The Kawartha Lakes Co-operative Auction Market or just-plain Woodville for short is the not-so-close-by place to go if you're looking for livestock animals. I've only been there once. My daughter and I were overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of animals, cars and trucks backing up filled with cages, people and farm equipment. We had only been living at the farm a few weeks and at that point our livestock consisted of all of 6 chickens - if you don't count the barn cats and the city dog. I was so intimidated by the auction process that we didn't even get a number. I could only imagine ending up with a cow for scratching my nose at the wrong time. We decided to just stand and watch and hopefully learn. Like any other auction - things moved along really fast and I wasn't quite sure how much things sold for or if it was a good deal or not. We took the wimpy-route and headed for an area of the property where you could buy chicks and ducklings without the auction process. We just went to look...and walked away with 4 Muscovy ducklings. Cute little balls of fluff that we didn't have a clue about. We went back to the car with them in a cardboard box and then scrambled to figure out what to do with them on the way home.
They lived in a hamster cage in our very-back-room (that's the addition to the addition) until the smell necessitated their removal to a more permanent home in the barn. These ducks have been a great asset to our farm. They eat an incredible amount of bugs, they are very entertaining in their strange head-bobbing sort of way, and they have provided us with fresh eggs and recently baby ducklings.
Sometime early this spring we were thinking about getting some more chickens but somehow a trip to Woodville just wasn't making it into the schedule with all the other things to do. Our neighbour Ray was here rototilling the garden when he mentioned he was headed for Woodville the next weekend. I think going to Woodville is his Saturday morning tradition and one he rarely misses. Well the two thoughts converged and I asked him if he would mind looking around for us to see if he could find a COUPLE of Ameraucana blue/green egg laying chickens for us. Somehow he thought "a couple" was 30 chicks. Mercy - what was I going to do with 30 more chickens?!! At that point we already had 40 or more. We were really in the chicken business now!
It takes 18-22 weeks before chicks get big enough to lay eggs so we waited and waited...I had just given up on ever seeing a blue/green egg when finally we had the Dr. Seuss moment I had been waiting for. GREEN EGGS - no ham.
Most adults would play this cool - we have increased our egg production. NOT ME!! Yippee we have green eggs!! It was worth the wait just for the coolness factor.
Almost everyone who hears about these new-fangled-eggs (that are actually old-fangled if you think about it) asks HOW COME? So here's your birds-and-bees moment for the day. Chickens lay eggs according to the color of…….. their EARS. Really. Betcha didn't even know chickens HAD ears (yeah - me neither) White eared chickens like leghorns lay white eggs. Brown eared chickens like our red-sex links lay brown eggs and black chickens with green ears (I have not personally ever seen their green ears) lay green or blue eggs. Just for the record the roosters only part in this is fertilizing the eggs so they can hatch into chicks - he doesn't influence the color of the eggs.
So what do green eggs taste like? Well - like an egg. Nutritionally all the eggs on our farm would have similar nutritional quality because they all eat the same bugs, green stuff and feed. The color of the shell is just an interesting side bar.
Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion that Mother Earth News has reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. The testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
Mother Earth News also reports: We think these dramatically differing nutrient levels are most likely the result of the different diets of birds that produce these two types of eggs. True free-range birds eat a chicken’s natural diet — all kinds of seeds, green plants, insects and worms, usually along with grain or laying mash. Factory farm birds never even see the outdoors, let alone get to forage for their natural diet. Instead they are fed the cheapest possible mixture of corn, soy and/or cottonseed meals, with all kinds of additives.
Happy Chickens and Ducks at Shalom Engedi Farm - free ranged chicken eggs - now in three colors to choose from! (that's my commercial)
There you have it. Green eggs - no ham - and I like them Sam I am!! Move over Dr. Seuss!