The sweet sweet rewards of such chores are pictured below. Can you guess which yolk belongs to the chicken we know? Amazing color in that Zenger egg, especially given that the other two yolks are from a grocery store bought Portland area free-range organic coop eggs- not exactly a bad choice I thought!
This experience helping collect eggs and check in on chickens has undoubtedly changed forever how I will buy eggs. Before I would notice which egg carton labels say “natural” “cage free” or “organic” and then pick the cheapest one. Now I realize what hog wash a label like “cage free” can be with chickens. The key to these chickens is free range. Cage free isn’t good enough for me anymore. Fortunately I’m in a place to put my money where my heart is.
I wish you could see for yourself what free range means vs the industry definition of cage free. With these free range chickens, their fenced in pasture is rotated around the farm land, moving when the chickens eat their patch practically free of anything green. They have a chicken coop in their pasture in which they sleep at night. They also have a sheltered area next to their coop under which their supplemental feed and water is housed.
Ushering the hens to bed at night, has cemented in for me the real image/construct of an egg laying chicken vs this abstract notion that use to pop into my head while contemplating cheap grocery store eggs. To be a healthy egg producing chicken, they need to be supported in a healthy environment to ensure well being. Happy chickens give good eggs. Chickens should live in seasons, in weather, with bugs, sun, and weeds, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
More Links on Zenger Farm
- Zenger Farm: the official site of Zenger Farm, describes their focus and vision towards food education.
- Letter from Hen Waller: the chicken care ring leaders who peaked our interest in fresh chicken eggs. Patrick and Holly are great homesteading role models.
- Macerating Shallots: Portland blogger Tommy was fortunate to be in on the chicken care right from the beginning. Check out what’s involved in raising a chicken coop.