The Free Motion Quilting Project: The Egg Shortage and the Avian Flu

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Egg Shortage and the Avian Flu

Josh here, and today we have something completely different for you!
Our eggs, ranging from brown, pink, green, blue, and white.

If you live in the U.S., you've likely experienced rising prices on run-of-the-mill grocery store eggs, both white and brown. A virulent strain of avian flu spread through industrial sized chicken farms in the American midwest and west coast earlier this year, with the latest outbreak occurring in Iowa about a week ago.

The good news, at least according to this USDA map linked here, is the epidemic is clearly slowing down. The bad news is tens of millions of factory chickens were put down in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, and many states, including North Carolina, are taking wise precautionary moves and stopping poultry shows and auctions for the rest of the year.

The carton of eggs above were not purchased from a chain grocery store, nor were they bought from a local farmer. They were laid by our very own small flock of hens, of various breeds and funny hybridizations. I started keeping chickens in the spring of 2010. I now have nearly two dozen birds which range on our one acre property, foraging off the land after a breakfast of supplemental feed.

My birds are all healthy and thriving. However, I have not introduced any new animals to the flock and have been very careful to not visit other back yard flocks or be around other poultry. I prefer to keep things in the family...

That's me, our son James, and our two sweetest and broodiest hens, Sweet Pea the silkie chicken (held by James) and Umcka the blue wyandotte. These two girls are our best mothers, with Umcka having hatched and raised the majority of our past and current generation of hens and three docile roosters.

Sweet Pea is currently broody at the moment, sitting on a clutch of her very own (and 100% silkie!) eggs.

If you're been affected by the rising costs of eggs, or are concerned about the quality of the eggs and chicken meat from industrial chicken farms, perhaps now is the time to check out your local farmer's market or reach out to a trusted friend who keeps chickens. 

Free range and ranged eggs are infinitely better than factory eggs. The yolks are actually orange, and the fullness in flavor is hard to describe. To put it simply, once you try a true free range egg, standard grocery store eggs will always pale in comparison.

Until next time, let's go... make an omelette!



  1. Sending my husband a link to your post, I think he'll enjoy it. We used to get beautiful eggs like this from someone he worked with (until a fox got into the chicken coop and destroyed all). Those eggs, as you say, had orange yolks and flavor out the wazoo. How I miss them! (He sold them only at work for $1.00 a dozen and then eventually $2.00 a dozen, as a favor to his coworkers, while Eggland's Best was already selling for 3.00. Needless to say, that made his taste even better!). Kudos to you for keeping your chickens (and eggs) safe. Enjoy!!

  2. Josh, I enjoyed your post today. I think I'll head over to the local Farmer's Market this Saturday. I bet you are right about the taste and I would like to support our local farmers.

  3. I would love to have my own chickens. Unfortunately, I live in an area with a large number of commercial farms, and during a recent Avian Flu epidemic here, all the free-range backyard flocks were declared affected as well and had to be put down. I would hate to become attached to my chicks, only to have to let them be destroyed.

  4. We have 3 chooks and get 2-3 eggs everyday. Yes they taste better and you also know how fresh they are. We always date them so we use them in order. Free range all the way.

  5. I have my own flock of chickens and get delicious brown eggs. I don't understand why this disease is affecting only the egg laying chickens and why it hasn't attacked the broiler industry?
    During a recent visit from our grandchildren, our oldest grandson took on the responsibility of gathering the eggs. He checked the nesting boxes about every hour and ran them to me. Sometimes they got broken but he was happy and had a good time.

  6. We've been enjoying eggs from our local farmers for the past few weeks, and they are SO much better. A couple of the eggs were so large they barely fit into the carton!

  7. I grew up with chickens and want to get some at our house. Your post is another reason to add to my list of whys.


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