“What’s all that clucking!” squealed my three-year-old daughter as we collected the daily eggs from our chicken coop. It’s part of our morning routine, which also includes using those same eggs in both my two and four-legged family members’ breakfasts.
Our flock of chickens has quite the life. They roam free on seven acres, sun themselves, take dust baths, and forage at their leisure. If the chickens ever feel threatened, they can scuttle into their spacious coop at any time. All I ask of the chickens in return is that they provide nutritious eggs for my entire family. And the chickens happily oblige. The clucking that my three–year–old asked me about is their proud vocal signal that their chore is complete – they have laid their daily eggs.
If you are one of the lucky ones who are able to have backyard chickens, you already know they are an addiction, and in no time, your flock has doubled! However, owning chickens isn’t for everyone. Just imagine the poop in the coop that you (or in my case, my husband) must scoop.
What’s the next best thing, then? If you live in a country setting, you could check around to see if there are any chicken hobbyists in your area. These hobbyists are usually eager to make a few bucks to make up for their chicken feed and health costs.
Unfortunately, for avian species, chickens included, basic standards for their housing and care are not overseen by USDA veterinary inspectors, and they arenot included in animal welfare laws. We have all heard of the “cage-free” movement that, unfortunately, certain (and most) big name companies have taken advantage of. Yes, now instead of being in wire cages, these “cage-free” chickens are crammed so tightly in buildings that they often trample each other to death. If this is news to you, please Google images for “cage-free chickens.” Factory farming corporations are charging consumers more for “cage-free” eggs without providing better living conditions for its hens.
Many caught on to the deception of the “cage-free” label and demanded change. Hence, the “free-range” movement was born. Surprise, surprise, certain (and most) big name companies were once again able to profit by charging more for its eggs without increasing its hens’ quality of life. “Free-range” means that hens are given continuous access to the outdoors, however that is typically a tiny screened–in slab of concrete. “Free-range” does not, in fact, guarantee that a hen will ever see the fresh outdoors. These hens are still crammed in so tightly together that even if there is a small opening to the outdoors, the odds are that the hens will never see the light of day. There are companies, for example ‘Pete and Gerry’s, that have “free-range” on their label, and they are great, compassionate companies. Just make sure to research with a quick google search.
I’m not sure which upsets me more, the fact that these companies take advantage of us by appealing to our humanity in order to charge us more for their eggs, or by the fact that they are consciously denying hens a dignified life simply to increase profits.
At last, moral companies that have their hens’ best interests in mind, heard our cries. And the answer to our cries is, “pasture-raised.” There are several small, family-owned companies that truly care about their hens and provide them with open pastures, and the hens are able to partake in all the activities that my hens enjoy daily.
When my hens are taking their vacation from egg laying, there are only a few companies that I turn to, including:
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” That holds true for hens as well. The happy, healthy, pasture-raised hens give back to us by producing superiorly nutritious eggs. A few of the benefits of eating pasture-raised eggs include the fact that they are richer in vitamins A, D and E, as well as omega-3s. What does this mean for your family?
Pasture-raised eggs’ unique color, flavor and texture are contributed by high levels of Vitamin A, D, E, K2, B-12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, beta carotene, choline, and tons of omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA, EPA, ALA, and essential amino acids. A pasture-raised egg is a true superfood, that is nutritionally dense.
And when it comes to our four-legged family members, studies have found that seventy-five percent of our canine companions are deficient in vitamin D. Admittedly, these statistics held true for my own dogs. Before I changed my dogs’ diets from a veterinarian–recommended prescription diet to a fresh, homemade diet, blood work showed that they lacked adequate levels of vitamin D.
Whether you feed a raw diet, a lightly cooked diet, a fresh diet or even a traditional kibble diet, adding pasture-raised eggs will benefit your dogs’ health immensely.
I would love to know who already adds eggs to their pups’ meal? And, if you don’t already, are you going to try the superfood?