Eggs are one of nature’s most perfect protein sources. That’s why the average American eats more than 260 eggs each year.¹
“At just 70 calories, each large two-ounce (57 gram) egg provides six grams of digestible protein,” says Gordon Ballam, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition. “With 18 of the 20 amino acids and all 10 essential amino acids in abundance, eggs have an excellent amino acid profile.”²
Following are five key farm fresh egg benefits:
1. The power to choose
Our family joined the farm fresh egg movement because we are able to choose everything for our birds, from housing to healthcare and from feed to entertainment. This allows us the ability to ensure that our birds enjoy the highest quality of life while living in a natural environment free from confinement. These choices impact the eggs the hens produce.
2. Local support
Farm fresh eggs are an opportunity to support your local economy and ecosystem, Backyard chickens offer benefits by naturally fertilizing, managing insects and controlling weeds. Their impact then connects to the community with the purchase of local supplies and shared camaraderie.
3. Undeniable freshness
Farm fresh eggs can be collected within minutes, providing convenient, homegrown food. We enjoy visits to the backyard each morning to greet our pets and gather freshly laid eggs. With farm fresh eggs, you get the added benefits of fresh flavor and can store them for up to 30 days in the refrigerator versus your typical grocery store eggs that may be over two weeks old before reaching shelves.
4. Enhanced flavor and color
Feel-good point number four: flavor and color. Farm fresh eggs are known for having rich, vibrant yolks and firm, clear whites. This is because specific feed ingredients are responsible for taste and appearance. For example, marigold extract impacts yolk color while added calcium promotes stronger shells.
Our chickens enjoy a natural free range diet supplemented with only the best chicken feed. We include exta calcium in their diet by grinding up their eggs shells after eating the eggs and adding it their food. They are also supplemented with organically grown vegetables straight from the ranch.
5. Added nutrition
Perhaps the top feel-good reason about farm fresh eggs is their potential nutritional benefits, For those with heart issues or high cholesterol, recent studies indicate that pasture raised eggs have higher amounts of omega 3s, 1/3 less cholesterol and 25% less saturated fat . Added to these benefits is increased amounts of Vitamin A and E. Vitamin A helps in all sorts of areas including vision, skin health, immune function, and so much more. Vitamin E is key for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes.
 American Egg Board: http://www.aeb.org/farmers-and-marketers/industry-overview. 29 June 2016.
 “Egg Nutrition Center.” American Egg Board. http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/egg-101/. 10 June 2016.
Summer is the time of year we spend countless hours in the garden harvesting vegetables to put up for the coming winter months. We spend several hours each week canning, dehydrating and freezing vegetables and fruits to enjoy the rest of the year. It's a busy but fun time of year around here. But it's also when the birds are laying their best. There are countless ways to save eggs: freezing, dehydrating, cold storage methods and (my personal favorite) pickling.
Most people don't realize that Quail Eggs can be pickled just like a chicken egg. Even better, they take less time to cook and pickle due to their small size and let's face it, what could be better than a bite sized pickled egg?! With this thoughts in mind, I thought l would share one of my favorite Pickled Quail Egg recipes. But before we get into that, those tiny little eggs have to be boiled and I often get questions about how to boil them.
How to Boil the Perfect Quail's Egg
Fill a small saucepan two thirds full with water and bring to the boil.
Add the quail's eggs using a spoon. Do not overcrowd the pan.
Boil for 3.5 to 4 minutes depending on your preference.
Remove with a slotted spoon and cool down under cold running water or in a bowl filled with ice water.
Peel very carefully.
Now with the "Peel very carefully", I have discovered that it is much easier to peel the eggs if you let them sit in white vinegar for 3 hours first. The vinegar causes the shell to disolve and then you simply remove the membrane. For those with children, this is also a nice experiment as the vinegar causes the spots on the egg shell to float to the top which is kind of cool too. Make sure you wash the eggs after sitting in the vinegar, those spots are extremely bitter in taste should you happen to leave some residue on your eggs.
Now that the eggs are cooked and peeled, we can get on with the pickling.
There are many other recipes out there for pickled quail eggs depending on your preference for hot, cajun or spicy. If you're interesting in trying to pickle some eggs, we offer quail eggs year round for $4 dozen.
Yesterday, four of the males were adopted out to a good home. It is a comfort to know that the brothers were all able to be adopted by the same family. They will have each other to comfort them during this stressful time and I am confident that they will be well taken care of. I hated to let them go but there were just too many male ducks on the Ranch. I know that this was the best decision for all the ducks involved even though I don't like it.
All but one of the remaining ducks are adapting fairly well this morning. The females are all staying with the Muscovy males which is good because they are fierce protectors. It breaks my heart to watch my Baby looking for her brothers. I have to remind myself that this was in the best interest of all ducks involved and that she will soon adapt into the new flock like the other females. This is not the first time we have seen a duck looking for its lost sibling and it is always hardest the first day. Emily, one of our Pekings, lost her brother to a predator attack many months ago. She spent the first day or two looking and quacking for him before she decided to flock with the Khaki Campbell males. Now that they have been adopted she has smoothly transitioned to the Muscovy flock. I am confident that Baby will do the same. In the meantime, the rest of the flock is watching her from a distance and waiting to welcome her as the newest member of their group. I will continue to keep an eye on her throughout the day to ensure her safety until she decides to join the flock.
Our chickens arrive at the Ranch within 24 hours of hatching. Chicks are hand raised by our family from the time they arrive until the time that they are processed. Our chickens are handled daily and treated more like pets than simply a source of income. Our chicks are fed non-medicated feed and are not exposed to any chemicals or hormones. The chicks are provided extra calcium by providing ground up organic egg shells from our own laying hens. Extra protein is provided as a treat in the form of organic worms that we farm here on the ranch. Our chickens are processed under Federal “Exempt P.L.90-492”. This means that our chickens, unlike some other farms, are processed here on the ranch by our family. This means that our chickens do not endure feed withdrawal or a long and stressful transport to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. Our chickens experience virtually no stress prior to processing because they are at home with handlers that have known them their entire lives. Transport and use of commercial slaughterhouses can result in higher stress levels which transfer into the meat.
Weeks and Nicol (2000) reported that: (a) The manner in which birds are raised alters their subsequent fear and stress reactions, and better enables them to cope with the stressors they will subsequently face during catching, transportation and preslaughter handling; however, neither environmental enrichment nor prior experience of gentle handling can ameliorate the shock and the sometimes extreme stressors that are encountered during commercial-type handling and transportation. (b) Transportation is an extremely stressful process for commercial poultry; birds experience new stimuli—motion, vibration and impacts (daylight, noise, overcrowding, temperature extremes)—of greater intensity and more varied than they have previously encountered. There are economic and welfare benefits for minimizing these stressors. (c) The potentially adverse consequences of transportation include physical, physiological and behavioral changes; among those are death, thermal stress, trauma, fatigue, hunger and thirst, physiology indicative of stress plus fear and aversion. (d) About 0.3% of birds die between farm and factory and there are reports of 24% of laying hens acquiring broken bones when they are removed from their cages. (e) There are estimates that one in four broilers processed in the USA have bruising of the legs, breast or wings sustained during catching and transport. (University), University), University), & Don Lay, 2004)
For the consumers, this means that our meat is nutritious and contains the least amount of stress related hormones possible. This results in the better tasting, tenderer meat for our consumers. According to Food Safety Magazine:
“Pale, soft and exudative (PSE) pork or poultry is one of the most common results of animal stress and occurs just prior to harvest. When an animal experiences anxiety or agitation, muscles become tense; muscle glycogen is utilized, resulting in the formation of lactic acid in the meat. Because the animal is harvested before the lactic acid can be eliminated, a rapid drop in muscle pH occurs post-mortem (<5.5). The meat loses water-holding capacity; the muscle bundles have an open texture and reflect light, creating meat that appears pale and watery. There is a greater drip loss associated with PSE meat, which can also provide moisture for microbial growth, and thus PSE meat can have a reduced shelf life. As well, when the meat is cooked and consumed, this “drip loss” can cause a dryer, tougher product.” (Erika L. Voogd, 2009)
Erika L. Voogd, M. ( 2009, February/March). Does Animal Welfare Affect Food Safety? Retrieved May 3, 2016, from FoodSafetyMagazine.com: http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2009/does-animal-welfare-affect-food-safety/
University), G. C., University), T. G., University), T. H., & Don Lay, J. (.-U. (2004, December). www.grandin.com. Retrieved May 3, 2016, from http://www.grandin.com/behaviour/effect.of.transport.html
We are making preperations to attend our very first Anderson Farmer's Market this Saturday. I am so excited about taking on this new market. We will continue to sell through Clemson Area Food Exchange and from the ranch.
These are some of the gorgeous roses that are blooming on the ranch. I had to go out and cut them before they broke the stems. The heavy rains of the past few days have really done a number on the roses and the vegetable garden. So many of the plants have been knocked over but are still alive. I have been busy staking up the tomatoes and trying to stand the pea trellis back up.
The newest rabbit litter was born last week. They are a cute Dutch/Palomino mix. They will be a smaller breed but still adorable.
The quail eggs are due to hatch any day this week and I can barely contain my excitement. I have never seen newborn quail but I have been told that they are about the size of a thumb.
I am pleased to annnounce that the Rabbit Garden renovations are completed. The Rabbit Garden is a special garden where we grow vegetables that the rabbits like to eat. Each rabbit is given time in the garden to run, play, dig and munch on some delicious greens. The garden is fully fenced in with chicken wire buried underneath. A layer of mulch provides a nice place for the rabbits to dig and stretch out as well as helping the plants. The Rabbit Garden is even equipped with a special hutch inside for those the times that the rabbit feels the need to hide. I am looking forward to posting pictures of the rabbits playing in the garden soon!
The incubator is now full of Quail Eggs! This is a first for us here at the ranch so I hope that they all hatch. The Quail have really increased their laying now that it is spring and we are getting about a dozen eggs per day. If you've never eaten quail eggs, boy are you missing out. They have a lighter taste than a chicken egg and are packed full of nutrients. You can use quail eggs to replace regular eggs in any recipe at a ratio of 3 quail eggs per 1 chicken egg. Quail eggs contain 4 grams of protein in one serving (3 eggs). They are rich in the B vitamins riboflavin, vitamin B-12 and pantothenic acid. All three help metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrates for energy. They also prevent free radical damage to your DNA and cellular tissue, aid with the synthesis of red blood cells and hormones, and promote nervous system function. A serving of three quail eggs supplies almost 9 micrograms of selenium, or almost 16 percent of the RDA.. A diet high in selenium is thought to decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and may improve your immune system. Quail eggs also contain 1 milligram of iron in every three-egg serving. That's 12 percent of a man's daily iron needs and 5 percent of a woman's. On the down side, quail eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fat but if eaten in moderation there should be no real problems. Below is a link with complete dietary information on quial eggs. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/128/2
Quail eggs can be cooked like any other eggs: scrambled, fried, boiled. There is nothing better on a fresh salad than a few sliced quail eggs. Their small size makes them perfect for on the go snacking and children love them because they are bite sized. As an appetizer, what could be cuter than bite sized deviled eggs? Or one of my favorite ways to eat them as bite sized pickled eggs. A quick search on the internet will show many different ways to cook with quail eggs including a quail egg soup.
If you are interested in trying some of these interesting little eggs, please be sure to contact me. We sell our quail eggs for $4 a dozen and would love to offer you the chance to try something new, declicious and just plain fun to eat.
We have had alot of calls lately asking if we have any rabbits for sale from people looking to purchase one for Easter for their child. With each rabbit we sell on the Ranch, we include an adoption certificate with the rabbits birthday, a list of local vets that care for rabbits (because not all do) and two seperate sheets of "Rabbit Tips" and "Rabbit Myths". My hope is that by including these papers, each rabbit will receive the care and attention it deserves. I try to encourage everyone that calls about a rabbit to do a little research first so that they understand these are not "here today, gone tomorrow" pets. Each rabbit can live up to 10 years with proper care and nutrition. And while they are small and cute right now, they will grow into adults weighing anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds. I love all the animals here at the ranch and strive to ensure each one goes to a loving home. If you purchase a rabbit from R and J Ranch, you will be receiving a well loved pet. And if at any time you decide that you are not able to adequately care for a rabbit, we will gladly allow the rabbit to return to our ranch (this does not mean you will get a refund). With all that being said, if you find yourself ready to purchase a pet bunny please contact us and we will be glad to help you find your new furever friend.
( The baby ducklings have completed their transition and are now living with the adult ducks. Their first day out, they were a little wary of the water but with a little push from mom, they entered the pond and discovered a whole new world. They spent over an hour swimming and diving before getting out to take a nap. (Picture above) The adult ducks have taken to the babies considerably well. Of course, there has been some disrupt while the baby ducks learn the pecking order but overall it has been fairly smooth.
Ms. AnnaBell has decided that she wants to try this motherhood deal again and is now sitting on five duck eggs. She originally wanted to sit on her eggs inside the chicken coop but the chickens were not thrilled with this idea at all! Eventually she was coerced into sitting in a private coop that can be locked at night to protect her from predators but also allows her to see out on the pond.
The latest rabbit babies have been weaned and are now ready for adoption. We have received several calls from people looking for bunnies for Easter. At this time, I would like to remind everyone that bunnies are not just cute gifts; they are a living creature that requires time and care for up to 10 years. With that being said, we do allow the return of any rabbits that are purchased from the ranch in the event that you are unable to care for them. (This does not mean that money will be refunded in the even that you return your rabbit.)
The baby chicks are doing well in their outdoor brooder despite the freezing temps of yesterday. The Cornish X are growing quickly and now weigh approx 9 oz each. The Gold Lace Wyandotte's are not quite as big as the Cornish but they are holding their own.
The baby ducks are enjoying "swim time" daily now and look forward to their afternoon splash fest.
The Bunny Barn continues to be filled with hyper baby bunnies hopping all over the place. New baby bunnies are expected soon, hopefully by Sunday. I am still looking for a loving home for my sweet Cookie Stache. She is a beautiful Palomino mix that was born on the ranch. She is very sweet and loves to be petted. Contact me if you are interested.
I am a wife, mother, registered nurse and owner/operator of R and J Ranch. I am committed to living a sustainable lifestyle and ensuring the best nutrition for my family.