healthy eggs from healthy chickens

DSC01150I go out of my way to buy healthy eggs from healthy chickens from sane farmers, which means I avoid buying eggs, even organic ones, from the supermarket if I can help it at all (organic eggs don't necessarily come from better treated chickens, they only eat a different diet). That has not been so easy lately as chickens naturally reduce their egg production during the cold dark months and our family's need for eggs goes up with all the holiday baking between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Commercial chicken labeling, such as cage free, free range and even pasture raised, is pretty meaningless once you delve deeper (follow the link for more info). These terms mean next to nothing and it's all about laying more and more eggs at the expense of the chickens' health and wellbeing (the horrors the horrors, so sad - follow this link for more info on that).

Pretty much the only way to assure that the chickens whose eggs you eat are tended to respectfully, and that their egg production is not exploitative but cooperative, is to get them locally. We have several farmers in the area who sell eggs, and I also buy them from chicken keeping friends when they have a surplus (but that is not in the winter time). So I know how those chickens live, how they are treated and what they eat.

This past week we were out of eggs and I couldn't get myself to buying them from the supermarket, although that would have been more convenient. Instead, I called the local farmer I usually go to, preordered 4 dozen eggs (they keep), and waited a few days until he had gathered enough, then finally drove to the farm to pick them up (and return the old egg cartons so they can be reused). Sometimes it's a bit of a pain in the neck to live by what you believe in.