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Humane eggs?

y
yuanzhoulv Mar 26, 2011 12:17 PM

Does anyone know of a farmer's market or other place in the Boston area to purchase eggs that are 100% cruelty-free?

By this I don't mean the "cage-free" nonsense you get in Star Market -- rather, a farm that raises their roosters (rather than gassing all the males to death) and lets all their chickens live till natural age.

I'm aware that this would make the eggs $8+ a dozen, but it's indeed possible and that's what I'm looking for. If there's a mom-and-pop farm somewhere that sells this kind of thing at a farmer's market, that's exactly what I'm looking for.

Thanks!

  1. t
    trueblu Mar 30, 2011 12:10 PM

    I've been really intrigued by this post, and really appreciated the suggestions (for my own sake), but none of them really addressed the very specific questions and concerns that the OP (long gone?) had.

    So I did a very quick poll, phoning a few of these farms. Only a couple answered the phone, so it's a very limited survey:

    1. Wilson farms -- they 'don't slaughter any animals' -- however, when I pressed them about what they do with their male chicks, they did admit they are shipped to another farm, and don't know what happens to them there.

    2. Chip-in farm -- they don't breed their hens, they buy them from a supplier. Again, they don't slaughter any animals themselves (whatever that means precisely), and only buy female chicks, but they have no idea what their supplier does with their male chicks.

    So it appears that at least with these two farms, although they can wring their hands of any direct culpability, the practices they engage in at least indirectly, may well support the practices the OP is concerned about. This is not altogether suprising, and in my opinion, not unethical (perhaps sl. less transparent).

    As one of the posters suggested, the only way to make sure, is perhaps to raise one's own chicks.

    tb

    3 Replies
    1. re: ospreycove
      a
      alexdifeo Mar 30, 2011 04:46 PM

      The best tasting eggs locally I've found, and that beats pete and jen's backyard birds, other local farms, etc., are the AZALUNA eggs at Whole foods.

      Amazing stuff.

      1. re: trueblu
        f
        FoodDabbler Mar 30, 2011 08:24 PM

        You're right that the ethical question of what's done with the men is (a) interesting, and (b) not addressed by other posters here. As a man, I'm worried. ("Today vot ve do vith boy-chicks is tomorrow vot ve do vith you.") Apart from keeping your own chickens, I don't see an ethical possibility. What can farms do with an excess of male chickens? Either kill them themselves, or hand them over to someone who does.

        As a meat-eater, I have no real problem with killing animals for food (or related reasons), but I can see the ethical dilemmas facing those who do.

        1. re: trueblu
          c
          celeriac Mar 31, 2011 06:50 AM

          Yeah. I've tried to resist posting about this, but... here I go. Since the poster has been totally clear that they believe "100% cruelty free" to mean "letting all their chickens live till natural age," I will say with some degree of confidence that they will not find a single commercial producer in the area that meets that description. Even really, really conscientious producers will have a limit on how long they want to keep the laying hens around. The cost - both directly in feed and indirectly in space - of keeping a bunch of old, unproductive hens alive and happy is financially unsustainable, even at $8+/dozen. That's to say nothing of the notion of keeping all of the males alive, happy and fed to their ripe old age, and getting nothing salable in return. Male roosters tend to get into fights with one another, so the logistics of keeping a whole flock of them together without causing suffering as they fight one another would require a tremendous amount of space.

          All of this is to say, OP, that if you really mean what you say, you probably need to start keeping chickens yourself, or make friends with someone who does, because the financials are impractical for any farmer.

        2. litchick Mar 30, 2011 08:29 AM

          I believe Wilson Farm's eggs are humane. You can visit the chickens in the chicken/pig/llama house, down behind the storefront. They seem very happy, and there seem to be a wide variety of types and ages (not that I'm a chicken-identifying expert, so you know, grain of salt and all that). I've been there when the dude is in there harvesting and packing the eggs in cartons -- all as one would hope it to be. Most days, the eggs on sale in the store are labeled "Laid Today." I can say they taste excellent and I now never buy supermarket eggs.

          -----
          Wilson Farm
          10 Pleasant St, Lexington, MA 02421

          1 Reply
          1. re: litchick
            Pia Mar 30, 2011 05:43 PM

            You can visit the chickens... but watch out for the llama, its door is sometimes left open and it tried to attack me once!

          2. s
            scubajane Mar 28, 2011 04:39 PM

            get your own chickens!
            I'm raising a few chickens in my back yard and after a month plus of laying they are averaging $20/egg!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: scubajane
              MrsCheese Mar 29, 2011 07:42 PM

              That better be one awesome egg.

            2. ecwashere7 Mar 28, 2011 04:26 PM

              I can't really contribute more than what has already been said, but you may find this interesting.

              http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg...

              1. p
                porcospino Mar 26, 2011 07:05 PM

                You'll have to drive to Lincoln, and they're not always available, but Drumlin Farm's eggs are the best I've had around (and I've tried them all, believe me), and are delightfully only $4.50/dozen. Pastured eggs, from chickens moved around the farm in the chicken tractor. Yolks as orange as, well, an orange. Drumlin, being an Audubon property, is also concerned about the well-being and happy lives of all of their animals, whether they're raised for food (pigs, lambs, goats) or raised to provide food (chickens).

                1. MrsCheese Mar 26, 2011 06:00 PM

                  Stillman's farm sells their eggs at the farmers markets. They're $7/dozen.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: MrsCheese
                    kobuta Mar 27, 2011 09:32 AM

                    I really like Stilman's philosophy and their meat products are good stuff, but really $7/dozen seems like such a crazy ripoff, when so many other local farm's prices hover in the $3-5 range.

                    1. re: kobuta
                      MrsCheese Mar 27, 2011 10:39 AM

                      agreed

                      1. re: MrsCheese
                        chefematician Mar 27, 2011 05:38 PM

                        When I picked up my CSA from Stillman's today they were selling eggs for $5 per dozen. Maybe they dropped their price?

                        1. re: chefematician
                          MrsCheese Mar 29, 2011 07:40 PM

                          I didn't buy them this month but last month they were 7 (and have been for at least a year). That would be awesome if they're 5 now.

                          1. re: MrsCheese
                            t
                            tdaaa Mar 30, 2011 12:50 PM

                            Hens lay fewer eggs in the winter. Decreased supply = higher prices.

                            1. re: tdaaa
                              MrsCheese Mar 30, 2011 06:54 PM

                              Got it. They were $7 last summer.

                  2. y
                    y2000k Mar 26, 2011 12:26 PM

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/741114

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760788

                    I usually get Chip-in farm eggs from Russo's. Sometimes I get the Allandale farm eggs (pricier than Chip-in). Chip-in is ~$2.70/dozen, Allandale is $1 more.

                    Occasionally I get Wilson farm eggs if I happen to be there. They're about the same price as Chip-in.

                    You can read about how they treat their chickens on their websites:
                    http://www.allandalefarm.com/csa/csa.html
                    http://www.chip-infarm.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: y2000k
                      t
                      trueblu Mar 26, 2011 03:49 PM

                      I couldn't find anything on their websites (maybe it's there) addressing the specific concerns of the OP. I would guess almost all farms would cull their hens at some point, and I don't know any personally that don't cull most male chicks -- but it's an interesting question. I personally don't have a problem (being a carnivore) with culling of male chicks etc. Calling the respective farms might shed some light. Would be interesting to hear back if anyone can confirm/ clarify.

                      tb

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