DO CONTENTED CHICKENS LAY BETTER TASTING EGGS?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gsim, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I have raised chickens going on 6 years now. We don't free range them, but they do have a 1900 sq ft run with shade and sunshine. They've long since destroyed the grass/weeds in it and eaten the bugs.

    I'm not bragging here, but our eggs are super delicious and far superior to store bought eggs. Most of you know that is true because you raise chickens yourself. However I observed something very interesting last summer. I know a man in another state who has a really large flock of layers. He lets them free range all over his property. Shade, large trees, scrub brush, tall weeds. His flock gets the run of his 20 acre home site, no restrictions.

    The interesting thing is that their eggs don't taste nearly as good as ours do. Our daughter told us that and sure enough, one time we visited him and he gave us a dozen and they didn't taste as good as ours do.

    I thought about that and came to the conclusion that was due to stress. Their coop is miserably dark and stinky. I mean stinky stinking like reeking to high heaven stinky. The design is all wrong what with corrugated steel for poop boards and nearly no light and way, way too little ventilation. No way can he clean those corrugated steel poop boards. A good dropping board will be 2 ft deep X the length of the roost and a foot beyond, with the roost dead center over the thing, a foot from the wall. And it will be smooth, like a recycled Formica kitchen counter top.

    Our coop is one that you can walk into at any time and all you will smell is dried (or fresh) grass clippings. Exception to that is daybreak when I let them out and scrape their poop boards to remove droppings. This is a daily ritual that takes me all of 3 minutes to do whether I have 24 of them or only 10 like now. (I just scrape all of it into a large plastic tote tub and snap the lid shut and slide it back under the poop board. Once a week it goes to the garden or around the base of some of our shrubbery.) On our coop I have four large windows that are open nearly year around and a turbine vent on the roof and full length soffit vents fore and aft. A coop has to breathe to be a healthy place for a flock.

    Anyway, I think that his birds are stressed by the miserable conditions of their coop and that is why they don't produce better tasting eggs than they do. Just a theory, but he does use the same feed brand that I do so what else could it be?

    Predators:

    He has lost countless chooks to predators ranging from owls and hawks to weasels. The weasels were coming in after dark and killing them in their coop. When I visited him he asked me what was getting them and after a walk around the coop I told him weasels being as there is no protection against them and the door from the feed storing part to the coop is left open for ventilation overnight. His fencing would keep out a bull, but not a weasel or snake. So it could be stress from the semi-nightly raids by weasels that have done it. But his eggs didn't taste nearly as good as ours the last time I tried them, so I am betting that stress plays a big part in why some eggs taste better than others.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Colorado Rockies
    It's surprising your neighbor's chickens are still laying with the almost nightly predator visits to their coop. You probably are right about the filthy conditions having something to do with the way the eggs taste.
     
  3. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2014
    My two cents... I haven't had chickens all that long, but I have had other animals all my life. I think we tend to think animals think like we do, when they don't. I think it's entirely possible that all else being equal, his free ranging chickens, running loose over 20 acres, hunting, scratching, adventuring over varied ground and forage choices, versus yours who are penned in on the same small patch of dirt every day, would very likely be "happy" chickens. I know ours love to run and explore... and ours have only about a half acre they can get to, around the house.

    And the messy coop? If chickens cared about mess, they would be tidier birds. I have animals who are tidy. I have a pig who would rather burst than mess in his stall. I've had horses who are tidy and won't pee indoors. And I've had a few who were NOT tidy. They did not care.

    I clean up after them, and I clean up after our chickens, because it appeals to MY senses, not because the animals care. And because I eat what comes out of that coop. That matters to me.

    Only if it is so dirty as to be a health issue, and his chickens are SICK, might it affect the taste of eggs. It might have more to do with what they eat, and you may prefer the regular taste your eggs have from their feed, versus whatever his chickens are foraging on out there. I imagine that can affect taste quite a bit.

    If his predation frequency is as high as you say, I'd be surprised they are laying regularly at all, but I'm not sure how that stress would affect the taste.

    What may be affecting your preference as much as anything else is your personal pride in your eggs. [​IMG] You want yours to taste better. And there's nothing wrong with that! It comes from knowing where they came from and feeling pride in your healthy happy birds. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014

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