Food Stories

Documentary shorts — unscripted — featuring farmers, artisans, and others

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Community Egg Co-op (video)

Have you ever attempted to raise chickens yourself? Bread, beer, fruits and vegetables all taste noticeably better when fresh. Well eggs do too! For Patrick and Holly, they were already true believers from first-hand experience in the value of having fresh eggs. This time they wanted to raise more chickens, not just for themselves, but also to sell to others. Through serendipity and the community coming together, they were able to pull together a team of 14 people to take care of 30 chickens to form their own Community Egg Co-op CSA, Eastside Egg Co-op.

There are so many benefits to raising chickens. They are a great addition to any garden, they clear out whatever area of land defines their boundary, and they also leave their nitrogen rich manure for the next round of plantings. The eggs from these naturally raised chickens are higher in the good omega-3 fatty acids than eggs produced from factory farms, not to mention being fresher. Typically, eggs from the supermarket are at least 2 weeks old before they even reach the shelf.

The taste and nutrient rich content in eggs comes from how the chickens are raised, and particularly whether they have access to bugs, and other natural food sources. One farmer we know plants two gardens of fresh kale, one for their own eating, the other to feed their chickens. Having tasted their eggs, they are noticiably richer in color and taste. Surprisingly, the breed of chicken (for eggs) is not really a factor.

Eastside Co-op and Volunteers

If this is something you think you’d like to try, find out first if chickens are allowed where you live. If yes, like Patrick says, make it happen!

If you have some tips to share, I’m all ears! This is something I’m considering doing myself.

—Rebecca

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9 Comments

  1. kristi says:

    I have wanted chickens in my yard for a while, but where I live doesn’t allow it unless your yard is large enough, as the chickens need to be kept 50 feet from the lot line, which is hard in a town with most homes on narrow lots.

    • Something like this community egg co-op might be a possible solution – if the right spot could be found. If not, maybe look into getting the regulations changed. I know many communities are beginning to allow backyard chickens when they once didn’t. If enough people showed an interest – even if it only means changing the parameters – they might sanction it.

  2. 14 people to look after 30 chickens? Those are some well looked after chickens!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Thanks, Wendy. Patti Moreno, over at GardenGirlTV, shares a step-by-step video how to make a chicken tractor that fits over your raised bed…In between crop rotation, let the chickens do their part to ‘clean’ it out and leave manure behind! Great idea, I thought.

    Bring on more tips…we all learn from each other! =)

  4. Wendy says:

    Nice story! You asked for tips… There’s a fun website called “The City Chicken” that will help you get started. “Chicken tractors” for even just a couple of hens are feasible for almost anyone. There’s another website, “Henspa” that makes a “stealth” mobile coop that looks like a trash can, if you really want to go rogue.

  5. Moni says:

    Rebecca, you can tell by their energy and their expressions it’s a very good deal indeed! Wins in all directions, I agree with you totally. Wow, just loved it!

  6. rebecca says:

    Thanks, Moni! I’m with you, I love what these folks are doing. And the fact that this idea could be started in many other communities. Very beneficial to many…to the volunteers, to the farmer/grower, and to the CSA.

  7. Moni says:

    Rebecca, I absolutely just loved this!