Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicks of Noodleville

As part of my goal to live a more self sustaining life style, we decided to add chickens to our little patch of Noodle.

My plan was to add them NEXT YEAR, but what can I say… children pressured me into it early! We went into the feed store planning on 5 chicks. I really liked the Jersey Black Giants, but Shayla liked the red chicks….and Clayton SWEARS blue & green eggs taste the best, so we HAD to have rainbow layers…

We left the store with 4 Jersey Black Giants, 4 Americanas (rainbow egg layers), 4 High Production Reds and then just for kicks, we threw in 3 Marans, which are known for laying a very dark chocolate colored egg.

Our Chicks:



I sold off all the rabbit stock, with the exception of one “Yard Bunny”. Rabbits were hard for Shayla to handle and even my sweetest bunnies left me with scars so now we’re down to one, who literally lives in the yard like a dog…He begs for food and is an exceptionally sweet lil’ fella. This left me with several empty, sturdy rabbit cages which are now chick pens.

Shayla holding one of the Maran chicks:


All of our chicks are still mostly fuzzy so I’m hoping that by the time they feather out we will have a coop and run built for them. Our eventual goal is to have them free range during the day for pest control, but until we have the property completely fenced they will live in the coop/run we build and even after we finish fencing, we will lock them up at night to protect them from the coyotes and bobcats.

Here's one of the High Production Reds:


Clayton & Shayla LOVE the lil fuzzy chicks. Both have been very good about checking on them several times a day, refilling their food and water and keeping an eye on their heat lamp.

Claytor-Tator holding one of the Jersey Giants:


Once our lil fuzzies mature I will have the benefit of pesticide free bug control, PLUS super good for you Fresh, Free Range Eggs! I’ve always preferred fresh eggs to the store bought variety, and thought I’d share some nifty facts about fresh, free range eggs vs. commercially produced eggs.

Egg shells are porous and fresh eggs have what is called a “cuticle” or “bloom” which is a natural barrier on the outside of the egg that keeps them fresh for a remarkable time period. When gathering fresh eggs, gently wipe off any debris and store in the fridge. Wash gently with warm water before cracking….by gentle handling and not removing the “bloom” the eggs stay fresh for a really long time.

Everyone knows commercially farmed eggs aren’t that great….poor chickens are housed in tiny, awful conditions and fed nothing but a commercially prepared food. Many commercial raised chickens have their beaks clipped off to prevent them from pecking their pen mates into a bloody mess…but if they had more than these itty bitty cages to spend their entire life in, they wouldn’t peck each other to death…Factory Farming isn’t something I care to support, I don’t approve of their practices and hope to move away from buying factory farmed products until eventually I am able to produce all of my family’s food…

Anywho…..commercial eggs don’t have the “bloom” or “cuticle” that nature so brilliantly provided. Factory farmed eggs are usually run down a conveyor belt from the hens, washed in 110-120 degree water mixed with detergent, chlorine and sometimes ammonia and then to make up for the bloom that has been whisked away by harsh chemicals, they are coated in a clear odorless oil.

Chlorine, Ammonia and Oil….sounds appetizing huh? *Gag*

Here’s another thing to think about….Crack open a store bought egg…what do you see? Most likely it’s an almost clear white and a yellow yolk. When an egg is fresh, it contains carbon dioxide that makes the white look cloudy. The older the egg gets, the more gases escape from the porous shell and the more transparent the white becomes (gets more watery looking as it ages). I dunno about y’all, but almost every store bought egg I’ve cracked open has an almost transparent white…which makes me think…How old is this egg that’s been dipped in chlorine, ammonia and then oil coated?!?!? I’ve cracked 2 week old farm raised eggs and still had some cloudy white color present in the whites, not to mention that very dark, rich colored yolk…

So, you may snub your nose at this and still buy store bought, commercially farmed eggs…That’s peachy with me, but also consider this.

According to the USDA Sustainable Agriculture & Research Education Program, Pasture raised eggs have 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more vitamin A and 400% more omega-3 fatty acids. Pasture raised eggs also contain 30% more vitamin E. Dunno about you…but I don’t think those numbers are anything to sneeze at!

Eggs from pasture raised hens produce positive HDL or “good cholesterol” and lower the bad triglycerides!

Eggs are also one of the few foods that contain vitamin D naturally.

Gotta love the incredible, edible, farm fresh, free range egg!

We bought all Pullets…which are sexed birds so I only brought home females. And if all goes well, hopefully next year we won’t have to buy eggs from the store anymore, AND we’ll have an excellent lil’ crew of bug eaters keeping those pesky grasshoppers, fleas and ticks at bay!

No comments: