A New Pecking Order
The extraordinary, humble, colorful chicken makes a comeback
PHOTOGRAPHY Elizabeth Belts Kauffman & Jason D.B. Kauffman
(page 3 of 4)
In the old farmsteading days, women often kept a jar stashed atop a tall kitchen shelf full of “egg money.” The money, raised by selling excess eggs, was used to purchase necessities and pay the bills. Egg money also helped empower pioneering women by giving them a stake in their family’s financial well-being.
While the hard-bitten settlement days have passed, the value of home-raised eggs hasn’t. Gannett farmer Dick Springs—whose infectious personality and encyclopedic knowledge of poultry-raising has made him invaluable to the Valley’s new chicken set—explains that backyard eggs are far more nutritious than your standard, store-bought variety.
“The two eggs are not even in the same food group,” he said.
Ever the poultry evangelist, Springs helped found the Wood River Sustainability Center in an old U.S. Forest Service building in Hailey. The center’s motto is “Grown Right, Right Nearby.”
The difference in backyard eggs comes down to how the hens are fed. Factory-farmed eggs come from chickens stuffed into tiny cages, often rendered totally immobile, eating nothing but processed grains and pellets. Backyard chickens have the run of the yard, a veritable buffet of fresh green shoots and scurrying little bugs. Their eggs’ rich-orange yolks and sturdy shells are signs of healthy birds—not to mention one heck of a tasty egg. >>>