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Uses for eggs on veganic farm  RSS feed

 
Mike Holmes
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Hello. I'm in the beginning stages of a brand new small scale veganic permaculture farm and eventually also a farm animal sanctuary. I have an odd question that I haven't heard an answer to yet, here it is.. What are the options for eggs on a veganic farm?..
 
elle sagenev
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Do you mean making them?

My question is, if a chicken eats bugs does that make them non-vegan? If they happen to catch a mouse or kill a wild bird, then what? Mine have done all of these things. I don't own vegan chickens so I guess I don't eat vegan eggs.
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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Are you looking for things to do with eggs other than eat them, or ways to raise chickens to lay eggs for eating that are in line with your values? If option 2, what are the values you're trying to honor? I've got some thoughts, but I'm not sure what's most helpful without more detail.
 
Mike Holmes
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Thanks for the quick reply! Actually we're all vegans at the farm and we'll only be selling veganic products and using veganic fertilizers etc. If I decide to take in some chickens or turkeys, what could I do with thier eggs that would be practical and ethical?..

So far I've heard of some people feeding the eggs back to the birds so that they can get some of the lost calcium and other goodies back into their bodies. But I would like to explore some more options if they are available.
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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Letting the birds eat the eggs is definitely the simplest option. They'll do it, happily. You could also compost the eggs to give those nutrients to your plants.

Another option that I think I would favor would be to donate the eggs to those in need. The chickens are making them anyway, you'll know you're treating the birds well, and the eggs are good nutritious food that could really make a difference for some people. You could keep an ear to the ground for folks going through hard times in your community, and just drop a few dozen off when you can, or try to set up something more official with a local food bank.
 
Thomas Partridge
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I am not sure that there is anything besides feeding the eggs back to the chickens or other animals. Assuming your target consumer is mostly vegan it may very well hurt your business' image to sell non-vegan products. Couple that with you all being vegan, it doesn't sound like you can use the eggs for human consumption at all. I don't really know a use for an egg except eating it or feeding it to something else. Decorative art perhaps?

If you are going to get chickens to fill a niche in your system, you might consider getting a variety with little to no egg production. Any eggs they produce can be hatched for chicks and the chicks sold to places you deem to be good homes. If you pop over to the livestock conservancy I wager you can find a threatened heritage breed that lays barely any eggs at all.
 
Blake Wheeler
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Guess the best question to ask is what are you using the chickens for? If it's a sanctuary type thing, aka taking in animals people don't want, you may not have much of a problem with it. Could almost imagine the chickens people don't want are the older birds with decreased egg production (that they can't bring themselves to kill) or extra roosters. You could feed the eggs back.

Personally I suggest giving them to someone who has a need for them. Shelters, soup kitchens, maybe someone you know that likes eggs and doesnt have much money to spare. It doesn't go against the ethos of the farm, as you're not personally consuming them, you're not letting the eggs go to waste, and it improves the public image of the farm. Truth be told, a little charity here and there may spark the interst of the people you're helping in veganism. Even if it doesn't it helps another person. Just my thoughts
 
William Bronson
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Zach Muller
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Yeah just breaking them on the ground and letting the chickens eat them is not really a complete waste since the nutrient will be cycled on the farm and chicken manure will be spread as they peck around.

You could feed them to dogs too. My dogs love to eat chicken eggs.

Another option is just leave then be and let the chickens hatch babies with the eggs.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Zach Muller wrote:

Another option is just leave then be and let the chickens hatch babies with the eggs.


But then, you will have even more chickens laying eggs to worry about!

It's a very interesting question and I think rocks the whole foundations of advocating a vegan lifestyle in the first place, the more you think about it. So you won't eat/use any products which has come from animals, but as soon as you keep an animal, you are faced with it being part of your ecosystem and you are going to have to accept its impact on that. I can't get my head round keeping an animal, then when it produces something, looking at it and saying "I can't use that, it would be WRONG" and just wasting it, or giving it to someone else (and therefore implicating yourself in their "wrong" lifestyle.)
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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Speaking from personal experience, at least, it's not always a matter of WRONG.

I have a very good friend who is vegan. She's been to our place, met and loved on our chickens, agrees completely that there's nothing unethical about the way we treat them or how they live. Morally, she has no objection to eating their eggs. That said, it's been so long since she's eaten an egg that she just doesn't think of them as food anymore. It's just... ick. Kind of like inviting an average American to a dinner of crickets or something.

Not eating the egg isn't necessarily wasting it. If the hens eat it, they're getting nutrition and you save that much on feed. If you compost it, you're enriching your soil.

As pointed out above though, there probably won't be too terribly many eggs. You'd be hard pressed, I think, to find many good laying hens in need of rescue.

Another idea that I now realize Zach already offered: If you have any dogs, eggs would be a great supplement to their diet.
 
Alder Burns
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If there are any cats on the farm, the eggs would be wonderful for them too, even moreso than dogs. Cats are obligate carnivores and any attempt at putting them on a vegan diet is a recipe for illness I think. Even more so than dogs......
Tweaking the birds' diet by reducing their access to protein will make them quit laying well before they become otherwise malnourished. Commercial "layer feed" is formulated with adequate protein for laying.....if you dilute this with additional grain that would be an easy way to reduce/eliminate the laying.
 
Mike Holmes
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I like all of the ideas so far and I might use each of them at some point, but as a vegan I can't see the farm having a steady stream of an animal product and carrying a vegan label at the same time. I'm not necessarily saying there is no ethical way to consume eggs. The main reason I ask the question is because there is a stigma that comes along with most things vegan to a lot of non-vegans so I don't want to run into anything that might turn vegans away as well.. If that makes sense..
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I think that people don't need to know... First of all "veganic" was not in my vocabulary until I read the original post in this thread. Still don't know if I have a good grasp of it's meaning. But the gist as I understand it is that domestic animals and their manure are prohibited in veganic production... It's annoying at my age to have to learn new vocabulary words. So from a marketing standpoint, that's a definite disadvantage to throw something like that into people's faces. I think that people don't need to know about your specific practices unless they specifically ask.

Turns out that I have been a veganic gardener for a long time and never knew it... Because I don't bring manure onto my farm. That's because of weed seed problems, and because of not being able to trust that composted manure is free of -cides, industrial chemicals, and heavy metals. And because I commute to my farm, so I can't keep the animals that I think that I aught to be keeping... But I'm not going to be applying the label veganic to my farm... I think that it would drive away perfectly good customers. There are niche markets, and then there are niche markets that are so tiny that pursuing them wouldn't make sense to me. The percent of vegans is very small to start with... I can't imagine fussing over the even smaller portion that would be offended by an animal sanctuary. Playing the numbers, I think that there are more regular people to be offended or confused by the use of "veganic", than there are vegans that care about eggs produced by refugee chickens.

But I still exploit the animals that visit my farm... I drive fence posts into the field for the Kingbirds to sit on. They eat bugs and leave manure behind.



 
Mike Holmes
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Yes, in a way I'm narrowing the market for myself, but I believe I'm also helping to open it up for others. I know from experience how hard it can be to find people or places that take ethics into account, especially when business, marketing, and money are involved. IMO we need more openly ethical businesses (not necessarily "vegan ethics", but better than what is deemed "normal" at this point in time) so that the stigmas surrounding ethics can subside sooner rather than never. If that means appealing to a minority, so be it.. I just hope people realize they can still buy awesome fruits n veggies from a veganic farm even if they eat meat..
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm the kind of guy that does not associate with, or do business with people that try to teach their ethics to me... That comes from growing up in a religious community in which some members of the community were more than willing to throw away all the ethics taught by the community if it would help in coercing someone else to live in accordance with the ethics of the community. It seems to me that the vegan community is another community which appears to generate a lot of those sorts of people -- that are so committed to an ideology that they'll forget all about common human decency in order to make a point about animals. I suspect that the only good way to appease those types of people is to not allow domesticated animals onto the farm even as refugees. I suppose that if you are going to market yourself specifically to the veganic market, then you aught to be more veganic than your most dogmatic customer. And then be discreet about it, so that people like me don't boycott you because we think that you might be trying to teach ethics to us.

I don't mind associating with or buying from "ethical" people, as long as they don't tell me about their ethics. The first time I get a talking-to about ethics is the last time I'll buy from that business.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Going back to the suggestion about feeding the eggs back to the birds that laid them, I just had the feeling you should cook them first, to lessen the risk of disease and bad habits.
 
Mike Holmes
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Noted.. I will not be preaching or teaching anyone anything they don't want to learn but if someone were to ask I won't hide my ethical methods out of fear of lost customers. And I won't be sacrificing any decency at all. I will be supporting what I believe to be ethical and not participating in things that are not. If you were to ask me about ethics and then say you will not be doing anymore business with my farm because of those ethics, I'd be confused as to why you would be anti-ethical, then we would probably part ways.. I don't understand that..
 
Mike Holmes
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:Going back to the suggestion about feeding the eggs back to the birds that laid them, I just had the feeling you should cook them first, to lessen the risk of disease and bad habits.


Thanks, I was going to ask about that actually, that makes sense..
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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People routinely ask me about my growing methods. My response is, "I don't apply poisons to my crops". I leave it exactly there... I choose to not poison my farm. No other explanation needed. I don't discuss the reasons why. I don't go on to say, "Because the use of poisons is unethical...." or the step after that and say, "And anyone that sprays poisons on their crops is unethical... And therefore every farmer at the market today is unethical except for me." or the one after that, "Because the industrialization of food production is evil... and therefore anyone that ever eats processed food is likewise evil...". No ethics need to be involved or discussed. I just don't want to apply poisons to my farm.

So if I were buying something at the farmer's market and I asked, "What are your growing methods?" I would feel fine about a response of "I don't apply poisons or animal derived fertilizers to my garden." But I'd feel very put-off if the response continued, "Because the domestication of animals is one of the greatest evils that mankind has perpetrated against the Earth."

I eat animal products, and choose not to associate with people that tell me that I'm evil for doing so. Even if they are only hinting at me being evil rather than coming right out and saying it in so many words.

Perhaps I'm hyper-sensitive to this sort of thing because I was raised in a hyper-religious community. But after I left that community and it's ways, I consistently choose to not associate with anyone that presumes to teach me about ethics. I have tons of hyper-mormon friends. But they have all been carefully screened to assure that they are non-preachy.

 
Meryt Helmer
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I am pretty sure farm sanctuary feeds the eggs back to the chickens that they rescue. it is a vegan animal sanctuary that rescues farm animals and provides them a good life.

I think a lot of people wanting veganic things for ethical reasons would be totally fine if the chickens are rescue ones. if not then maybe not mention that or just explain how you are doing it and why you are doing it. it seems like mostly vegan people would care about the quality of life of the chickens and want you to do with the eggs whatever would help the most with that.
 
Mike Holmes
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Lol ya, I wouldn't say any of that either. It seems you have me confused with someone that would be handing out slaughterhouse photos at the farmers market or something.. Lol.. Not my mission, let me know what it was that I said that gave you that impression.. Though there is no doubt that animal ag and the chems are problems on a large scale, I hope people will be able to see there are other ways on their own.. Some people are attracted to the idea because a lot of people think animals and fertilizers are absolutely essential to any farm and some like to hear that they could do some of the techniques in their own backyard right now..
 
Mike Holmes
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Yes I think feeding the eggs back would probably be best.. I'm still thinking about whether or not to cook them though..
 
Meryt Helmer
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oh dear no! I was not thinking that at all! I was just thinking of what I remembered from my hard core vegan days and I was never like that at all. I just have serious ptsd from stuff related to animals (and plenty of other stuff) in my childhood and basically had to be vegan for a long time. now I go back and fourth and my own garden is not vegan as far as manure goes. I have always liked what farm sanctuary does though and I was thinking that people who are very hard core vegan would want to buy what you are selling.

Mike Holmes wrote:Lol ya, I wouldn't say any of that either. It seems you have me confused with someone that would be handing out slaughterhouse photos at the farmers market or something.. Lol.. Not my mission, let me know what it was that I said that gave you that impression.. Though there is no doubt that animal ag and the chems are problems on a large scale, I hope people will be able to see there are other ways on their own.. Some people are attracted to the idea because a lot of people think animals and fertilizers are absolutely essential to any farm and some like to hear that they could do some of the techniques in their own backyard right now..
 
Mike Holmes
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Meryt Helmer wrote:oh dear no! I was not thinking that at all! I was just thinking of what I remembered from my hard core vegan days and I was never like that at all. I just have serious ptsd from stuff related to animals (and plenty of other stuff) in my childhood and basically had to be vegan for a long time. now I go back and fourth and my own garden is not vegan as far as manure goes. I have always liked what farm sanctuary does though and I was thinking that people who are very hard core vegan would want to buy what you are selling.

Mike Holmes wrote:Lol ya, I wouldn't say any of that either. It seems you have me confused with someone that would be handing out slaughterhouse photos at the farmers market or something.. Lol.. Not my mission, let me know what it was that I said that gave you that impression.. Though there is no doubt that animal ag and the chems are problems on a large scale, I hope people will be able to see there are other ways on their own.. Some people are attracted to the idea because a lot of people think animals and fertilizers are absolutely essential to any farm and some like to hear that they could do some of the techniques in their own backyard right now..

Sorry, I was replying to a previous post with that comment. My reply to your post was after the one you quoted. lol, my bad..
 
Meryt Helmer
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heh ok

my brain is sort of mush right now do to health problems. in fact I just spelled nrain instead of brain.
 
Thomas Wright
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I don't think finding a use for eggs fits in with the vegan lifestyle. If it were me, I would change how the farm is labeled or stick with the vegan standards. However, it's not like you have to go through certification if you label the farm vegan, as opposed to being certified organic by USDA. From what I've seen, most people who consider themselves vegan only follow the diet anyway.
 
Joe Kilcoyne
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Mike Holmes wrote:Noted.. I will not be preaching or teaching anyone anything they don't want to learn but if someone were to ask I won't hide my ethical methods out of fear of lost customers. And I won't be sacrificing any decency at all. I will be supporting what I believe to be ethical and not participating in things that are not. If you were to ask me about ethics and then say you will not be doing anymore business with my farm because of those ethics, I'd be confused as to why you would be anti-ethical, then we would probably part ways.. I don't understand that..


I agree. There is a big difference between offering your product and how you create it and telling others how they should live their life. Offering your goods to the market and differentiating yourself from other farms through your ideas, or the customers you think you can attract is important. I would venture to guess that all of us on here live our lives according to what we think is right and wrong. Your opinion on that is just as important as mine, and you don't have to cater to my opinion by limiting your dreams and business ideas. That may be your downfall or it may be your ticket.

The interesting thing is that our farm is a combination vegan permaculture/animal sanctuary and we have had no backlash from vegans(yet). I have been involved in that community for a long time and know many of them. The accusations that have come to us saying we do not understand have been from non vegans who have asked questions such as "how will you keep the bees and other insects out since you will have no animal inputs in your farm" What they don't understand is that it is not our desire to have no animal inputs on the project. It is not only impossible, it is not our goal.

What we are very interested in is living lives that test our principles. We want vegans to understand that those soybean and corn fields are also factory farms. We want vegans to understand that their protein needs to come from other foods in order to be sustainable. In a way our project will be more critical of vegans because that is the community we most associate with, and in all honesty many have a lot to learn about food sourcing. As do non vegans alike.

By definition, it is not waste if the eggs are composted or fed to non human animals on the farm. This is a direct cycling of nutrients, that will improve the soil and in turn your products. Should you not consider eggs to be human food, you should not be ashamed to let them go back to the earth through other means than a human digestive tract.
 
Mike Holmes
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Thanks Joe Kilcoyne for the reassurance, it's nice to hear from others that are doing similar things.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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I think feeding the eggs back to the chickens and/or other animals will probably be your best bet. I would look at where I needed the greatest outside inputs and/or what was causing the most problems logistically, and apply the extra nutrition there.

For instance, if you have to buy a lot of chicken feed, then obviously feeding them back to the chickens would be a win. Or if you have cats, and you dislike buying meat-based food for them, and/or they tend to catch local birds and critters and negatively impact the ecology, feed it to them (if they'll eat it--we've had cats that would, cats that wouldn't). Or if you have dogs, you might be able to feed them entirely on eggs + scraps and not have to buy dog food at all. Pigs are another animal that will eat anything, if you're doing a farm sanctuary kind of thing. I would cook the eggs--especially if feeding them to dogs, as dogs may get a taste for the raw eggs, figure out that they come from the chickens, and start harassing the chickens in order to steal from the nests. The idea is kind of to "disguise" the egg by cooking and smashing it, for instance. Cats usually won't eat them cooked, though, in my experience.

I have also successfully composted eggs, but we have a quite a lot of space and an open pile with meat/grease/eggs/etc. can be kept far enough away from the house and animals so as not to cause many problems, unpleasant odors, etc. I don't recommend composting eggs too near the chicken house, since you are liable to attract predators that will be interested in eating your chickens.
 
Lion Gladden
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Apologies for necroing an older thread, but here's something that hasn't been mentioned.

If you give chickens raw eggs (especially with the shells still on) they will quite possibly start pecking at/eating their own eggs right in the nest. (Which also becomes messy and a breeding ground for disease. This is generally NOT considered a good habit for chickens. Especially if you're considering re-homing the chickens at some point, I would not do this, and only give them cooked eggs. (You could potentially grind the dried eggshells and sneak that into their feed/oyster mash so that they don't associate it with their eggs.)

I also second (or fifth or whatever) the ideas of feeding the eggs to cats/dogs or giving them to food pantries.
 
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- Lots of good suggestions here, I just want to tack on to William Bronson's suggestion of use to make paint use as Sizing and Glue !

Here i use a sub-plotline from an early story of Pearl S. Buck ! For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
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