I have read a couple of articles recently on the differences between pasture-raised eggs and confinement eggs. Both point out the advantages of eggs from pasture, one somewhat subjectively, one scientifically. The Mother Earth News article goes pretty far in depth. The Pantry Paratus article is lighter and has a nice video of a small egg handling machine.
I have an egg handling machine. Two of them, in fact. Both are 1976 models. They work to collect, carry, wash, weigh, candle and pack the eggs. Every day. They are a little older. They show signs of wear, they are a bit scratched up, scarred and thickened…but they are clean.
Actually, they don’t look too bad in that picture. They will by the end of the week when we finish putting up hay. Oh, well. They are multi-purpose machines. In fact, the greater the variety of work I put them to, the longer they last. I don’t spend 8 hours every day packing eggs with them. I don’t spend 8 hours/day every day processing chicken either. We keep our enterprises small enough that each of them is just a portion of our day, minimizing repetitive stress, minimizing drudgery. It’s work but it’s pleasant work.
I’m a small, diversified farmer. I can do that.
Back to eggs. My chickens get enough pasture to last them 3 days. They sanitize the pasture and eat any weeds the goats leave behind and devour bugs. They scratch, dig and poop. They eat worms and leave behind things for worms to eat. Then we move everybody again. The pasture is better where the chickens have been. The eggs are better because of fresh pasture. The periodic, intense disturbance cycle makes everything better.
Best of all, it makes an egg that is out of this world and, according to the research in the Mother Earth article, is healthier than most. Does your farmer move his chickens to fresh pasture regularly?
My 1971 models are holding up pretty well too.
I did a fun side-by-side comparison between some pastured eggs and factory eggs a few years ago; it converted a few people permanently! LOL.
I used to work at a poultry processing facility (just a small local one) and while my hours were pretty close to 8 hours each day, we went no where near the speed of the big slaughterhouses… But boy oh boy were we sore and hurting after awhile. Like the article mentioned, you start using those same muscles over and over again and it really wears on you. I think we only did 500 to 700 birds a day… A really busy day might be 1000, but we tried not to do such big orders too often for obvious reasons! I did get really good at processing chickens though, and for that I am grateful.
Love the egg handling machines! Too funny!