Dear Mother: December 2007/January 2008

Letters from our readers on everything from local beer to free-range eggs.

| December 2007/January 2008

  • Eggs Bowl
    Real free-range eggs offer better nutrition and less cholesterol than conventional eggs.
    Reduce your carbon footprint by buying locally made beer, wine and food.
    Wind turbines provide clean, renewable energy, but readers debate their aesthetic merits.
    One Mother reader overcame a fear of Spiders to befriend Georgina, a spider much like this yellow and black garden spider

  • Eggs Bowl

Our report on the nutrient content of free-range eggs prompted a great letter from Tammi Trotter (below). She says their Rhode Island red chicks raised free-range began laying eggs 12 weeks sooner than the same breed of chicks raised in a pen. This could be yet another factor to encourage all egg producers to utilize pastured poultry systems, which in turn would mean more nutritious eggs for the public and more humane conditions for the chickens.

Last issue’s cover story, Live on Less and Love It, prompted a lively exchange online. Several folks were offended by the suggestion that low-income people would promote a national health care system. Others very much appreciated the article; one reader wrote about his neighbors who “embody so much of the thrifty-in-dollars-but-rich-in-creativity lifestyle that MEN has always tried to encourage. I applaud MEN for making this the cover story.” Join the conversation in the comments section below. —Mother

Our Free-range Hens Begin Laying 12 Weeks Before Penned Chickens!

Not only do free-range chickens produce healthier eggs (Meet Real Free-range Eggs, October/November 2007), but they also lay more healthier eggs! On Valentine’s Day 2003, we purchased 25 Rhode Island red chicks through the mail. We confined the chickens in a 10-by-20-foot pen with nesting and roosting facilities. They were fed Tindles starter/grower, and laid their first eggs after about 28 weeks (from chick to egg), confined. Mid-March of this year we ordered a dozen Rhode Island reds from the same hatchery. They were confined and fed the exact same feed until the chicks were feathered. Then we released them to free-range open pasture daily. In the second week of July we found three freshly laid eggs in the nests, and they continued to increase production daily. The only difference between the two flocks was that the second flock was able to free range on open pasture daily. The free-range chickens produced eggs 12 weeks earlier than the confined ones. At 70 percent production, our free-range chickens produced 756 eggs before the confined flock produced its first egg. (That’s 12 hens x 70 percent = 9 eggs per day x 7 days per week x 12 weeks earlier.) If a Mother reader is debating confined versus free-range flocks, this should help them to see the benefits of free-range chickens.

Tammi Trotter
Calico Rock, Arkansas

We urge those of you who raise chickens to run similar comparisons and report back to us when your birds begin laying. — Mother

Egg-ceptional Eggs!

Regarding your article on real free-range eggs: I get them from a local producer and I advise others to do the same. They would definitely see and taste the difference compared to those that are mass-produced. The conventional eggs in the grocery store have no flavor and barely any color in the yolk. The free-range egg has a wonderful, dark yellow yolk and solid white. No runny eggs here. They are packed with flavor. Anyone who says that an egg is an egg is an egg doesn’t know much about eggs.

12/1/2007 1:49:11 PM

I agree with Mr. Walat. I find it highly irresponsible for anyone to think that another individual should fund their healthcare. My family works hard to provide adequate health coverage and we strive to live responsible and healthy lives. I would not expect anyone to pick up my slack because I choose to live frugally or below my means. Tax-payer funded healthcare should be available for those who truly need assistance because they do not have the physical or emotional means--not because they choose a certain lifestyle.

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