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Delicious farm eggs at home: Own your own poultry

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Farm fresh eggs are completely different from their store bought counterparts. A farm fresh egg has a vibrant yolk and contains more nutrients than those eggs from high production facilities. Recipes and food taste their best when you start with the best ingredients.

Owning your own poultry is not as daunting a task as one might think. If you live in an apartment complex, I do not recommend buying and maintaining your own flock of birds, but owning a farm and 50 acres is not a necessity to farm fresh eggs.

We own one female duck, a Khaki Campbell. These small ducks (roughly 4 pounds at adult weight) produce around 300 eggs a year. Enough to contend with any chicken! Birds are communal animals, so they need a partner to be their happiest. Ours has a male Indian Runner companion. To keep them safe, the ducks have their own fenced off pen, complete with a kiddie pool of water and shelter. They are fed a mixture of grain and vegetables each day, and are free to roam and eat as much grass and as many bugs as they wish.

For a family of four, two females will lay more than enough eggs to keep everyone fed and happy. If you prefer chickens, do some research on the bird that will best suit your purpose. There are many farms in the area that have ducks and chickens available. Keep in mind while buying that most birds are "straight run," meaning they have not been sexed as male or female. You take a gamble here on possibly getting cocks instead of hens. "Pullets" are the young female hens. Poultry Hollow has an almost steady supply of young hatchlings up to adult birds. Also, check out craigslist.org and search for small farms selling baby chicks and ducklings.

If you absolutely cannot raise your own birds and eggs, then check out your local farmer's market. Fresh eggs can be bought directly from the farmers themselves.

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