Great news on the egg-laying front: we've had our first two-egg day!
Left Coast Mom called me at work to share the good news that she'd opened the Eglu to discover two eggs in the nesting box: one in the middle of the box, the other tucked up against the side of the box.
So, unless Sophia is the world's first double-barrel Barred Rock, it'd seem we've got ourselves two young hens (one of whom likes to crow).
I thought, given our girls are the same breed, that it'd be difficult to tell who was laying which egg, but now that we've gotten at least three eggs from each of them, it's easy to see that ZsuZsu's eggs are all a shade of brown that's lighter than Sophia's brown. I've tried taking pics to illustrate the difference, but the light's not right (yet).
Suffice it to say, I'm glad to finally know for sure we've got ourselves two hens.
Oh, and a belated congrats to the folks at Omlet for the Eglu's writeup in Wilsonart's The Statement newsletter for professional designers. Glad to see others are appreciating the Eglu as much as we are.
Given the interest I'm seeing in urban chickens, I'm contemplating starting up a Meetup here in the Bay Area for fellow chicken farmers just so we can meet face-to-face to swap tales from the coop.
Congrats on Zsu Zsu's first egg! Glad to hear your concerns are finally relieved.
Regarding the info on eggs and from the egg board, you should pick up a copy of this month's Mother Earth News to read about their second report on the superior benefits of free range eggs. They cite the Egg Board, too, but take some exception to the statement "The nutrient content of eggs is not affected by whether hens are raised free-range or in floor or cage operations" and provide compelling data to disprove this.
Certainly large scale "free-range" operations may not have a difference in nutrient content, since they really don't actively "free-range" their hens. I heard a report that they can call them "free-range" because they open a small doorway for a few weeks out of the chicken's life span to the outside that the chickens can use. However, they don't usually go outside because a) they've spent the majority of their short lives living indoors and are unfamiliar with "outside," and b) there is no food, water, or forage out there for them, so they really have no reason to go into the small outdoor pen, anyway.
But the smaller scale producer -- and that would include us urban chicken keepers -- seem to have very different nutrient contents in their eggs. I'm not likely to spend hundreds of dollars getting my girls' eggs tested for nutrient content, but some of the differences are visible. Deeper yolk color comes from high beta carotene content (which, by the way, is a key nutrient to keep macular degeneration at bay), for example.
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