Friday, November 25, 2005

The Chicken or the Egg

I think I’m the only one in my town of about 25,000 people who keeps chickens. I’m often asked if they lay eggs. Yes, my laying hens do lay eggs. I usually talk to people about my laying hens first. Around here, talking about the broiler (eating) chickens that I raised with my farmer friend Judy usually gets me strange looks. I’ve also learned the hard way not to discuss animals raised for food at the lunch table at work. This is kind of funny, and sad. We have become removed enough from our food sources that just mentioning that you raise your own chickens for eating or that a friend is raising a lamb for your freezer is not suitable lunch table discussion!

What seems to be safe to discuss is the eggs. In answer to the question, “Do my chickens lay eggs?” The answer is, “yes” but here is the part that shocks some people and is something they would rather not think about.. Eggs come out of hen’s butts! To those who get eggs from a supermarket, this thought can seem off-putting. To those of us who raise chickens, that’s just fine. Direct from hen is the freshest and most convenient source.
My chickens are allowed to range in my backyard. In addition to some chicken feed they eat bugs, grass, weeds, wild berries, fallen crab apples, vegetable peel, my dinner leftovers and whatever they find. In return they lay eggs that are better than store bought. The eggs are fresher, tastier, have more omega3s and have nicer looking yokes. I never need to go to the supermarket to get them. They just keep appearing day after day. What a marvelous thing!


  1. A friend once told me of a friend of hers who refused to eat a free-range chicken after observing it for a while because she could "see what it eats!" I suppose she only wants chickens raised in a horribly tiny cage, fed only grain, and dispatched quickly. Sadly, I think this is the norm of our civilization. As you say, people are far too insulated from the source of their food.

  2. Pablo,
    I hope your friend's friend does not eat lobster. She'll be in for a very rude awakening if she looks into or smells the bait bucket on a lobster boat. For something that looks like a big bug, it sure does taste good.

  3. I'd have to agree with you on this, chickens aside (as friends think fresh eggs are great too!) when I mention going to a neighbors farm who raises cattle and getting ‘half a cow’ for the winter the mental gears in most people freeze up and the comments can be quite interesting, “yuck” would be a nice & simple summary. Guess modern thought doesn’t tend to think along the lines of ‘where food comes from’…..