As I write, Chris is making breakfast. He walked over to me, holding a bowl, and asked, "is there really a comparison?" Peering into the bowl, I could immediately tell which of the eggs we purchased at the grocery store, and which we got from a local farmer. No comparison, there is much more color to an egg from a chicken who roams around eating fresh greens, flowers and bugs. In dietitian school, I was told that the deeper color a fruit or vegetable is, the more nutrients and antioxidants it provides to the body (although, white veggies do provide important things too). I wonder, is it the same with eggs - the darker the color, the more nutrition?
I wrote earlier that Chris and I got our first chickens mid-February. They supposedly start laying at ~5 months, so we are still waiting. We discovered chicken-parenting is easy, and are excited about the fresh egg payoff, the amount of compostable material we get from the run, and the organic bug and weed control they provide. Growing popularity of city chickens has caused many old city ordinances banning poultry from back yards to change recently. In Wichita, six chickens are allowed per city lot (no roosters). If you've got an interest in raising chickens yourself, here are a couple of websites to get you started:
The City Chicken: This website includes hundreds of pictures of chicken tractors, a chicken coop that has wheels. Why wheels? You can move this type of coop around the yard, allowing the chickens to fertilize different areas. Our coop does not have wheels, so it stays in one place, but I recommend choosing a chicken tractor (wish we had!).
Back Yard Chickens: This site has a lot of info to get you started, and a helpful forum where you can ask questions as they come up.
WARNING: If, like Chris, you plan to make chicken soup from your chickens once they are done laying, don't name them! A smart farmer never names their animals, however, Chris was calling our three girls "chicken leg, chicken thigh, and chicken wing." Ugh!