by Susie Wyshak
CUESA is taking a stand to define humanely raised chickens beyond the catch phrases free-range and cage-free–which does not necessarily translate to chickens tap dancing in fields of green, ala Foghorn Leghorn.
They point out that “The USDA does not regulate “cage-free” and “free-range” egg production. These hens are typically kept in large barns or warehouses, often thousands of hens per building. Outdoor access, if there is any, is generally limited to a small, enclosed yard at one end of the building that goes mostly unused by the hens and offers little or no vegetation.”
Take Back the Eggs !
CUESA is only allowing pasture-raised eggs at the market starting in February 2012.
If you want to go farther and know where your eggs came from–I mean actually see them coming to fruition–becoming a chicken farmer may be easier than you think. My friend posted this photo on his Facebook page just a year after he and his family took an Egg-ucation class at Mill Valley Chickens. They set up a coop and watched the pullets from from yellow fluff to four different varieties.
Each chicken has a name and personality. It’s been a great experience and now the chickens are more than earning their keep in health, good food, and family fun.
At say $5 per dozen of pasture-raised eggs, that’s $5 “earned” every 3 days. About $600 / year for the freshest eggs you can get minus small chicken feed costs. Not bad! Not to mention the potential for bartering your egg-cess with neighbors.
If chicken farming is not in your future, consider stopping by CUESA’s egg farming discussion on February 16 to learn the ugly truths and what to look for when buying eggs.