Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why do our eggs taste so good? It's all in the feed.

Our family recently made a trip to the National Agriculture Hall of Fame. The highlight of the visit for me was the National Poultry Museum  located on the Hall of Fame grounds.

The National Poultry Museum was opened in 2009

I don't think the museum is worth going out of your way to visit, but if you are a poultry-fancier and happen to be in Bonner Springs, KS, it has some cool things to look at.

A Jamesway Mammoth Incubator from the 1920s

A collection of chicken catchers. At our house, we call these children.  :)
My 6 year old is the champion chicken catcher of the bunch.

One of the rooms is filled with paintings of many different poultry breeds. I was able to show the family some of the new birds we will have next year.

"See honey, they will look like this!"
We are adding pure-bred Ameraucanas to our flock next year for their blue eggs.

I wasn't surprised but I was definitely disappointed at the pro-Big Ag position the exhibits took. One display discussed the prevalence of battery cages in the US without mentioning the ethical concerns associated with the practice.

And then there was this little gem that made me roll my eyes:

Is the modern poultry industry progressive or regressive?  

Without a doubt, poultry feeds today are much more scientific. They have been formulated to give the exact amount of protein, fat, vitamins, and carbohydrates that a chicken needs to grow at a maximum rate. But does fast growth and pushing your hens to lay the maximum number of eggs mean you'll also get great taste?

We don't think so. If you want happy, healthy poultry and delicious eggs, your birds need green feeds. A customer once told me that she was surprised at how dark the yolks and how delicious our eggs are compared to what she had been buying at the grocery store.

An egg from one of our Ancona ducks. Look at that yolk! 

Our chickens do have access to a top-of-the-line natural chicken feed. They have NEVER been fed antibiotics and are given an Omega 3 supplement to enhance the nutritional value of their eggs. But that's not why they taste so good. The real difference between our eggs and those from the store is because our birds are happy chickens and ducks that eat grass and bugs, scratch in the dirt, loll in the sun, and have plenty of homegrown, organic green feed.

This bucket of rainbow chard will make for some very happy chickens, turkeys, and ducks

In addition to our poultry, our homestead also has an organic vegetable garden, orchard, and berries. Our birds benefit from the culled produce from our garden as well as from the crops we planted just for them.

Black oil sunflower seeds are a wonderful poultry treat.

Fresh food does matter! The better the chickens eat, the better the eggs taste. Period.

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