Organic Farm Directory of U.S., Canadian and International Farms

A directory of more than 1,400 farms raising pasture-based meats, including free-range chicken.

Eatwild was founded by Jo Robinson in 2001 to promote the benefits—to consumers, farmers, animals, and the planet—of choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from 100% grass-fed cows, sheep, goats, and deer (“ruminant” animals), or pigs and poultry (“non-ruminants”) raised on pasture rather than in confinement. is now the #1 clearinghouse for information about pasture-based farming and features a state-by-state (plus Canada) directory of local farmers who meet Eatwild’s criteria and sell their products directly to consumers. Many can also ship or deliver their products to you.

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Do Eggs Need Refrigeration?

The answer is both yes and no. If they are store-bought in the United States, yes. Commercial eggs in the U.S. are washed and processed before being sold in supermarkets. This washing removes the protective outer coating of the eggshell called the “bloom.” As a result, refrigeration is necessary.
On the other hand, farm-fresh eggs don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, because the eggs are unwashed, retaining the natural protective coating, which helps keep out bacteria, therefore, preserving freshness.
However, farm-fresh eggs generally have a longer shelf life when refrigerated compared to eggs that are not. If you chose to keep your unrefrigerated farm-fresh eggs on the counter, they should be used within a week or so.
How to Properly Store Eggs
Store your refrigerated eggs point down.
Don’t store them on the door where temperatures fluctuate.
Once an egg is refrigerated it must remain refrigerated.
Your store-bought refrigerated eggs in the U.S. have a shelf life of about 4-5 weeks beyond the pack date.
How to Determine the Freshness of an Egg:
Fill a bowl with water and gently place the eggs into it.
If the eggs sink and lay flat on the bottom, they are fresh.
If they stand upright on the bottom they are less fresh.
If they float to the surface the egg should be discarded.
Interesting Fact: Not all countries refrigerate eggs at the retail level, here are some examples:
United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Scandinavian countries.

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Oyster Shells vs Crushed Egg Shells

The Better Choice Explained

Both oyster shells and egg shells can serve as valuable calcium supplements for chickens, but there are a few reasons why oyster shells are considered a better option. They are more easily digestible for chickens than eggshells. Oyster shells have a porous structure that allows for better breakdown, eggshells are denser and can be more challenging for chickens to break down effectively.
First, let’s understand why you may want to supplement with oyster shells. The purpose of this as a supplement is for the quality of your flock’s eggs. The high calcium content and digestibility of oyster shells contribute to better shell quality in chicken eggs, reducing the chances of shell breakage or deformities.

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Calcium Content of Oyster Shells
Oyster shells generally contain a higher amount of calcium compared to egg shells. Calcium is a crucial nutrient for chickens as it helps in the formation of strong eggshells, supports skeletal health, and aids in proper muscle and nerve function.
Slow Release
Oyster shells release calcium slowly into the chicken’s system, allowing for better absorption and utilization. On the other hand, egg shells may break down more quickly, potentially resulting in a sudden influx of calcium that the chicken’s body cannot fully absorb.
Oyster shells are more easily digested by chickens due to their structure and composition. They contain a form of calcium carbonate that is readily absorbed by the chicken’s digestive system. Egg shells, although also composed of calcium carbonate, have a slightly different structure and may be less efficiently broken down and utilized by chickens.

How A Chicken Digests Food

A Simplified Overview & Diagram of The Digestion Process

Ingestion: Chickens consume their food by pecking at it. Their digestive system is designed to efficiently process the seeds, grain, and vegetation they consume.
Beak and Gizzard: Once ingested, the food enters the chicken’s crop, which is a small pouch in the throat where some initial moisture is added. From there, the food moves down to the proventriculus, which secretes digestive enzymes. The food then enters the gizzard, a muscular organ containing small stones or grit. The gizzard helps grind the food mechanically, breaking it down into smaller particles.
Stomach and Digestive Enzymes: From the gizzard, the food enters the chicken’s stomach, called the ventriculus or “true stomach.” In the stomach, digestive enzymes and gastric juices are secreted to break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into smaller molecules that can be absorbed by the chicken’s body.
Small Intestine: The partially digested food then passes into the small intestine, where further enzymatic breakdown occurs. Bile, produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, is released into the small intestine to aid in the digestion and absorption of fats. Nutrients, such as amino acids, simple sugars, and fatty acids, are absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream for distribution to the body’s cells.
Cecum and Large Intestine: The undigested food, along with some digestive juices, then enters the ceca, which are two blind-ended pouches located at the junction of the small and large intestines. The ceca house beneficial bacteria that help ferment and break down plant fibers, releasing additional nutrients that the chicken can absorb. From the ceca, the material moves into the large intestine, where excess water is reabsorbed and any remaining nutrients are absorbed.
Cloaca and Excretion: Finally, the waste material, called feces, passes from the large intestine into the cloaca, which is a common opening for the digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems in chickens. The feces are then eliminated from the body through the vent, or the external opening of the cloaca.

Common Question Answered: A chicken’s egg and feces doesn’t come from the same place. The egg is formed and laid by the hen through a different process than the elimination of waste. The reproductive and digestive systems of a chicken are separate. While both the egg and feces exit through the vent, they are produced by different systems within the chicken’s body and are not related to each other.

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The Mottled Houdan

Mottled Houdan: My Pet Chicken

The Mottled Houdan is an ancient breed that originated in France. They are known for their unique appearance and have become popular exhibition birds due to their striking plumage.
Appearance: Houdans are crested and have a V-shaped comb, five toes & a beard.
Plumage: The Houdan breed is known for its beautiful plumage, characterized by a striking contrast of black and white.
Temperament: Houdans are known to be calm, friendly, and docile birds.
Egg Production: Low, 2-3 white eggs a week.
Cold Hardiness: Not cold hardy.
Heat Tolerant: Yes.
Exhibition Qualities: Houdans are highly regarded in the exhibition poultry community for their unique appearance.
Abundance: Considered rare.

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Time For a Chicken Coop Upgrade

Big Changes at TBN Ranch

It’s been a long time coming, after numerous predator attacks, and no way to keep my coop comfortable in Phoenix’s ridiculous heat, I’m finally doing something about it. I’m digging deep into my pockets and considering these two options. Option #1 is to have my covered corrals enclosed by a local company that specializes in custom enclosures. It will be done with wood framing and hardware cloth and have two entry doors. Or, option #2, building an entirely new coop by a local custom builder. The builders are coming in mid-June to discuss these options.
I’m open to their suggestions, but I’m leaning towards enclosing my corrals because of our summer monsoon storms. It was built in 2013 and I know it can withstand winds that exceed 70 MPH and stays dry in heavy rain.

Option#1: Enclosing Existing Corrals
Option #2: A New Coop Build (adding large wired windows)
This is what I want to enclose for my chickens.
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3 Common Chickens that Have Feathered Feet

Do You Think Chicken Feet Are Creepy?

You’re not alone, lots of people don’t like chicken feet! But what if they were covered in feathers? Here are a few breeds that you might like because they wear fuzzy slippers.

Brahma – This breed is known for its large size, gentle disposition & feathered feet.
Eggs: About 200 per year.
Size: Standard: 8lbs. | Bantam: 34 oz.
Cochin – Known for their docile personalities & large size & big fluffy feet.
Eggs: 2-3 eggs per week medium brown or tinted.
Size: 8-8.5 lbs. | Bantam: Just under 2 lbs.
Silkie – Has fluffy feathers all over its body, including on its feet & toes.
Eggs: On average, about 120 small, cream-colored eggs per year.
Size: 2-3 lbs.

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