March 17, 2012

Raising Your Own Chickens

Isn't this egg dish awesome?  It was a gift and I just love it!
Pin It  About two years ago my husband built a chicken coop and we got six chicks.  Since we live in a small town in Vermont and we have a few acres of land we figured we'd take advantage of the space and privacy to raise our own chickens.  We've done a lot of research on the topic and I have discovered some interesting facts about raising chickens and about the eggs they produce.

  1. If you let your chickens have free range on your property (which we do) they are excellent at keeping all the little pests and bugs away.  A natural source of pest control is always a good thing.
  2. Chicken droppings will enrich your compost and is good for the lawn :)  We also put the droppings in our garden soil, which is a wonderful natural way to enrich the soil.
  3. Raising your own chickens is ultimately cheaper than buying organic free range eggs.
  4. Eggs that you buy in the grocery store are weeks old by the time they reach the shelves. By the time you buy them and eat them they are anywhere from 4-6 weeks old, maybe even older. The older the egg gets the more it looses it's flavor.  Therefore, fresh eggs actually taste better. The whites are firmer and the yolks are a much brighter/darker orange.
  5. Fresh eggs from chickens you raise yourself are healthier.  They have 25% more vitamin E, 1/3 more vitamin A, 75% more beta carotene and more omega 3 fatty acids than eggs you buy at the grocery store.  This is because they are allowed to roam free.  The exercise and the freedom to peck around for bugs and pests makes for healthier eggs for you to enjoy!
Here's a little trivia - did you know that you don't need to refrigerate a freshly laid egg?  You don't need to refrigerate eggs at all unless they have been washed.  This is because a freshly laid egg has what you call a bloom/coating that protects it from bacteria.  I've never been to Europe, but from what I hear it is not uncommon for people to keep eggs out on the counter instead of refrigerating them.  Once the egg is washed, it will then have to be refrigerated because you have washed away that protective coating. 

Out of the six chicks we got two years ago, only three turned out to be the laying kind.  The other three ended up being meat birds, and two of those were roosters!  All three of the meat birds died in the first six months.  The three laying birds actually turned out to be a good amount of eggs for us.  We got anywhere from 12-18 eggs a week (one of them does not lay consistently everyday for some reason).  Now that they are two years old the egg production will slow down and then eventually stop.  So, today we went and got six more chicks!  Here's a picture of our oldest granddaughter holding one of them:



They're so cute, and the whole experience has been fun for all of us ♥

3 comments:

  1. I think a lot of people don't realize how old the eggs in their grocers case are. They look at the expiration date on the carton and think they are getting fresh eggs. I think if more people realized how old these eggs are they would consider raising chickens for themselves.

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  2. This has been so helpful! I'm raising chickens as my SAE project for FFA. Thanks!

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    1. Oh how fun! Good luck - I'm sure you will enjoy it ☺

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