A Day in the Life

Not a lot has been happening around here yet, so I’m going to take a post to show our daily routine of collecting, cleaning, and storing eggs.

Here we have our egg collector, my oldest daughter. We joke around with her and call her the animal whisperer, because she seriously is! The kid can get an escapee chicken to go back into the coup just by talking to it and opening the door. She loves animals and unnamed-7animals seem to love her. While all of our kids chip in with chores around the house, we do let them pick which ones they prefer. This one always picks the chores related to the animals and will go out in freezing weather without complaining. My husband jokes that our animals are still alive because of her, which is kind of true. My track record isn’t great!

She collects the eggs around noon. Our chickens lay eggs anywhere from 8am-3pm, but most have laid by noon. After she brings in the eggs, usually 75-85 of them, it’s my job to sort and clean. This is where it gets interesting, and we have learned quite a bit.

To wash or not to wash farm fresh eggs.

Eggs have what they call a “bloom”. This is a micro membrane coating on them to keep bacteria out and their environment clean. Here’s a short clip from youtube showing the bloom developing: https://youtu.be/YLSKEGfYdm4

Eggs are also porous, so when we wash eggs in water, we wash off that protective coating and allow potential bacteria to soak in.

So what should we do?

We try to limit the amount of rinsing that we have to do. Sometimes, certain chickens are just dirty…..ya know like that one kid that always comes in muddy even on a dry-sunny day. You know who I’m talking about…….. here’s mine:



Don’t let her cuteness fool you. She’s pretty gross.



So I take the eggs and sort them. I brush off the clean eggs, use a Norwex cloth to buff out any spots, and then rinse the dirty ones. Yes, a few of our eggs are rinsed.

In this picture, from today, the ones on the black towel need to be buffed in spots and the dirty ones in the red bowl need to be rinsed. The rest are naturally clean.


Then we package them up in recycled cartons and store them in our spare refrigerator. Farm fresh eggs do not have to be refrigerated, but they will stay fresh longer if you do. Eggs can stay stored at room temperature for a month or in the refrigerator for up to six months. Since our operation is small, our eggs are sold within a week of being laid.


Other happenings this week:

We got our spring garden seedlings up and running. I’ll have more on that later! Our baby bunnies turned 5 weeks old and are the cutest, most irresistible, fur-balls…….AND available as your future pet! Keith also moved the solar mobile fencing for the chickens. They are thoroughly enjoying their new area.


What’s in the feed?

Most people don’t ask what we feed our ladies (egg laying hens). I don’t know if they don’t care or just assume our eggs are all-natural, non-GMO, and organic just because they come from our farm. But from time to time someone will make a ONETIME mistake and ask “are your eggs organic…. Or at least non-GMO”. They wouldn’t have asked that question if they’d known they were going to give up the next hour of their life listening to me discuss chicken feed in greater detail than they ever cared to know. I mean it’s the awkward conversation where they’re walking away and I’m talking to the back of their head…. Then texting them later about details I forgot…. And the e-mail links that would soon follow. However, I’m not going to do that here, instead I’m going to share the two things I think are of the greatest importance.

Number One – My ladies, just like you and me, like fresh food. I have my feed ground up locally on a biweekly schedule. Sure it would be more convenient to do this monthly, but it just wouldn’t be the same. And there’s actually a scientific reasoning behind all this – after grain is ground or cracked the nutritional value begins to decline, so the longer feed sits the worse it gets. Oxidation is the reason for this, and frankly I really don’t understand it all, but I can tell you the smell of a freshly ground bag of feed is very different from the alternative. It’s like the Folgers commercial where the woman is smelling the fresh cup of coffee, and it’s “the best part of waking up……” Fresh feed is like that! Anyway, moving on.

Number Two – Everyone is talking about how we’re supposed to know what’s in our food and be able to pronounce all the ingredients, sooo just apply the same concept to feed. Truth – most people can’t tell you what’s in their feed. Don’t believe me?  Just ask them sometime. The response will be something like “Uh, corn and oyster shells…. well it’s mostly corn, that’s really all they need”.  Now don’t we all feel reassured! Currently our layer feed consists of milo (30.75%), wheat (20%), non-gmo roasted soybeans (32.5%), alfalfa meal (5%), oyster shells (8.75%) and Fertrell Nutri-Balancer (3%). Notice there is no corn in this recipe, that’s because I can’t get non-GMO corn and our customer base wants non-GMO eggs. I’d also like to add that the guys and gals over at Fertrell are awesome! They developed this ration and deserve the credit for it. If you can get Fertrell feed products, do it, you won’t regret it! In addition to this feed ration our ladies also get kitchen scraps and whatever they desire in the pasture.

Where would we like to improve you ask? I thought you never would. We’d love to mill our feed right here at the farm – I mean, what could be fresher than that. Recently we secured a grain bin to get us moving in that direction. We’d also like to start sprouting grains because it’s more nutritional and easier for the chickens to digest.

And one final thought, if you’re buying your eggs from a local farmer, GREAT, don’t stop. There’s absolutely no comparison between store-bought eggs (even if they’re organic) and farm fresh eggs, regardless if they’re all-natural, non-GMO, or organic. This isn’t rocket-science, just crack them side by side and decide for yourself!