We are not saying our eggs are better than anyone else’s, but we believe it’s not possible to have better eggs than we produce. It’s very likely that you have never had an egg this good! Read why below:
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First a Little About Us:
First a little about us: DyberryCreek.Farm is located in the Pocono Mountains in the North East corner of Pennsylvania. We are a small farm of 60 acres that was established in 1853. We specialize in small batch, premium, heritage fruit and maple products and high-end premium eggs.
We do everything possible to ensure our products are as natural, healthy, and nutritious as possible. We are in the midst of the 3-year process of obtaining certification as organic. We never use chemicals, we never over-crowd, and we hand pick, inspect, and pack every item ourselves. We choose to stay small and high end no matter the cost. We will cut back before we cut corners. As a result, our items are available in limited quantities at limited times and are more expensive than average. Read on to learn more.
What our chickens (and you) eat:
Our chickens are pasture raised (see below), so they spend the entire day doing what chickens have done for thousands of years: scratching and hunting for bugs and worms and eating wild plants.
In addition, our chickens are open-fed organic, non-GMO, soy-free feed designed specifically for egg layers. We felt strongly that we wanted to feed our birds food we would eat ourselves – and we were willing to pay about twice what “regular” organic feed from the farm store costs. We buy it fresh by the pallet from New Country Organics in Virginia (for more visit http://www.newcountryorgancs.com).
Our chickens’ feed is made exclusively with organic field peas, corn, oats, and wheat, supplemented with kelp and organic alfalfa. It’s formulated with additional calcium for eggshell strength and organic flaxseed to increase the omega-3 content of the eggs.
The feed we buy is soy free. Soy has become a problematic ingredient these days. The likelihood is very high that soy you buy is transgenic, genetically modified. Soy can actually block uptake of vitamins and minerals in animals. Not only is this a waste, but it’s creating pollution problems. Soy is high in phytoestrogens (which transfer to us and our children, potentially causing earlier adolescence). Soy is also high in trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is an enzyme that helps to break down many different proteins. Inhibition of trypsin contributes to allergies.
What they drink:
Clean fresh water is critical to healthy birds. Our chickens have fresh water available all day. It comes from our well, which has been delivering clean Pocono mountain spring water at our farm for generations. The water is really good, so good that about 5 miles away Fox Ledge (www.foxledge.com) bottles water for sale throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Their certification states there is are no detected microbiological, radiological, or volatile organic compounds in the water.
Our chickens’ water is always clean because it is never in contact with the ground, bedding, or chicken feathers or droppings. Our chickens have been trained to drink from nipples on water containers that are sealed from the outside environment.
Where they live:
Outside: 95% of chickens in the world live in a wire cage with 5 to 10 other birds in an amount of floor space equivalent to less than a sheet of letter-size paper each. Be educated on the terms you see on the eggs you buy in the store!
Cage-free just requires that chickens don’t live in small cages – but usually, these chickens live in a large warehouse with an average of 100,000 other birds, never seeing the outdoors. Often their beaks are burned off so they don’t peck each other to death in the stress of the crowded confines.
Free-range requires that chickens have access to the outdoors, but there is no requirement for how long or how much outdoor space each bird has. Animal rights organizations are trying to make it a legal requirement that to use the term each bird gets 2 square feet of outside space each.
Pasture-raised is the latest term. It requires that outdoor space is provided. Regulations permit up to 1,000 chickens per 2.5 acres of land, i.e. 108 square feet/bird (that’s 10 feet by 18 feet each). There may or may not be any grass etc. in this enclosure, and 1,000 chickens can turn a couple acres of land into nothing but mud and droppings pretty quickly.
Our chickens have completely free access to the outdoors from sunrise until sunset. They are free to wander our 60+ acres (that’s an average of ¾ acre per bird!) all day long. They are often grazing in our yard (especially after we mow it), but they also have woods, pasture and our orchard to enjoy all day. They can be in the sun, in the shade, in a tree, dustbathing beneath a hedge – and they have their favorite spots. They seem to discuss amongst themselves (Hey, who wants to go to the spruces?), pick a few friends, and go do as they please. At any time they are free to go back to the barn to eat their feed, drink water, roost and nap…and lay us an amazing egg.
An hour or so before nightfall, all the chickens go into their home for the night (see below). Once it’s dark, the solar-powered automated door on their home closes so they are perfectly safe at night when most predators are active. During the day, the roosters and our dogs keep the hens alerted and protected from predators like hawks.
Inside: Home for our birds is inside our 2-story dairy barn. Originally, the top floor was for hay and the bottom was for milking cows, but it was last used as a horse barn. We have taken one of the horse stalls and converted it into the chicken’s home. It has large windows on 3 sides (2 outside and one to the inside of the barn) and lots of roosting bars set at various heights. They also have their feeders and nesting boxes here. Water is outside since it’s better for the birds to keep dampness out of their coop.
In warm weather, we open the windows (they have screens on them) so a nice breeze blows through. In the winter we close the outside windows, but the large window into the barn stays open for ventilation. Chickens don’t really need heat, but we monitor the temperature and humidly via WIFI to ensure the temperature doesn’t get too cold; if it does we provide a little heat to ensure they’re comfy. They come and go through a solar-powered, solar-triggered automated door that automatically opens at daylight and closes at dark each day.
Even if home conditions are ideal, chickens can be impacted by the neighbors. If there is chemical spraying from the farm next door, then they will be impacted as well. Manufacturing, mining, and drilling can all impact the environment miles away.
At Dyberry Creek Farm, we live next door to a 400-acre holistic yoga conference center. For nearly 50 years they have been growing and serving organic vegetarian foods, and meditating 365 days a year. Some think the water and the grounds are filled with good energy, and many come for healing. On the other side, we’re next to 4,000 contiguous acres of Pennsylvania game lands. This land is filled with nothing but protected undeveloped raw nature. It’s mostly thick forest land with streams known for fly fishing.
Our birds – unusual chickens and eggs:
There are around 500 different chicken breeds in the world. You probably have had eggs from only about 5 of them. We have over 40 different breeds; many are heritage breeds and some are quite rare. Take a look on our website and prepare to be amazed! The Wall Street Journal profiled us and our unique chickens in October 2017.
Our chickens are special, and they know it. Each of our chickens has a name. Many come to you when you approach, and will eat from your hand. They are happy, safe, healthy birds.
When you eat our eggs, consider this: Have you ever before had an egg from a Swedish Black chicken? It’s all black: feathers, beak, skin, bones, even its internal organs. How about an egg from a Belgian Liege Fighter, an Egyptian Fayumi, an Andalusian Blue, an Australian Australorp, a Lavender Orpington, a Sultan, an Appenzeller, or a White-Crested Black Polish? Most people never encounter such chickens or their eggs, in their lifetime.
Chicken eggs from all these breeds vary wildly in appearance. Each breed lays a specific type of egg. Some are white or light brown, some pinkish, some cream, some dark chocolate brown, some speckled, and some even green or blue. Some eggs are small, some huge, some oval or pointed, some round. They’re beautiful. And they’re all the same on the inside.
A Little Bit About Roosters:
Hens in industrial egg production don’t live with roosters. Hens don’t need roosters in order to lay eggs. Typically, the roosters are killed off at an early age.
Our mixed flock includes both hens and roosters, about 15 roosters at the present moment. Some feel you can’t have more than one or two roosters in a flock. We’ve raised them all from chicks, and they get along well with people and each other. Perhaps since they have so much space to roam, there is just less need for them to fight with each other. The roosters are extra beautiful, and we like to hear their crows as they go about the day. We also value our roosters for the great job they do protecting the hens. Before we got roosters, we lost a few hens to hawks during the day. Since the roosters joined the flock, we haven’t had any such issues.
Having roosters around means our eggs are fertilized. Some people feel that fertilized eggs are tastier or better for you; we don’t notice a difference. No, fertilized eggs can’t hatch sitting there on your counter or in your refrigerator! They have to be perfectly incubated, for weeks, by a hen or in an incubator. For eggs that aren’t incubated but are collected for eating (like ours), there’s essentially no difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs. We just think it’s the way nature intended, and it’s good for the flock.
Organic: means the hens must have been on an organically certified farm since being 3 days old. Their feed must be organic and their bedding as well. Organic does not mean they can’t be in cages, nor does it guarantee they ever see sunlight!
Hormone Free: means hormones are not given to the animals. This usually applies to animals being raised for meat, since in industrial production they are often given growth hormones to get bigger faster.
How to tell if you have a fresh egg:
Our eggs are delivered anywhere from hours to a few days old. That’s fresh! Eat them as soon as you get them, and experience how a really, really fresh egg looks, smells, and tastes.
Crack an egg open and look at it in the pan. Give it a good crack – the shells are strong! Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice is the yolk color. Instead of pale yellow it will be a vibrant dark yellow or sometimes almost orange. This is due to a high-quality, free-range diet, out in the sunshine. Notice the egg white also. It won’t spread thinly like water, but will be clear and sit up in the pan, almost like gelatin. In terms of smell, what you’ll notice is the absence of that odd (some say chemical / industrial) smell you always thought eggs have. Ours do not. Lastly, taste! You’ll find our eggs have much more flavor to them than common eggs, and are custardy in texture. Warning: it’s hard to go back to “regular” eggs!
Eggs from the store: Eggs have a really long shelf life. Eggs will last for at least 66 days from the date they are placed into a carton, i.e. 3-4 weeks beyond the “best by” date normally stamped on the carton. To get fresher eggs, know where they came from, and get them as locally as possible so they don’t spend a lot of time in transport or sitting at the store.
A popular way to test eggs for freshness is the float test. Fill a bowl with cold water and place your eggs in the bowl. If they sink to the bottom and lay flat on their sides, they’re very fresh. If they’re a few weeks old but still ok to eat, they’ll stand on one end at the bottom of the bowl. If they are spoiled, they will float. This test works due to the naturally occurring air bubble inside the egg, which expands as the egg ages.
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