I watched Modern Marvels tonight on the History channel and it was about eggs, egg production, etc. They did a thing on one egg farm that has "hundreds of thousands of hens" and has machines that seperate 108,000 eggs PER HOUR! The place was really clean, the machines shiny and new, no trimmed beaks.
Another guy free ranges hundreds of production reds. He is in Northern CA, and his coops are built on mobile home frames - the poop drops through to the ground and every 4-5 months he moves the coops and plants crops on top of the already fertilized ground!! Talk about making the best of something. He sells these organic eggs through a co-op for $8 a dozen. Yes EIGHT BUCKS.
The third segment was on an ostrich farm not 10 miles from where I live called the OK Corral. He has three pens of 450 ostrichs in each one - 300 hens in each. He hatches the fertilized eggs and sells the non-fertile to a local restaurant called the Summit Inn who specializes in serving ostrich omelettes and burgers. He sells them to others too. He also buys back egg shells from the restaurant and sells those for carving. The restaurant sells them for $10 a shell. They are so hard that a 200 lb person can stand on one and not break it. They use a special drill to drain the yolk and white.
Lastly, they showed a man in Iowa who buys the ostrich shells, along with eagle shells and some chickens shells and carves them with intricate drills. The work was GORGEOUS and he sells them from $400 up to $100,000 depending on detail.
This was an awesome program, and if you see it advertised - WATCH!
The whole episode was incredible to me! And the ostrich farm is only 10 miles from me. I have known about them forever, but who in the heck goes out to BFE to film something. I mean Oro Grande has an ostrich farm and tweekers. LOL!
I *think* that is the same ostrich farm that "Dirty Jobs" visited? The owner looked familar.
One of things that caught my ear, particular the guy selling the $8/doz eggs (but the other farm too), was the "we feed our chicken a strict vegetarian diet". Those chickens out roaming the pasture are ignoring any bugs or worms they find? To my cynical self, it sounded like marketing/pandering to the sensibilities of his client.
Chickens are not meant to be vegetarians. They are omnivores and they are healthier with the type protein their bodies need, which includes animal protein. Just because something may or may not be good for humans does not mean it is the same for avian species.