Jul 24, 2012

Adventures in Farming

This week I embarked on a rather unusual adventure: chicken farming. Five years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of me having chickens. Now, here I am four chickens later. It all started with a friend who raises chickens. She showed me how it's done and sort of took the mystery out of the whole thing. 

 One of the baby chicks
Editor's note: *squeal*....they're SUPER cute!

My husband had wanted to get chickens years ago, but I wasn't into the idea yet. Now that we have the space and live in a more rural, farm-friendly area, starting our chicken farm became a reality. 

Here's our coop, which still needs a fence around it. 

There seems to be a lot of pressure these days to buy cage free, vegetarian, organic, soy-free fed (etc, etc) chicken eggs. I was recently at a farmers market and found farm-fresh eggs for the bargain price of $9/dozen. All I can say is OMG. I didn't splurge for eggs that day, but it did remind me of the growing social pressure to buy specialty foods that are perceived to be healthier than conventional. That same day, I went to our local supermarket and bought a dozen eggs for about $2. That's better.

There are definitely arguments for choosing to buy organic or vegetarian or non-GMO, etc. So if you lean toward those food purchases, more power to you. The reality is that these foods simply don't fit into everybody's budget and the verdict is still out on whether these items actually deliver the health promises some people, websites, etc, claim they have. 

Personally, I'm convinced current research shows that - at least nutritionally speaking - an egg is an egg is an egg (Note that it's always important to cook eggs thoroughly to avoid possible food poisoning from Salmonella). In general, all eggs are great sources of protein and essential vitamins, and support a healthy body.

Yes, eggs have cholesterol. But - good news - we now know that the cholesterol in eggs doesn't necessarily raise your blood cholesterol. Rather, the total fat, saturated fat and trans fat levels in your diet as well as genetics appear to be more influential in determining cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association used to recommend limiting eggs to one yolk per week for those who have high cholesterol, but in light of current research, they've dropped that recommendation. Instead, they now recommend to eat foods low in total fat, saturated fat and trans fat (and eggs are low in all three!). 

For more information on the health benefits of eating eggs, click here. 

Do you have any experience with chicken farming? If so, please share your experience and advice!

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