I, for one, am saddened to see time pass with all the modern changes. We are helpless to control some of the changes in life - the inventions, like the telephone - they have gone from a mere DREAM to a telegraph, to a 'party line', to digital and cell phones with images. For a fee, we can dial up, text, and send computerized email messages, we can listen to music, snap photos, and google a travel location - all from our telephone! A truly amazing gadget - who would have thought!
Don't get me wrong - I love the modern way of life with ease of doing things. It leaves more time for the really important things - family and friends, community service and worship service! What is rapidly disappearing in many a daily life is The Basics - the "good things" that used to be part of everyone's way of life. I would like to go back to 'Basics' in my way of living, so I've been exploring some of the ways to do this, and practicing it in small and simple ways. I want to keep some personal control in these times of 'government control', and today I will write about a basic that most of us are familiar with - the EGG.
I raised some chicks this year, and they are growing up to be beauties! Mr. Wonderful built them a cottage, they have their names on the door. They even have a Motivational Sign posted above the nest boxes!But, what do you know about all the various kinds of eggs in the store - REALLY??? The labels tout all sorts of brief info to make you 'feel good' about selecting their brands. Here's some tips...
Cage Free, Free Range or Free Roaming - This means the hens have been allowed access to the outside. Usually the laying hens are raised in large flocks in big open chicken warehouses rather than in stacked cages. They can walk around and flap their wings and stretch. It is probably very limited, and can be on dirt or concrete flooring rather than pasture. Cage Free, in USDA standards, does not mean outdoor access.
Certified Organic - This means the egg production methods comply with the USDA's National Organic Program which includes organic, vegetarian feed, no use of antibiotics, and no cages. Debeaking and forced molting by starvation are allowed. Organic standards require maintaining living conditions which accomodate health and natural behavior of the chickens. On large organic chicken farms, it may mean nothing more than a small door opening onto a concrete yard.
Certified Humane - Humane Farm Animal Care operates a certification program specifying that laying hens are uncaged, with access to perches, nest boxes, and dust-bathing areas. There are stocking maximums, but outdoor access is not required. Beak trimming (but not debeaking) is allowed; starvation to induce molting is prohibited.
Omega 3 - ALL eggs contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acides, thought to be beneficial to human health. Omega-3 levels in eggs can be raised by supplementing the birds' diet with fish oil, flax seed, or alfalfa meal (or by simply allowing the birds to forage on lawn or pasture).
As for me, my "feel good" comes from purchasing eggs through a local farmer who allows his hens to roam in an outside enclosure. They are 'pastured' hens. They can pick and choose their delicacies as they please, supplemented by scratch feed and vegetable trimmings. They have sand baths. They have been allowed to keep their BEAKS! I plan to do this until my hens begin laying this fall, and I will have first hand knowledge as to what they are eating, what is fed. Mr. Wonderful bought a book called "Avoid the Vet", which is about raising chickens on a small scale. Very good reading, and a great way to learn natural chicken care.
Please visit again for more "Back to Basics"!