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Friday, August 27, 2010

A Good Egg

Has the egg recall affected you?

By now, most of you might have heard about the massive egg recall in the US.

The average person doesn't realize just how big the mega producers are. You might see an assortment of labels in the stores, but most belong to one or two giant conglomerates; chicken factories so vast, it defies description.

This holds true for hog and beef facilities. And let's not forget the huge recall Canada had last year for dog food. Dozens of labels were affected, yet it all came from the same producer.

This isn't a political observation. These facilities are what they are. In order to feed large populations at a reasonable price, this is what was developed. In a perfect world, that would be fine. But the world hasn't been perfect since Adam and Eve.

Introduce one sick cow or one tainted egg and you could cripple an industry in a heartbeat. We all remember mad cow disease, right?

This is part of the reason
Greg and I are so keen on homesteading, trying to grow as much of our own as possible. Healthier yes, but it's also fun. I enjoy visiting the chickens, gathering eggs, and watching their antics. I had one the other day hop up on my lap while I was treating them to some hen scratch.

In all the years we've raised animals we've never gotten sick from our food. Though I will admit, our food has injured me on occasion.

I've been kicked by rheas, spurred by mean roosters, dragged through the mud by a runaway pig, and once ran for my life from a mother pig.

Note: Never try to take a piglet away while mama is watching. Mamas will tear you up one side and down the other.

Did I mention that Greg was laughing so hard he couldn't even help me escape the pen? Boy, he was in trouble that day. That mama pig nearly killed me.

I take care of my animals and use no pesticide/herbicides on my gardens. I have a vested interest in quality control because I'm eating this food and feeding it to my family.

Hopefully, I'll still have a few good years that I can outrun the next mama pig who wants to take a chomp out of me.

If you're interested in further reading on the salmonella outbreak her
e are a few posts to get you up to speed. Gail Damerow, Homegrown Evolution, and the third with a more political slant by Les Edgerton.

Most of my chickens are now five months old and laying 4-5 eggs everyday. Next week, the Reaper will visit four of the roosters. I was hoping to have more hens than roosters so I wouldn't have to kill them, but it didn't turn out that way.

I do have to select which ones get the pot
, but that's a post in itself. Circle of life.

Photo 1: Look at those orange yolks!

Photo 2: Some of the chickens have taken to flying up to the rafters.

Photo 3: If you look carefully, you'll see a fine water mist dousing the chickens. It's been so hot, Greg installed a mister that cools the temp down by at least twenty degrees. Even I'll stand out there. It feels great!


jackie b central texas said...

Now you have "chicken pictures" for you Facebook photo album...

The recall has not to my knowledge affected our area, my Mom told me about it and since I only have 2 eggs out of the dozen bought a week and a half back from HEB grocery and they have not made me sick guess those eggs were fine..

I remember the days growing up "playing" with our chickens and raising fluffy baby chicks in my room in the house, it was fun...
Mom had one Rhode Island Red Rooster she called Mr. Ciel after his previous owner, he was like a dog and followed her everywhere.. You could pick him up and carry him around and he loved the attention...

The eggs from our free range chickens were good too. As far as eating the chickens though, mostly our neighbors dogs and cats were the ones who did that!

jackie ^_^

Maria Zannini said...


I'm glad I don't have trouble with my dogs. And because they're such big dogs, I don't have trouble with the neighbors' dogs trying to eat my chickens. LOL

This reminds me of when we moved in. Dogs regularly wandered around our property, tipping over trash bins and causing mischief. There was a particularly 'bad' neighbor who let his dog run the roads.

I made myself and TANK very visible when I moved in. Magically, the trash cans stopped being tipped over and the neighbor now keeps his dog in his yard.

Tank made a big impression. :)

Lynn Colt said...

I use mostly liquid egg product, and as far as I know that stuff is safe. Homesteading does sound rewarding (if a ton of work!) but I'm guessing it would involve moving out of my high-rise apartment :)

Maria Zannini said...

Lynn: I heard on the news yesterday that they're pasteurizing eggs to go into liquid and dry form.

Ref: work
LOL! This work I don't mind. It's not nearly as stressful as when I was in the corporate world.

Whenever you get tired of city life, you can visit me. :)

Marian Perera said...

I'm all the way up in the Great White North, but I was toying with the idea of reducing egg consumption anyway. Cholesterol concerns, mainly.

Those are lovely bright orange yolks, though.

Krista D. Ball said...

I buy eggs from the farmer's market. When I can't, I buy free run, no cage, organic eggs from BC. When I buy those, we don't get a lot of eggs lol At $5/dozen, there is no "only eating the white." You're going to eat the whole freaking egg!

My partner and I have often talked about our dream house later in life. We want to be off the grid, have a vegetable garden, keep a couple chickens...and have a library with a secret door. ;)

Sherri said...

Dang Krista...that sounds like heaven.

Maria your mama pig story reminds my of my cousin's steer story, LOL. The thing was more pet than livestock though it was for the butcher. The steer was used to my younger cousin coming out to feed him with a bucket...bucket equaled food. Older cousin came home late one night and decided to cut through the fence, his motorcycle helmet hanging from his hand. Guess an upside down helmet looks like a bucket, LOL That steer chased my cousin almost a quarter mile before my cousin managed to jump another fence.

Ref: the homesteading

I'm sitting here at my parents looking out over the area they used to have a garden in. Oh what I could do with that space and the cooler temps here!! And no HOA so chickens...heck yeah.

Vegetarian Cannibal said...

This is why I get my eggs fresh from the farm. My boyfriend has a friend who raises his own chickens and for $5 each week we can buy 2 dozen of fresh, farm eggs. Not only is the taste superior to factory farmed eggs, it is better for you and the hens are not mistreated in the process.

Chickens are the most abused animals on the planet. They cut off their beaks and force them in cages a dozen at a time so they can't move or turn around. It is really sad. Even the "Caged Free" eggs you see on the market aren't regulated by the government, so "Cage Free" can mean anything. However, if you ARE going to buy eggs at the grocery store try free-range. But then, since nothing is regulated, it's not guaranteed. The best way is to get them fresh from a farm you KNOW is safe. But most Americans can't do there's the rub.

As a vegetarian I could tell you the horror stories that go on within the food industry. If you knew half the stuff that goes on in there, it's no wonder people end up with mad cow, samonella, e. coli, and other nasty diseases. Nothing is regulated so more often than not, they use the quickest (unsafe) methods for human and animal.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I hear you on the cholesterol, though I'd read that free range hens produce lower cholesterol eggs. I don't know if that's true, but they too taste better.

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: You got me wondering what's behind the secret door.

I hope you get your dream. This was ours. It took nearly 34 years to get here, and we plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: LOL I would not want to mess with a steer!

The pig was bad enough.

Though once Greg and I had to go in and save our little mutt from a giant horse wanting to trample her.

Maria Zannini said...

VG: That's a great price for organic eggs. Good for you!

I was a vegetarian for a few years, not for any moral reasons, but simply because I'm a big fan of veggies.

But yeah, what you said. It's because of the way these poor animals are kept that I prefer to raise my own. At least I know they're raised humanely.

Heck, my chickens have air conditioning! :)

Dru said...

I've never had fresh from the chicken eggs.

In the second picture...what is that tied to the chicken's leg?

Marguerite Butler said...

That steer story cracked me up. I could totally picture the hungry steer chasing the guy with the helmet. My dad has a pet Longhorn steer that follows him around like a dog.

I'm heartened by all the folks who buy local eggs. I sell my eggs on the side and folks love knowing that their eggs come from happy, healthy chickens.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Ha! You made me look.

The little chain is one of two that's attached to the rafters so we can hang a heater in the winter. It's not attached to the chicken. I don't think he'd like that.

Maria Zannini said...

Marguerite: I'm impressed too with how many people buy organic. For once, a good trend.

And look at you, selling eggs. :o) How many hens do you have, Marguerite?

Kim said...

Much as I like the idea of raising my own animals, I'm far too much of a softie/weenie/baby to kill anything. I'd end up with a bazillion chickens.

I do buy organic whenever possible, so that's a good thing, though. :D

Maria Zannini said...

Kim: You truly did make me laugh out loud! Trust me, you won't feel quite so soft when they overrun you.

Linda Leszczuk said...

No, I'm with Kim. Someone once asked my husband why he didn't bring live lobsters home from a trip to Boston (they sell them right in the airport!). He said, "Are you kidding? Before I could get the water boiled to cook them, Lin would have their names painted on a little water bowl and they'd be members of the family.

He's probably right.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Oh ye of little faith. LOL!

Come stay with me for a couple of weeks and we'll see if you still want to dress up the animals.

--seriously though. I do understand. I'm kinda that way with rabbits, which is silly because left to their own devices they will breed like, well, rabbits.

Marguerite Butler said...

At the moment I have about 20 hens and one rooster. I'm only counting the layers there. I've got 42 chicks running around.

I can't say that I make money with my chickens, but I sell enough egss and hatched chicks to make them pay for themselves. :)

Marianne Arkins said...

Don't get me started on factory farms. They are one of the main reasons I'm nearly a vegetarian -- I eat the venison my DH hunts, the fish he catches and organic meat when I can swing it. But I refuse to buy from factory farms for so many reasons I can't count them.

I wish my DH was more interested in owning a little livestock. I'd like some chickens and one goat (for milk). He's not going for it.

Maria Zannini said...

Marguerite: For now I'll be happy if my hens can pay for their feed. You have twice the hens I do.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: I say you hide the critters. LOL. When he asks where the cackling is coming from, just smile and say, what cackling?


I know you have a lot of experience doing this. It's a shame DD won't have the same education. It's priceless.

DEZMOND said...

I'm a vegetarian, so I can live without eggs although I use them, maybe one per week in some recipes where you just need one egg, but you would generally be surprised with the number of wonderful dishes and cakes you can make without eggs and no one would believe you that you didn't use any egg in making them :))

Maria Zannini said...

Dezmond: I've heard of eggless recipes--very popular during the Depression.

Thanks for popping in!