Why pet chickens are important May 24, 2013

I had lunch out yesterday: a nice salad. But I forgot to tell them to hold the egg. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs! How can one keep pet chickens and not like eggs? But like many of you reading this blog, I find there’s such a stark difference between the real, delicious farm eggs laid by my pastured hens and the stale, tasteless commercial eggs at the grocery store, that I can no longer stomach commercial eggs. The salad was terrific… but only after I had carefully divested it of the pale, rubbery slices with distinct green rings around the yolks. Yuck. I could hear Chef Gordon Ramsey‘s voice in my head exclaiming: “This is bleeping shocking!”

colorful backyard eggs produced by pet chickens

I expect the chef would find these more appetizing

Of course, it’s easy to taste and see the difference when it comes to hard boiled eggs on a salad. Unless you drench them in dressing (and I suppose that might be a strategy, if you ever just wanted to be able to choke them down), there’s nothing much to disguise the poor taste and quality of commercial eggs, or their age. Or their–ugh!–unappetizing appearance.

But when I do forget to ask the kitchen to hold the eggs, when I do look at those pale, rubbery slices or crumbles, I try to use it as a reminder of why I do what I do, and why I regard working at My Pet Chicken as so important. We’re often touted as an “oddball” business in the media, a sort of funny footnote–and that’s cool. But when I see pale, stale eggs on my plate, and when I think about how inhumanely they’ve been produced, it makes me especially grateful for my own flock of pet chickens. They not only produce delicious eggs, but also provide affection and endless entertainment. And I think about how many other people are making that same discovery, as keeping pet chickens becomes more widespread. I feel as if increasing the exposure of people to pet chickens is really doing good in the world because it reduces the reliance on eggs from battery farms.

Silly? Maybe.

Hildy the blind hen being affectionate

Pet chickens are charming

But I can’t tell you how happy it made me the day we actually got hate mail from a battery farm. Doesn’t it mean you’re doing something right when you’re encouraging small farmers and microfarms—when you advocate for healthy, humane local food—and some large, corporate farm out there feels threatened enough to hate you for it? Hooray for small farm businesses, for the backyard chicken movement, and for My Pet Chicken.

29 Comments
Terri Collins May 24th, 2013

Green halos around the yolk happen when boiled eggs are over cooked. That being said I also prefer my fresh eggs.

Lissa May 24th, 2013

Yes, that’s true! That’s why I linked above to the information on the My Pet Chicken website about how to avoid the green yolks that come with overcooking. Here is that link again. (Incidentally, that’s why I hate that gimmicky oven-baking method. If you’re baking them at 350, it’s WAY hotter than your eggs need to get!)

Knitting with Olof May 24th, 2013

After finding out the conditions commercial chickens are kept in I stopped buying chicken and eggs from the grocery store or fast food places. I just can’t get myself to pay to support those practices. I started my backyard flock and am now waiting for my first ladies to start blessing us with their beautiful eggs.

Jenn May 24th, 2013

I rarely go out for breakfast anymore because I feel like we’re “cheating” on our girls. Why would I spend good money – too much money – on inferior eggs?! The rest of the menu is usually things like pancakes or French toast (oh so easy to make). Meh.

As for the eggs on your salad, those sound over-cooked in addition to being commercially raised. Double ick.

DOROTHY MALM May 24th, 2013

I agree. I’ve been keeping chickens since 1972 and when I get the occasional “store” egg while in a restaurant, I actually feel queasy after eating it.

Sometimes I think I should bring a doz eggs and have them use a few for me.

This is not so odd – some of the people who buy my eggs have said they can’t eat store eggs anymore either. It makes them feel ill.

Lissa May 24th, 2013

Dorothy, we feel the same way!

Ted May 24th, 2013

So proud to have pet chickens of my own!! Great blog! 100% agree!!!

George Castonguay May 24th, 2013

We got some chickens last year mainly because my daughter-in-law wanted some and bought the coop to keep them in. I had chickens a couple of times in the past but had forgotten how good fresh eggs are and now, after eating nothing but my feathery ones’ eggs since last September when they started to lay I will NEVER buy eggs in a store again. I hate the idea of battery cages and will try my darnedest to get that system outlawed.

GS May 24th, 2013

I over-boil my eggs (on purpose) and then let them sit in the water for hours. I NEVER get a green ring, but instead a bright yellow cooked soft yolk.

Why? Perhaps because I am using certified Non-GMO eggs from WF. Ever since I switched, no more green 🙂

And these eggs are SO SOFT and have a wonderful texture when eating, as well as insane EASE of peeling 🙂

I don’t have chickens, or much room for chickens, although I am considering them. If I did, I would definitely feed them non-GMO corn if I had to. (aside from the bugs they will get to eat)

Lissa May 24th, 2013

GS, I’m all for non-GMO… however, the science of the green ring is that it’s caused by ferrous sulfide from overcooking. You can read more at the link in the post. Here’s that link again: http://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-help/Im-loving-the-delicious-eggs-my-hens-are-giving-H211.aspx

Kim May 24th, 2013

Here!! Here!! My chickens’ eggs taste 100,000,000X better than store bought ones!!!!

Stevee Salazar May 24th, 2013

Has anyone, besides myself, noticed that store bought “organic, cage free” eggs have no comparison to home-grown pasture raised eggs? The eggs from my flock are really from happy hens! They are Pasture raised all day (cooped at night for their own protection) and have plenty of natural stuff to eat. This being said, I am still in awe every time I crack open an egg and see a dark orange yolk… absolutely beautiful. They put any commercial organic, cage free, or free range egg to shame… and usually cost more per dozen than I charge for a dozen of my girls’ fresh eggs! Silly isnt it?!

Lauren May 24th, 2013

Any chance we could see that hate mail from the corporate farm? I would love to have a chuckle.

Lissa May 24th, 2013

Lauren, some of it is vulgar and can’t be printed, but most seems to be an attack on vegans (which is pretty weird, since we egg eaters here are obviously not vegans, and I’m fairly sure we don’t have any vegetarians in our bunch, either). Aside from claiming we vilify factory farmers, he also attacked vegan and/or vegetarian pet owners who feed their pet cats or dogs pet food made with meat, and went off on a ranty tangent on that subject. The basic thrust is that he seemed to be equating a call for the humane treatment of chickens with a demand that everyone become vegan. It was very strange, and so disjointed I at first thought it was a joke… but I looked him up, and it turn out he’s a relatively small-time factory farmer (60,000 plus chickens) who produces organic eggs.

Natalie May 24th, 2013

Oh I do so love my chickens and their delicious eggs! And I must admit, I particularly love my MyPetChicken chickens. They are so much more personal than any of my other chickens.

Renee May 24th, 2013

We have 9 hens and a rooster, some are first generation from My Pet Chicken, and some are second generation and we just added eight more chicks from My Pet Chicken. We free range ours…they stay close to our house, on about 5 acres of cleared land surrounded by many acres of forested land. They are happy creatures, and fun to watch, each with a unique personality, and their eggs are a blessing to our family and others. Much better than store bought factory farm eggs and I know they have been treated right, not like those poor abused hens in the factory farms. Thank you for providing the hens (and rooster) to start our flock!

Marion May 24th, 2013

I am one chicken person who hates eggs! I loved them when I was a kid but something changed. Having my tonsils out? Puberty ? Who knows. However, I do have six darling hens and their lovely coop , all of which I ordered from My Pet Chicken. My husband likes eggs and what he can’t eat we give to family, friends, coworkers and our wonderful mailman. I have tried all egg preparations. The only way I eat them is in cakes, and quiches that are loaded with veggies so they aren’t too eggy.

Gust Front Farm May 25th, 2013

I am an obsessed chicken and duck person who has recently become allergic to eggs. Can you imagine how hard that is? I’ve eaten eggs with no issues for 34 years, and all of a sudden eggs make me ill. I’ve found that I can eat a bit of chicken eggs when it is baked into something and is not the main ingredient in the recipe. Duck eggs make me violently ill. It is pretty depressing to collect all those beautiful eggs and not get to eat them. 🙁

Lissa May 25th, 2013

Oh, I bet, Gust Front! I wonder if the change is maybe something new in your chicken feed that’s being transmitted through the egg? Renee, my own farm set up sounds similar to yours. I love my My Pet Chicken chickens, too. 🙂

Emma May 25th, 2013

Beautiful post! I love the posts like this one and the “Eating Seasonally” one. They’re thought provoking and make me smile and hug my chickens just a little tighter. Please, keep them coming!

Dave Gibson May 26th, 2013

We just moved off our boat in Georgia to our land in the Adirondacks in upstate NY to build our little farmstead. One of the first additions will be chickens, probably next year. I’m enjoying reading these comments. I had no idea that pasture chicken eggs were any different from store bought. I thought eggs were eggs. Thanks for the education, and this blog.

Susie M June 1st, 2013

Well, I’m certainly no vegan, I’ll never be able to eat another store bought egg – I like them when they are still warm from the coop to my little fry pan an in ma tummy!! 🙂

I must admit, I’ve rather gone off chicken. If it’s really well hidden, like in a General Tsau’s hot and spicy chicken, I might be ok, but to prepare a couple of breasts, or a bunch of thighs, or heaven forbid – a a a roast…….. I’ve just lost all will to do it.

Now I’m not just any old ordinary cook – I went through culinary school, I cooked for a living – I was head cook at one of those ginormouse houses in England….. I shouldn’t be squeamish over this…

It all started with that show on TV – “Chopped” the chefs had to deal with ‘blue foot chicken….. both of my foster kids looked horrified at the TV, eyes wide open, and you could’ve cought flies in their mouths (I was exactly the same) Yup, there’s only one type of chicken with blue feet, and at that time, we still had 6 of them – Silkies….There is nothing cuter for kids, than a silkie. Elvis had a perfect puffball on her head (we were convinced she was a boy until an egg popped out) Mr. gobblekins had extra long waddles, we were really sure he was a roo, until an egg popped out….they all did the chest bumping thing… we loved our silkies so much…

…And here they were on a cooking show! the commentator going on about how dry blue foot chicken can be if you’re not careful. YIKES!!!

We turned off the TV and went outside to play with our chooks, we had raised them since they were little nuggets after all.

The kids have moved on, I’m down to 5 chooks total, only 2 silkies, they do make me smile, even when I shove “Broody” off the nest to go eat something… Eventually I want ducks and goats also, love duck eggs and goat’s cheese. yum!

Maria June 12th, 2013

Oh my goodness, I can’t abide the pale yellow-yolked eggs I see occasionally at potlucks or the rare breakfast out in a mediocre restaurant. We are lucky that our favorite local Sunday brunch place uses local free-range eggs. Even still, we make our own eggs from our own chickens at home virtually every day.

Curious — where can I find the egg basket pictured in the first photo there? And your eggs are just beautiful. I am really looking forward to adding some olive eggers and chocolate brown egg layers to our flock.

Lissa June 14th, 2013

I know how you feel, Maria! The egg basket was a gift from my husband. I’m sorry I don’t know where he got it, but we have a pretty cute egg basket for sale here: Vintage style egg basket.

Maria June 14th, 2013

That’s cute too! I think I found it here if anyone else is looking too. 🙂 Just a link, not an affiliate code) http://www.amazon.com/Basket-Liam-Mini-Wire-Copper/dp/B00CJ0IFX8/

CJ July 9th, 2013

I am new to chickens as of this March! I started with several as hubby said some might die. Well after learning what I liked from the TSC batch I got I ended up getting rid of 4 that I was not fond of found them as they grew to be kinda mean. Then I went and got 4 more from a Amish woman I got Buffs. Love them. I also have Jersey Giants 3 females and I had two roosters one was not so friendly the the hens but loved me. So I found a good home for him that needed a rooster. Then I have 2 bantams one is a rooster. Well anyway I did this for eggs. Really just to have some eggs. I have had several animals over the years, goats , pigs, and rabbits then we have our dogs. I must say I had no idea I would love chickens as much as I do. I can not wait to get up in the morning and let them out to free range. they talk to me every morning follow me around while I do chores some peck the back of my leg ever so gently when they think I am not hand feeding them their mealy worms fast enough or their blueberries. AND just Monday I got my fist 2 eggs. And yesterday another one. I was so thrilled my husband thought I was going to cry. So I have ordered more and I love My Pet Chicken. They are the nicest people and knowledgeable. I must also add very patient I place my first order ever with them or any hatchery on line on Sunday July 6th and by Monday morning I was chomping at the bit waiting for them to open so I could ADD yes add to my order. Then on my lunch break I got back on line to just LOOK and I swear I found a breed I had not seen but know I looked hard for on their sit a Polish I had wanted and there it was staring at me so I called and added that one. I was told how the site it often updated all day long as people will cancel their order so those chickens go back up for sale. Well causes a problem for me I can not sit and watch my computer all day lol. So at the end of yesterday work day. After closing down our landscape Nursery I went back on line to just look again and low and behold two more where there that was not. So I called in 20 min before they closed. The guy helping laughed and said this happens often. I was feeling very silly for placing so many add on’s. Now I can not wait to get my chicks on the 23 or 24 th of this month.
I just wanted to say that this site is the best and I so enjoy it. I hope this was a ok place to say that did not really see a place for comments like that.
CJ

Lisa @ Fresh Eggs Daily August 27th, 2013

Here’s to hate mail from battery farms! That does mean you’re doing something right. Good job all at MPC. I haven’t eaten a store bought egg since we got our chickens five years ago and would rather go without than ever eat one.

Stacy August 27th, 2013

Easter time in 2012 we lived in a trailor park, my husband bought me some baby chicks. I loved them!! 4 turned into 6 and 6 into 12. August of 2012, we found a farm house that I fell in love with, and explained that we needed more room for our growing family…He thought I ment us having more babies.(LOL).That Christmas I was forced to buy eggs from the store for our family dinner. I felt so ashamed. I had earned the name “The Crazy Chicken Lady” from living in the trailer park. With that said, how can The Crazy Chicken Lady buy eggs from the store? I got my first incubator as a gift from his parents, and I bought a second one. I hatched my own little bitty’s, had turning schedules and temperature charts. I tend to over do it sometimes. But now we should have enough girlies to keep me from buying eggs. We have been in the process of going as natural as possible in many aspects of our lives. Our kids are a little old to really “get it” yet. Yes I said too old. They are teens, so they know everything right??? But I have tried to teach them as much as possible. My oldest went on an egg boycott after asking about reproduction in the chickens, and mentioned the bullseye test. 6 months later, she eats 2 and they have to be with runny yolks. My youngest prefers the banty eggs, for her they are just cute. But whatever their reason, I am so glad they have excepted The Crazy Chicken Lady’s advise that it’s better for us!!! The only thing I would change is that I didn’t get my girls sooner. Easter egg hunting everyday!!!

JKS September 18th, 2013

Love our pet chickens! So cute, and interesting to watch their interactions with each other in their chicken world. Love to pet their Soft , pretty feathers, even though they don’t particularly like being petted or held, they’ll tolerate it if you train them early. They do want manly rooster lovin’ though, and will squat into a submissive “take me” position if they identify you as their rooster. I am not a chick-o-file though, so they’ll just have to go on being lonely old maids!!

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