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Zasso Nouka
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Zakiyama wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:23 am
As we want to accept other peoples kitchen waste eventually, we would never be all "organic".
Personally I'd avoid kitchen waste if you are selling eggs. In the UK it is illegal even for pet chickens because of the disease risk, I'm not sure of the legal position here as we ruled it out but whichever of you is registered as the animal feed manager with your animal welfare department can check.
Zakiyama wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:23 am
But I would think that if the feed is certified organic feed, at least you could say "fed organic feed".
Probably not without a JAS certificate, the problem word there is "organic". You can say a "natural" diet, GMO free or stress that you make up the feed yourself to improve the flavour of the eggs.
Zakiyama wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:23 am
We put a little sign by our eggs that emphasizes their daily life. Like access to sunshine, scratchable earth, dust bath, free choice food, and a list of what they normally eat. Although my husband thinks most customers don't care about welfare as much as they care about egg quality. Right now, we are the only ones selling eggs at the market, besides the occasional ukokke egg, and it's only a few packs, so not much effort is needed to sell out...

A picture of a happy chicken outside on your shoulder seems to be pretty effective.
We also do this, we bought a couple of cheapish tablets and have them playing videos and showing pictures of the chickens running around. That seems to help inform customers of the living conditions they have and most customers comment that they like seeing the chickens running around and eating a healthy range of food instead of caged and eating bland feed.

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Post by Zakiyama »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:50 pm
Zakiyama wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:23 am
As we want to accept other peoples kitchen waste eventually, we would never be all "organic".
Personally I'd avoid kitchen waste if you are selling eggs. In the UK it is illegal even for pet chickens because of the disease risk, I'm not sure of the legal position here as we ruled it out but whichever of you is registered as the animal feed manager with your animal welfare department can check.
Interesting, thanks for the heads up!

In the US and Canada at least, I know of a few successful chicken compost businesses, so it never occurred to me that mixing chickens and kitchen waste would be an issue. Maybe those businesses only accept restaurant waste. I don't know. I'll have to check with the prefecture.

The only thing about feed that I notice in the chicken management guidelines it to keep out wild animals and mice. The whole thing is written for factory/battery system setups though so I'm not sure how to apply it to our situation. I guess we are the first residents to actually bother to register our chickens, so the yakuba was confused and absolutely no help.

Will ask the hokenjo about a bunch of stuff and see what they say. Did you guys have an inspector come to look at your chickens?

If it's a problem, I guess we will just give the waste to soldier flies first, and give the larva to the chickens.

Also, fancy, cool idea of having a video screen!

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

We had an outbreak that was traced back to restaurant waste in the UK and they tightened up on the rules across much of Europe after that, to be on the safe side. Not sure what the legal situation is here in Japan as we decided we didn't want to be ground zero for something similar here.
Zakiyama wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:13 am
The only thing about feed that I notice in the chicken management guidelines it to keep out wild animals and mice. The whole thing is written for factory/battery system setups though so I'm not sure how to apply it to our situation. I guess we are the first residents to actually bother to register our chickens, so the yakuba was confused and absolutely no help.
Unfortunately before many small producers weren't properly registered and keeping up with vaccinations which is why they tightened up the law and made it a legal requirement to register chickens even if they are pets. So because of those folk we now all have a bit more bureaucracy to deal with and unfortunately in the permaculture world I know of several smallholders who still aren't properly registering their chickens because they don't agree with the system which will probably mean even more bureaucracy for the rest of us later.
Zakiyama wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:13 am
Will ask the hokenjo about a bunch of stuff and see what they say. Did you guys have an inspector come to look at your chickens?
Yes, we have a vet come around once a year and check the chickens out, it's a pretty informal affair and he has lunch in the cafe after. He also sells us the Newcastle disease vaccine that you are legally required to administer for pretty much cost price, it's a couple of thousand yen and you drop it in their water.
Zakiyama wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:13 am
If it's a problem, I guess we will just give the waste to soldier flies first, and give the larva to the chickens.
Soldier flies are an awesome resource for feeding chickens and can't transmit any disease at all.
Zakiyama wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:13 am
Also, fancy, cool idea of having a video screen!
Mrs Nouka came up with the idea and it seems to work well, we also have some videos showing the farm so customers can see what we do.

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Post by DocDoesFarming »

To wash eggs or not to wash eggs, that is the question.

Apparently washing eggs removes an outside protective layer making it easier for bacteria to enter and so make people sick potentially.
Correct or total bollocks?

So do you lot wash your eggs before selling or just give them a light once over with a cloth or something?
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Yes there is a protective bacterial coating on freshly laid eggs that can be removed by washing, that is true.

In Europe eggs are not washed to preserve the coating and egg laying boxes are designed so that the eggs roll away from the chickens as soon as they are laid so don't need washing so the eggs don't need to be refrigerated before sale. In the States eggs are washed so generally require refrigerating. A clean unwashed egg can last a surprisingly long time at room temperature, at least several weeks, you might not want to eat it raw by this stage but for cooking it's still fine.

If your eggs are clean maybe give them a gentle wipe with a microfibre cloth if they need it otherwise just leave them. If you have to wash your eggs then do it with warm running water, not cold water as that can cause the white inside to contract and pull in any bacteria on the shell.

Our eggs get muddy sometimes from the chickens feet when the soil outside is wet, I need to redesign their laying boxes so that eggs roll away as they are laid but so far haven't got around to it, so sometimes we wash and sometimes not.

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Post by DocDoesFarming »

Most of our chickens don't use the laying boxes we have and instead use this one corner by the door so sometimes they get dirty from the other hens trying t lay their own if we haven't had time to collect them.
I've stuck loads of straw there to try and keep them as clean as possible although maybe I need to do something to dissuade them from using that area or I just need to shift the current box to that area??

So for the time being it's ok to wash the occasional egg with warm water until they start using the laying box properly?
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Post by VanillaEssence »

You can trick them into using the laying boxes by putting some eggs there. Maybe temporarily blocking off where they currently lay will help too.

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Post by Zakiyama »

DocDoesFarming wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:54 am
Most of our chickens don't use the laying boxes we have and instead use this one corner by the door so sometimes they get dirty from the other hens trying t lay their own if we haven't had time to collect them.
I've stuck loads of straw there to try and keep them as clean as possible although maybe I need to do something to dissuade them from using that area or I just need to shift the current box to that area??

So for the time being it's ok to wash the occasional egg with warm water until they start using the laying box properly?
Yes, you can wash with warm water, but then it's better to keep the washed eggs in the fridge. Alternatively, you can wash them right before you eat them.

It's probably the easiest to move the nesting box to where your chickens have chosen. Keeping the path the chickens take to the nesting area clean and dry with extra bedding also helps clean off their feet on their way to lay.

If you'd like them to lay in their boxes where they currently are, you can try the egg trick that VanillaEssence mentioned. You can also use fake eggs, or I've heard of people using golf balls. I collected some egg-shaped rocks from the beach to use on our chickens, but they all dutifully laid in the same basket from the start.

Also consider what makes the corner more attractive than their current boxes. Is it darker, less visible?

As for washing eggs, I don't wash any of our eggs mostly because I'm super lazy. I will give them a quick wipe with a paper towel. I tried using sandpaper to remove dried dirt and poop, but I found it very hard to not sand away the shell also. Not to mention, it's more work. I haven't found anything saying that eggs must be washed before selling, so I don't.

The very clean eggs get sold for about 60yen a piece. The eggs with a small stain or two get sold for half off, or given as return gifts. The very dirty eggs we use ourselves or give to people who don't mind. This system is working for us so far, but we are only dealing with 10-15 eggs per day.

Some people have told us that they always wash their eggs before they eat them. Maybe it's a common sense thing to wash right before you eat them raw...we don't and we are fine so far.

We did find a formula in a JA manual for calculating the expiration date for eggs depending on the storage temperature. I don't remember it saying if it was for washed or unwashed. I'll dig it up and post it later...

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Post by VanillaEssence »

Ah yes as zakiyama said it’s better to use fake eggs so your chickens don’t get curious and develop a taste for delicious eggs.

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Post by DocDoesFarming »

Thank you for the suggestions, I've blocked off that area and placed a couple or golf balls in each box. Luckily the previous owner was a golfer and had a box of them handy in the garage.
I've also lifted the curtains for each box just to make it a bit easier for the hens to see the "eggs".

Not entirely sure why they like it there, it's right in the open and no different lighting wise to where the boxes are. Maybe the other hens just ended up copying the first hen to lay them there.

I'll let you know how things go.
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