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Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Can't you just buy eggs cheaper at the store?"

running to meet me
 While I talked on the phone last night as the snow fell, I was bemoaning the fact that I might have to carry the three hens in my arms to their pen this morning. The last time it snowed, they just sat on the porch in their pen for about an hour. (In case you don't know, after a raccoon killed one of my four hens, the remaining three have slept in a small cage inside the house by the side door.)

The hens refuse to walk in snow. This guy knows I feed them food of the same quality as I eat. He knows I cook oatmeal with eggs and powdered milk for them. He once had chickens and cows on 110 acres along with a huge garden. He said he never went to the pains I do.

He know I am frugal because I like to be and because often I must be frugal. Well, I suppose I don't have to be frugal, but it just seems the best course of action. That's how I managed to pay off house and car last year.

So, cost is the only thing he pays attention to when we talk. He was finally exasperated as I moaned about hen transfer in the snow. "Can't you just buy eggs cheaper at the store?"

Heart disease
He needs a heart transplant, has had heart attacks, and still has not figured out that food is a front line defense against disease and a good treatment for what ails him. This is the same guy for whom I called an ambulance last week. (It may be too late for a food cure.)

Cheaper at the store?
His question is one many people ask those who raise their own food, whether it is eggs, meat, or crops. Isn't it really cheaper to buy food at the store than it is to raise it? We won't even consider other points for raising food, like fossil fuel used to ship food to us, pesticides, preserving heirloom seeds, self-satisfaction, exercise, sunshine, a hobby, something families can do together, and a host of other benefits.

No hormones, no pesticides
My hens have never had food with hormones or pesticides beyond the first week of their lives. I rescued them from a common life. I can happily and proudly that Fancy, Thelma, and Louise live an uncommon life. They spend many hours scratching and pecking in the earth. They are supremely happy hens. When I let them out of the pen, they rush about eating bits of green grass (weed?).  Everyday, they get a bowl of oatmeal with an egg cooked in it along with powdered milk and just a bit of water. If I have meat for them, they get that instead of egg. About once a week I give them a can of tuna in their oatmeal. I won't even name the fruits and vegetables that are on their menus each week.

One supplement
Each day, I crush a Vitamin D into their food and sprinkle diatomaceous earth over their food. In a separate Corelle water bowl, apple cider vinegar is added to water.

Eating green food
They must eat green foliage to form the omega-3, the same omega-3 that is currently used to prevent heart disease and treat heart disease in humans. Remember, in the past when all our cattle--chicken, cows, goats, etc--were pastured on grass, all eggs, milk, and meat contained omega-3. I feed them salad beyond human consumption (just a little off, not a lot), either mine of castoff salads from a market or two. Hens love anything green. Desperate one day to provide them with green, I gave them some of my canned turnip greens. They pounced on it and did not hesitate until every speck was gone.

Eating local
Eating eggs from my yard is the ultimate in "eating local." Not one ounce of fossil fuel is consumed in obtaining the eggs.

Fancy talks
My hens talk to me. Okay, Fancy is the talker. She jumps up in my swing to sit by me or just stand, look right at me, and carry on a conversation. Friends have seen this and are fascinated. This is not just a senile, old lady who says Fancy is special. My senile, old friends think the same as I--she is talking to me. She craves human attention. She wants to be a companion.

Cruelty to hens
After seeing the cruel treatment of battery hens, I had to have my own hens. I am happy that they are never harmed. They see the blue sky everyday and have the earth under their feet. They live like I imagine they were intended to live. (Okay, if it is overcast, none of us see the blue sky.)

Vulnerable animals
Hens are so vulnerable. A cow might step on you or butt you or run really fast. A goose can inflict a wound. Pigs can be dangerous. Goats butt. Hens can do nothing in defense.  Yes, I know they all can be brutalized by humans with weapons. They all can be overpowered at any time. But, hens are so little and helpless.

Hen antics
I love their hen antics. If I had a video of them trying to run on ice, slipping, correcting, and slipping in the other direction, squawking, flapping their wings, and finally reaching the pen like nothing happened, I would be a happy woman. They entertain me daily.

Back problems
Since my back has gotten so much worse, if I did not have to go out numerous times during the day to check on them, feed and water them, or haul them in my arms to and fro between the house and pen, I honestly think I might never leave the house some days.

Benefits-let me see:

*eggs with no pesticides or hormones
*eggs that will improve health
*free eggs
*local eggs
*eggs in the backyard
*clear conscience

Today, for the first time, one of the hens pooped on the iron handrail, right where I need to hold it for the last huge step up to the porch. That, I could do without.

Sure, I need to eat beef and chicken that is all that my hens and eggs are--free to roam, healthy, and local. I don't. But, I eat little meat for the sake of my present and future health. Unfortunately, we cannot always trust labels to mean "humane," "grass-fed," "and organic" just because they say so.

Your turn
Do you consider the cost of eggs  raised in your yard or a local yard? The cost of eggs and the cost to the hens and our own humanity are all figured in the cost and cannot always be expressed in dollars and cents. Do you suffer when you see videos of brutality against hens? Have you done anything about it? No, I don't think your quitting eating eggs will help one hen. I did all I can do. Can you?

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