Cheeky Chicky’s

Since Brad and I are such BFF’s I get lucky every once and awhile and he gives me some of his chickens’ eggs.  Come to find out its not about our endearing friendship, I just happen to be in the right place at the right time.  Which means I’ll continue to just hang around, actually it’s more of a stalk, him because his eggs are incredible!  The yolks are bright orange, and they are plump and stick up, not flat and pale like other eggs I’ve seen.  Check out the pic below.  Orange yolks = Cheek Eggs.  Pale Yellow = Organic Free Range bought from a grocery store. 

Last fall Jeff wrote three articles explaining in great detail the importance of eggs:  Eggs Part 1: Cooked or raw?  Eggs Part 2- Pastured or conventionally raised?  Eggs Part whatever we are on now: Battle of the Birds.  All articles are excellent Labor Day reads.

Today I want to share with you how our friends got these delicious and gorgeous eggs.  Take a walk with me through the Cheek Family 5 acre compond, as Betty answers a few burning chicken questions that have been on my mind:

How many chickens do you have?

19 (Our neighbor gave us 6 chickens, and then that weekend we decided if we were going to have chickens we might as well have enough chickens, so Betty went to the Snohomish co-op and got 8 chicks. The next week a guy Brad works with gave us 5 more chickens.)

Your yolks are the most amazingly orange and are super plump, how do you think they get like that?  What do you feed your chickens?

I wondered why the yolks were so orange too, so I Googled it and found out that what the chicken eats changes the color of the yolk. If they eat a lot of corn and don’t get out of the coop to free range, the yolk will be more yellow.  We try to keep our chickens as paleo/primal as possible, so they get feed without corn or soy. We also feed them whatever fruits and vegetables we have around that are close to going bad – so, nothing goes to waste around our house anymore. Also, this summer we planted our garden with our chickens in mind and planted extra vegetables for them. So far the only things we have found that they don’t like is mushrooms and onions. They really like fruit, especially berries and watermelon!

Do your chickens live in a coop?  Do they live outside?

We have a coop (a storage shed with nesting boxes and a chicken door), but they can come and go as they please. The chickens always come in before dark and go out after the sun comes up. They also lay their eggs in nesting boxes in the coop. We have most of our chickens fenced in a large pen. We also have a somewhat portable fenced area that we move around so the chickens always have a grassy area, but they seem to prefer the dirt area that they already cleared of all the grass.
We set 5 of our chickens “free”. (When someone gives you chickens, ask them why they want to give them away!) These 5 chickens were very mean to the other chickens, so we let them out of the pen. These chickens are truly free range chickens. They live, eat and sleep outside. We have shelter for them, but they choose not to go into it. Three of them sleep in a tree, the other two perch on a pvc pipe. They have been free for about a month, but as they walk around the pen it does look like they want to get back in. We never know where these chickens are going to lay their eggs so we get to go on an egg hunt every day.

Do you ever get scared something’s going to eat your chickens?
Yes. We thought for sure something would try to eat them so when we first got them we always made sure the coop door was closed every night. Now the door stays open and the chickens that aren’t even fenced in seem to be just fine too. We have had lots of coyotes around in the past, but for some reason we don’t hear them this summer at all. We’ll see what happens in the future.
We have also had many eagles flying around. The chickens seem to be smart enough to run for cover when they see the eagles.

How many eggs to you get a day?
8 – 11 (a few months ago we were down to 2 or 3 a day – why? We don’t know, maybe some of the chickens are too old, maybe they were molting. When the young chicks started laying, the some of the older chickens started laying more too. We have two chickens that are supposed to lay blue eggs but we haven’t seen any yet.
How long have you had your chickens?
Since April

If someone wanted to start raising chickens, where would you buy them from?
We got our chicks at the Snohomish Co-op (they cost about $2.50 each). Apparently you can get them by mail order too.
What do you think is the biggest difference between one of your chickens vs. factory farm chickens?
One of Betty’s uncles was a chicken farmer. He had barns full of hundreds of chickens that were kept in little individual wire cages and were never let outside. Our chickens have tons of space and get to run around outside all they want.

What else do we need to know about raising chickens?

Chickens are pretty easy to take care of. They need to have shelter, food and water, but you can buy feeders and waterers that only need to be refilled a couple of times a week. The coop does need to be cleaned out once a week or so. The eggs need to be gathered each day (we usually try to check for eggs both morning and afternoon.)
You do not need to have a rooster to get eggs.
If you want to raise chickens, just beware that they can demolish your backyard in no time at all. We have five acres so we have plenty of room, however it is quite popular right now to have backyard chickens.  Chickens are quite friendly and will follow you around and let you pet them. They seem to really like attention.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Betty!  And even more, thanks for the beautiful eggs!  We always feel so lucky to get to eat eggs from chickens that were raised humanely, and apparently petted?!  Shockaroo!

This weeks comments have to be about eggs & chickens!  Tell me where you’re getting your eggs, how much you’re spending, if you’ve bought eggs from the egg lady who just appeared at the gym today (random), or praise those Cheek eggs!

Eat well, Friends,

AnnieS

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13 Responses

  1. Mommy have you ever given us the Cheek eggs for breakfast?

  2. I ran into the “Egg lady” when I dropped Grant off yesterday, so bought a dozen. Can’t wait to compare those with the ones I have in the fridge. I remember collecting eggs on my grandparents farm. It was back before all the commerical farms were all the rage- so were free-range, etc. Loved kitchen scraps. I remember being afraid of the chickens and then having to clean the eggs. “Yuck” as I remember it. 🙂 Way to go Cheeks! Thanks for sharing Andrea!

  3. Great read Andrea!

  4. Awesome post. Great info!

  5. Makes me want to go buy some chickens. Great info/post Andrea and Betty! 🙂

  6. Great egg post. Definitely tempting to get chicks of your own. Really cool.

    Kama’ole beach wod: 33:01
    25 Squat Clean Thrusters with rock (45ish?)
    50 hands release push ups
    50 rock jumps 22″ ish
    50 burpees
    25 overhead Squats with rock (45ish)
    100 air squats
    —With 500ish meter beach run in and out of surf after every movement set.

    • Got up this morning, looked over the beach and saw a couple appearing to do air squats for time ( that rushed looked with tired pauses), at one point the lady took off running, followed by the man after a certain number more. Suspect of Crossfit influence. 🙂

  7. Cheeky Chickys Eggs are the best!

  8. 229 (55# pp)

    Had a fun time yesterday. What a great community of people. Thanks everyone, especially our hosts. That BBQ was really good.

  9. […] is just alright.  My all-time fave coconut flour pancake is this one.  However, running low on eggs I went with the Primal Blueprint  one.  To me it’s a little flat, there’s nothing […]

  10. […] This week I was the lucky recipient of a huge, I mean huge zucchini grown by our chic farmer, Betty!  I knew muffins were in its future however, I was running a little low on almond flour.  So, I […]

  11. […] day.  They’re not meant to be gruesome, but rather educational.  We all know the Cheeks love themselves some chickens.  In fact, these chickens were fed better than most Americans (I’m not even exaggerating on […]

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