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New Feature: Favorites

We’ve added a ‘Favorite’ feature to Eggzy! With this new feature you will be able to collect and save egg stands to your account, enabling  a system of short-cuts to access those saved flocks whenever you want without having to do a zip code search each time.

Favorites can be identified by a small icon of a badge (or ribbon). The icon is either grey or gold depending on the selection state; grey if unselected, and gold when selected.

Unselected     Selected

The grey Favorite icon can be seen by all who visit the site but can only be selected (made gold) by logged in Eggzy members. The new Favorites feature exists in three places across the site so you can easily identify those flocks you buy from, sell to, or simply admire:

  1. All egg stands listing/search pages
  2. On each egg stand
  3. In a new ‘Favorites’ section within member hub pages under ‘Activity’

'Favorites' is located on the Egg Stand listing pages.

Favorites' is also on each Egg Stand page next to the Flock name.

There is also a new ‘Favorites’ section within your hub under ‘Activity'.

We will be detailing the new Favorites feature in the Help section, in the meantime, please contact us with any questions, bug reports or suggestions that you may have.

We appreciate hearing from our members, your feedback serves to inform and guide the site features and our priorities.

Regards,
Eggzy Team

The Zero Waste Chicken

Like many first time flock owners, our primary motivation for starting a flock of our own was the desire for fresh, delicious eggs from a trusted source – ourselves. It didn’t take long to realize that there were many other benefits to keeping a flock of chickens, benefits that are essential to the well being of our backyard ecosystem.

In an article written for McMurray hatchery, author and chicken expert Patricia Foreman lists why chickens are considered by many as an “essential part of urban agriculture that helps folks achieve some degree of self-sufficiency”.

Foreman encourages flock owners to think ‘outside the coop’ and argues for the many benefits of pasture raised birds. She goes on to list and explain more than half-a-dozen different, but inter-related “chicken skill sets’, things like pest and weed control, bio-mass waste management and fertilizer creation and distribution.

This closed loop system of inputs and outputs is so efficient and beneficial, with little to no waste whatsoever, that Mother Nature herself must have designed it.

One standard chicken eats about 8 pounds of food “waste” a month. A few hundred households keeping micro-flocks of laying hens can divert tons of yard and food biomass “waste” from trash collection saving municipalities millions … ~ City Chicks

So above and beyond the amazing fact that chicken eggs are a healthy source of protein (which they can produce over and over again), there are many other less celebrated benefits that those birds bring to the table (ahem). All of which makes it clear that the true value of your flock can’t simply be calculated by the price of the eggs they produce.

And even with the long list of practical skills enumerated, there are other simpler reasons to keep those birds near and dear, it’s because we like them. They are often beautiful creatures, and entertaining to watch as well as listen to. When all is said and done, they simply make great pets.

For more information about living sustainably – with or without chickens – take a look at some of these resources:

 

Featured Flock Owner: Flyaway Farm

Eggzy was formally introduced to California flock owners this winter after a mention in Sunset magazine. That article brought us dozens of new users and flock owners, all of whom helped to fuel Eggzy’s activity over the winter months. In celebration of those newer users, this month’s featured member is Sarah from Berkeley California — where she keeps a plucky flock of 13 hens in her backyard!

Eggzy: What is the name of your Eggzy egg stand?

Flyaway Farms: It’s called Flyaway Farm. The name is a bit grandiose for the 20×20 run and coop I have in my backyard, but I dream of it being more. I chose the name Flyaway Farm because my first flock of hens had a habit of jumping over our fence into our neighbor’s yard. We kept building it higher, they kept finding new ways to jump it. I’d come home to find them walking down the sidewalk or scratching up garden beds down the street. We finally got our fences high enough.

I’m humbled and delighted to have met people who take their food as seriously as I do. I have customers who plan their Saturday morning around coming to my house to say hi to the hens and pick up their eggs. — www.flyawayfarmfresh.com

Eggzy: Why do you use Eggzy?

Flyaway Farms: I started using Eggzy to get connected with people looking for good eggs. I’ve come to enjoy the production management tools as well

Eggzy: Where are you located?

Flyaway Farms: Berkeley, CA, 94703. I live in a very dense urban neighborhood. Our back yard is bordered by several neighbors, but fortunately all of them seem to like the sound of hens chattering in the morning.

Eggzy: Tell us something about yourself.

Flyaway Farm: My husband and I have a five month old son. I was worried that keeping chickens would lose its allure when I had a baby, but it’s been the opposite…chickens seem easy compared to a newborn! I also work full time for a large advertising agency, which is not as unlike mucking around with a flock of hens as you might expect.

Eggzy: How long have you been keeping chickens?

Flyaway Farms: For about three and a half years. Over that time, I’ve raised five generations of hens. Many of the “girls” from the first flock are still alive and well.

Eggzy: Why do you keep chickens?

Flyaway Farms: I keep chickens for their eggs. I’ve always been fascinated with food production, and hens strike me as the perfect food producer. Unlike an animal raised for meat, a hen produces again and again. And unlike a plant, she’s entertaining! And don’t get me started on the versatility of eggs…they are one of nature’s perfect foods.

Eggzy: How many birds to you have?

Flyaway Farms: I have 13 adult hens and 10 young pullets who should start laying in June

Eggzy: What do you feed your birds? Organic? Conventional? Table scraps?

Flyaway Farms: Organic feed pellets supplemented with scratch, table scraps, and occasional donations of greens from our local grocery store.

Eggzy: How do you raise your birds, are they pastured?

Flyaway Farms: With a couple of exceptions, I have purchased my hens from Ideal Poultry in Texas. They are sent in a box via the US postal service and arrive as 2-day old chicks. The post office thinks its hilarious. Remarkably, all have arrived in good health and have gone on to be wonderful layers and pets. After a few weeks in the garage in an enclosure under a heat lamp, I move them outdoors with the adult hens. Our hens roam freely in a 20×20 fenced yard under a redwood tree. They ate all of the grass and weeds long ago, so they spend most of their day hunting for bugs, scratching in the soil, or preening on the many branch perches.

Eggzy: Do you have a favorite breed?

Flyaway Farms: My two Barred Plymouth Rocks have been the friendliest. They have always been very people-oriented and like being held by visitors. I also love our Americaunas for the beautiful green eggs they lay.

Eggzy: Do you name your chickens?

Flyaway Farms: I did at first, but I gave up long ago. They never came when I called them anyway!

Eggzy: Do you sell your eggs?

Flyaway Farms: Yes, for $6/dozen. Thanks to Eggzy and word of mouth, demand for my eggs far outpaces my supply.

Eggzy: Do you cull birds from your flock?

Flyaway Farms: Berkeley has a town ordinance against roosters — something I respect, since I want to stay in the good graces of my neighbors. Luckily, I’ve had only one wrongly-sexed chicken in all the birds that I’ve raised. At 16 weeks, “she” revealed herself to be a “he” and started crowing. After fortifying ourselves with numerous tutorials and many deep breaths, my husband and I went through the act of slaughtering and butchering that rooster. It was an intense and surprisingly intimate experience to raise and then kill an animal in your charge, and not something I take lightly. Additionally, I had a couple of very loud hens early on that I found other homes for. I don’t have any plans to cull for any other reason, but I know that it’s something every responsible flock owner needs to be prepared to do in case of flock sickness, injury, or old age.

Eggzy: Do you have any advice, tips or insights you would like to share?

Flyaway Farms: For prospective flock owners, know this: there’s a steep learning curve for keeping chickens, but it gets easier over time. Hens anchor you to the rhythm of each day (up at dawn, in at dusk) and of each season (prolific, boastful layers when the days are long, molting and quiet in the fall and winter). Once you’ve eaten an egg from a hen you know, no egg will ever taste as good. But, keeping animals comes with a tremendous responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being, and one clever predatory raccoon can undo all your good intentions as easily as it can open a latch. If you love the idea of fresh local eggs but don’t want to commit to a flock, find someone who already has hens and strike a deal with them. That’s what eggzy is all about. I’m humbled and delighted to have met people who take their food as seriously as I do. I have customers who plan their Saturday morning around coming to my house to say hi to the hens and pick up their eggs. It’s exciting to be on the production end of such a vibrant and sincere food community.

Easter Eggs: A Natural History

World Egg

Easter comes in the spring, when the earth renews itself after a long, cold winter. And while Easter itself is identified with spring and rebirth, it is the egg that has come to signify the season, and by extension the Easter holiday itself.

There’s a lot of lore associated with the egg; the ancients regarded the egg as a symbol of new life and rebirth. In fact, the world egg is a mythological motif found in the creation myths of many cultures and civilizations. In Chinese mythology the universe began as an egg, and the ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all have some variation of the world egg myth, thus establishing the egg as the symbol of new life eons ago.

The Decorated Egg

Today, the most obvious example of eggs in modern (western) symbolism is the use of dyed eggs during Easter. The decoration of eggs to enhance their value became an art form centuries ago and continues today. There are many techniques and traditions when it comes to the decorating of (Easter) eggs. Some of the historical techniques for coloring or decorating eggs include:
Pysanky: Intricate designs are drawn in wax on the eggs, a process closely related to batik. The eggs are then dyed many colors. Ukrainian artisans are famous for their pysanky.

Jeweled Probably no decorated eggs are more famous or regaled than the Faberge eggs. The eggs are made of precious metals or hard stones decorated with combinations of enamel and gem stones.

Etched Eggs: The boiled egg is first dyed, then wrapped in a layer of wax and finally soaked in vinegar where color bleached off. This leaves only the wax areas of color.

Cut-Out or Carved: Blown eggs are used for these creations where a portion of the shell is cut away. The exterior is decorated, and the inside filled with a little scene to be viewed through the cut-out section.

Decorating Your Easter Eggs with Natural Food Dyes

There are many things that can be used to dye eggs. They have been dyed with roots of plants, flowers, fruits, coffee, tea, vegetables, and bark from trees. Below is a list of some suggested materials for use as natural dyes; keep in mind that natural dyes are going to create more subtle and subdued earth tones than bright colors. Also, you can check out this article at Better Homes and Gardens for a step-by-step guide and recipes for naturally dyed Easter eggs.

  • Brown and tan:  Outer layers of onions, black/green tea, coffee, black walnut hulls
  • Yellow:  Tumeric, cumin, saffron, lemon rinds
  • Orange:  Paprika, chili powder, carrots
  • Red:  Fresh cranberries, cherries, raspberries, Spanish onion skins
  • Purple and blue: Blueberries, boiled red cabbage leaves, beets
  • Green: Spinach

And don’t forget, you can always just keep it real with naturally colorful eggs laid by an Easter Egger.  An Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the “blue egg” gene and lays ‘Easter-ready shades’ like pale blue-green.