Monday, February 15, 2010

Eggs in a tree

You've probably heard the saying,

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

Well, I have a new one for you.

"Don't lay your eggs in a tree."

Bad things can most definitely happen.

I looked out of the schoolroom window this morning and saw a chicken in our oak tree (see above photo). This sight alone sort of shocked me.

But, as I took a closer look, I noticed she was sitting on eggs and was clearly troubled because some had just fallen out of the tree and on to the ground


Poor gal.

And I'd like to draw your attention to those yolks. Yes, those beautifully vibrant orange yolks.

I did not alter the coloring in any way in this photo. They are naturally that orange.

When you raise chickens on pasture, their yolks take on an orangish color. This is how you know if they've in fact been raised on grass.

I use to think that egg yolks were yellow. But, in fact, they are orange- or at least should be.

Who knew?

Here are some facts about the eggs that hens lay that are raised on pasture (from Mother Earth News):
  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 TIMES more Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 TIMES more Vitamin E
  • 7 TIMES more beta carotene
With all of the food labeling that is being done these days, things can get a little confusing.

Did you know that the government owns the term "free-range" now?

They bought this term so that farmers now have to pay big bucks in order to label their eggs using this terminology.

That is why we have to say that our eggs are "pastured".

Not to be confused with "pasteurized".

You'd be AMAZED at how many people call our farm asking to buy,"Some of them there PASTEURIZED eggs." I digress. Geez.

Still trying to figure that one out. Not sure how one could pasteurize and egg if they so desired. I suppose then, that would be a hard boiled egg that would need a good shellin'.

Okay, sorry, back on task here.

But, what is even more troubling is the way that the government has defined what "free-range" even means.

From Mother Earth News in "Meet Real Free-Range Eggs":

""A statement on the American Egg Board’s Web site says “True free-range eggs are those produced by hens raised outdoors or that have daily access to the outdoors.”

Baloney. They’re trying to duck the issue by incorrectly defining “true free-range.” And the USDA isn’t helping consumers learn the truth, either: “Allowed access to the outside” is how the USDA defines “free-range.” This inadequate definition means that producers can, and do, label their eggs as “free-range” even if all they do is leave little doors open on their giant sheds, regardless of whether the birds ever learn to go outside, and regardless of whether there is good pasture or just bare dirt or concrete outside those doors!"

We say this all of the time around the farm, but farmers can't imitate a chicken raised on pasture.

They can try and stick whatever "free-range" label you want on the carton, but the proof is in the yolk.


Anonymous said...

Wow and interesting stuff! At least our Muscovy ducks haven't tried that.

Bette said...

Pasteurized eggs are possible. You can refer your callers to

The Kramer Family said...

who knew bette?? guess the joke is on me, huh? thanks for passing that info along.

i did not know they were pasteurizing eggs now...that is beyond crazy to me. and all the more reason to know where your eggs come from.

Pasture-raised hens naturally have a lower risk of having salmonella since they aren't being raised in confinement and aren't living in filth (aka..chicken poop).

We have a lot of customers who adhere to the raw foods diet and consume our eggs completely raw. We can't recommend that customers eat our eggs raw, but if I were to eat an egg raw, sunnyside up, or over easy I'd most definitely choose a pastured egg any day.

Michelle J said...

Yes! Great info!

We share our eggs with our family, friends and neighbors and they ALWAYS comment both on how good they taste and how brilliant the yolks are. Homegrown food always tastes better!

It just underscores the point that if you want to know what's really in your food, you need to know who grew your food. ;)

Gail said...

Wow. This post was very revealing to me. I always try and buy organic or "free range" eggs at the store since I don't have means to have my own chickens, but now I'll look closer. I have noticed my egg yolks are really bright, so I guess whatever I'm getting is probably the real deal.

Man I hate the government! Not really...but they sure are frustrating with their side-skirting ways. Argh.

Thanks for the post. Great info!


Cottage Dreamers said...

Silly chicken! They don't always think things through, do they? That's hilarious!

Grace @ Ruby Moon Designs said...

Haha, never seen a chicken lay eggs in a tree...other birds, yes, but chickens?!! Too funny!

Blessings, Grace

Jana said...

My kids love it when their eggs are bright colored! They really do taste yummy!

Amy said...

We have been eating your meat and eggs every single meal since Friday night. F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C. Every single bit of it. You are right that the stocks are thicker and headier. It was the chicken that really got me--the meat is, well, meatier. Is that possible?!! This was the best meat purchase I've ever made. I'm so sorry it took me so long to find you. This week's order is about to go in!

Carrie said...

Thanks for the goof information. Keep it coming!

Debby said...

Thanks for the truth about labeling eggs and to know a pastured egg when we see one. Kinda like us, "You will know them by their fruit."

God bless!

Corinne @ the Salty Shark said...

Prepping for our first flock and learning so much! Totally thought yolks were yellow until our friends gave us a yummy dozen of orange-yolks from their girls. Blown away! Can't wait to order our chickies!