:

Shelly is on day 20 on Sunday. It takes 21 days of a hen setting consistently on her eggs for them to start hatching out. I’ll be sure to report any signs of progress!

So that’s it from Hip Chick Chronicles central!

Spring is sprung!

This is probably just about as random a collection of photos as you’re gonna find, but it’s spring – and I was outdoors with the camera – and so – well, here you go!

BiL’s Farm Fresh Eggs has got itself an egg sign – and finally – a holder – and it even works! Woo Hoo!

The peas are looking like they may well give us something to snack on soon. I keep looking for a little pea pod to snap off and pop in my mouth – but we’re not there quite yet… soon, tho!

Is there anything more beautiful than Japanese Iris?

This is the new garden plot that John has laid out, tilled, and prepared. We got corn, yellow crookneck squash, and zucchini planted in it yesterday.

Do you have sons? Cause if you do – this next photo will make total sense. Look! One of the pear trees is armed!

The flower bed along the street (adjacent to the low fence at the front of the property) got planted yesterday, too. There will hopefully be lots of Shirley Poppies, nastursiums, and sunflower seeds of varying types.

There are now 30 tomato plants of different varieties planted in the main garden plot, thanks to my husband’s ever diligent efforts.

We love these trellises John put together for tomatoes. They are so easy to tie up (we use construction tape – it’s amazing, and cheap at Home Depot!), and they get lots of good sun and ventilation this way.

This is John’s stack of lumber for the chicken coop expansion project that he’s working on.

He’s removed the little run that was attached to the coop – that was the first step of the project, the demo. Now he’s going to frame out the new addition area, and floor it first.

Can you see them? Baby pears!

Hanging out in the yard with Pepper, admiring the planting John did yesterday.

Pepper, the wonder chicken dog at play!

Gosh I love this time of year! Is there anything better than hanging out in the yard with the one you love and planting some amazing stuff that will enrich your lives?

We need your help…

Our son, William (you can call him BiL if you spell it right – long story!) has decided to start an egg business. With the family, neighbors, and friends who are interested in eggs on a fairly regular basis – and quite a big interest from those who go by our place – it was decided that if we had some more chicks, we could probably have a pretty decent little egg business.

If you know anything about chicken keeping you’ll know that it’s not cheap or inexpensive. However, if you factor in what we paid for our not as good as what we grow for ourselves eggs in pre-chicken keeping days – it’s not THAT expensive. ($14 a week-ish for 40-free range eggs times 52 weeks – over $700 a year for eggs! So yeah – we’re doing just fine now!)

But we’ve got a dilemma.

We need a name for the Egg Business.

We want your input.

Would you help us?

William thinks “Hip Chick Eggs” is dumb – okay, the other words he’s used in conjunction to that name include stupid, bad, girly. But we’re striking out on coming up with an alternative.

Will you help? Just respond in the comments section, and then when we’ve got some options, we’ll post a poll where folks can vote – and then we’ll let you know what the winner is!

Thanks!