Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘Nesting Boxes’ Category

Much Ado About Eggs

“For which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?”
William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

There really is a “love affair” that happens once you get hooked on free ranged, from Farm to Table chicken eggs.  However, there is a question bringing me stress from time to time.  The dilemma of the day ….. “To wash or not to wash??” ……. I’m so confused!!  This question goes around and around…Much Ado About Eggs!!

A Symphony in Eggs

A Symphony in Eggs

I was visiting a very seasoned rancher, and we got to talking about chicken eggs.  At one point, he had over 100 hens from which he sold dozens, and dozens of eggs.  I asked him if he sold the eggs straight from the bird, or if he washed them.  He told me that he washed them…”Always wash them,” he said.  He just used warm water, no stringent egg wash products.  His point was that you just don’t want to take a chance….that you don’t know who is handling the eggs after they leave you, and if they will use good hygiene practices.  GOOD POINT!  GREAT POINT!!
After talking with him, I was pretty sold on that idea…then I thought….. “I just don’t know.”  That bloom that is on the egg from the hen is a great protector.  It protects the developing chick inside the egg from harmful bacteria penetrating the shell….left undisturbed, it should do the same thing to eggs intended for the frying pan…right???  AND…it is actually ILLEGAL to sell washed eggs in the UK, and all of Europe!!  http://www.forbes.com/sites/nadiaarumugam/2012/10/25/why-american-eggs-would-be-illegal-in-a-british-supermarket-and-vice-versa/   I think that says A LOT!!
Well, the USDA  is also on the side of the UK for eggs in shell unless you are a USDA egg handler producing graded eggs sold in grocery stores (large egg producer with caged birds)….. Should you wash eggs?
No. It’s not necessary or recommended for consumers to wash eggs and may actually increase the risk of contamination because the wash water can be “sucked” into the egg through the pores in the shell When the chicken lays the egg, a protective coating is put on the outside by the hen. Government regulations require that USDA-graded eggs be carefully washed and sanitized using only compounds meeting FDA regulations for processing foods.”   http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/egg-products-preparation/shell-eggs-from-farm-to-table/   Basically, if the water is too cold, you run the risk of bacteria permeating the shell…….
So, it seems to be one of those “Damned if you do….Damned if you don’t” kind of situations.  Since there are no rules I can find regulating the washing or not washing of eggs in Oregon ( I have looked far and wide for regulations on this), I think I will leave this up to my individual customers.  And yes, washed eggs are going to have to cost more since they are more labor intensive.  It’s not like I have a lot of customers………right now!   I guess a call for clarification to my county’s extension office is next on the list for the coming week.  I want to be in compliance with my county / state’s requirements.
Benedict's Bungalow 2015
How do I manage eggs that I personally use, or sell??  I keep my nesting boxes clean…very clean with new pine shavings every few days, or if there is any soiling or broken eggs on any given day.  The hens / rooster are outside the hen house all day…unless laying eggs.  Their roost, where 99% of the poop falls, is 5 feet or so away from the nesting boxes…so things stay pretty tidy.
Benedict's Bungalow 2015
That being said, if there are smudges, soiling, or dried products from a broken egg on any of my eggs, they go to the dogs….literally.  Depending on the weather….literally, rain or no rain, determines how many treats the dogs enjoy.
So, the eggs I eat, sell, and give away are visibly clean.  I, personally,  wash my eggs in warm water right before using….and tell others to do the same (with the exception of a couple of friends this past week going by the advice of the farmer …. which I still think is good advice…..)  According to the USDA….maybe we don’t even have to do that….not sure.   The learning process continues…..always!!!
What are your thoughts????
Thanks for spending part of your Sunday with us here on the farm!!  I hope your day is wonderful!!
Your friend from Oregon,

An Incredible Find

Have you ever seen the artistry in the routine? Birds nest….an incredible, yet routine event in their lives…

The Muppets hatching.

The Muppets hatching.

Chickens do not really build a nest, they find a cozy, quiet spot. Many of the flock will then lay their eggs in that same location, resulting in this…

Six nesting boxes....this one was the hot spot today!!

Six nesting boxes….this one was the hot spot today!!

….that was all from one morning. Where is the artistry in a nesting box full of eggs? If you look closely, each egg is very different…size, shape, color, decorative “freckles”…they are each very unique….

July 2014

That's one big egg!!!

That’s one big egg!!!

That being said, I think the true artists reveal themselves every spring with the creation of an incredible piece of workmanship. The structure is amazing, and the question that usually arises in me every time I, happily, encounter one of these delicate yet strong, masterpieces of construction is …. “How did the bird build this without the use of hands?” You will not believe the incredibly gorgeous piece of true art that I am so blessed to have come upon while hiking with my Great Dane, Penni.
September 2014

It must have blown out from the trees this past week…. are you ready…..

Look at this closely...

Look at this closely…

So completely incredible...

So completely incredible…

Look at this closely…imagine the time it took to build. The supplies used were ingenious…feathers from the chickens supply softness, hair from the mane or tail of our neighbor’s horses provide structure, and a little peacock feather for a splash of color….completely, insanely gorgeous!!!

September 2014

By the size of it, my guess is a hummingbird nest. Truly amazing…

September 2014

I feel like it is truly a privilege to have found this little beauty, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you!!

Thank you for taking a walk with me this morning, I hope this little gem of the forest will help to make your day just a bit more special.

Your friend from Oregon,

A Major Remodel

My hens have been talking to me, very clearly. I can hear them, and their requests have not fallen on deaf ears. Okay, before you call a crisis worker, let me explain….

Hey Ma...Can we talk??

Hey Ma…Can we talk??

…chickens have a way of looking at you, an impassioned blinking of their eyes, and a subtle, sweet, higher pitched cooing of sorts that lets you know they have something to say. If you listen, really listen with your eyes, ears, and your heart you can start to understand what they are saying. My chickens were telling me that their home was no longer inviting. Given the addition of the, now-laying four Middles, to the, already six laying Originals,…and four near-future-laying-hens better known as the Littles, three nesting boxes were no longer adequate. The ladies were complaining.

Nesting Boxes

Nesting Boxes

First of all…can you imagine having to wait your turn while needing to lay an egg? I don’t think it’s too comfortable…and neither did they. We had A LOT of complaining going on and rightly so! I drew up the plans, and the remodeling began!

Tony removed the inner wall, which included the nesting boxes, that separated the people area from the chicken area, opening up the entire house…

All opened up...

All opened up…

My idea was to create a tiered nesting box area on the left side, back wall. The bottom level would jut out creating a ladder of sorts for easier access. The top level boxes would sit flush against the wall. My hope in this also was to create a poop protected area underneath the nesting box area for those who might want to snuggle into clean(er) shavings to take a dust bath or just take a nap. I have found that not everyone wants to roost at night, some prefer to nestle in. So, Tony and I…Tony…built three more nesting boxes, and in they went!

Stamp of approval...that's Mama hen, Chardonnay, nestling in.

Stamp of approval…that’s Mama hen, Chardonnay, nestling in.

We had a constant companion helping with the process….

….she supervised the entire project. Even though she didn’t like the sound of the drill, and complained her way through it…she wouldn’t leave..hahahaha!

After the nesting box area was finished, we started on the rousts. We decided to change out the Douglas Fir limbs to wooden planks. I believe they are happier not having to balance all night, and are resting better. I don’t hear the early morning (like 3:00 in the morning) carrying on anymore…now it starts about 5:30. I think we are all happier!!

New nesting boxes + new roosting boards = happy campers.

New nesting boxes + new roosting boards = happy campers.

And here’s the result…..

The first night after the remodel.

The first night after the remodel.

…yes, those are the Littles, now totally integrated within the flock. They are finding their place in the pecking order, and are starting to roost on the boards with the older birds. Harmony in the merge?? Not quite yet achieved…but they are working it out! As for the success of the additional nesting boxes…A LOT less loud complaining from the hens…and MAMA CHARDONNAY IS BACK ON THE NEST!!!!!

Nooooooo!!!! Really NO!!! I replaced the eggs she accumulated…. TEN!!! ….with wooden eggs. She is still nesting and protecting her false clutch as she normally would, and I’m supporting her efforts with extra food, goodies, and water. I’m hoping she will abandon the nest at the point where they should hatch but don’t. She is so adamant on the nest, I didn’t have the heart to take her eggs away and push her off the nest…I hope this will be easier for her. She looks at me, and blinks slowly as she tells me she loves her little brood beneath her. She’s a great Mama…thanks to this big guy…

Benedict....our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

Benedict….our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

In that vain……our family would like to say…HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!…to any dads who may be visiting the farm today!! We hope you have an awesome day, week, month, and year!! Take care all!!


Tag Cloud

Our French Oasis


House by the water.

From blank block to new home in Mandurah, Western Australia.

Chantel Mickaela


A Bright Ray of Hope

I'm a temporarily staying-at-home mom of two living in Oregon, learning all over again (after 15 years of city life) how to garden, harvest, and put up food. You might see posts about baking, parenting, crafting, organization - anything that strikes my fancy!

Homesteading NJ

Keeping the garden in the Garden State.

Winkos: a straw bale building adventure in Poland

A journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle

Press Publish

Inspiration and tools for better blogging from WordPress.com

Cherry Orchard Homestead

Learning to live a Simple and Self-Sufficient Life

Humble Little Homestead

Living Simply and Enjoying the Good Life.


an exercise in simplification

Health, Life, and going back to basics

What I've been discovering about the ultimate self-sufficient lifestyle

Kevin Hotter

Attorney • Comedian • Photographer •

Crockern Farm

The evolution of an old farmhouse, an American woman, an Englishman and their dogs.

Mucking Moms

Horse Showing, Stall Mucking, Kid Raising, Garden Growing, Animal Rearing, Creative Crafting, Home Cooking, Penny Pinching, Coupon Clipping, Family Loving Moms

Preppin' Mamas

Get your prep on...no matter what comes your way!

My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

The ancient eavesdropper

Nature's nuances in a nutshell

Willow Creek Farm

Homesteading from the High-Altitude Mountains to the High Plains of Colorado

Cheese Acres Farm

Happy hens lay healthy eggs!

The Jones Garden Blog

We plant, we water, but only God can make it grow.


Sustainable. Self Sufficient. Loving the Land. Join Us

%d bloggers like this: