Michelle raised these pastured hens from chicks. They roam around the farm from dawn til dusk, eating bugs and seeds and weeds. They are supplemented with free choice antibiotic free layer feed. Michelle gardens so she has had to chicken-proof each of the garden beds and landscaped areas--they love to scratch up mulch! Luckily we have several large clumps of bushes where they can be like their ancestors, the jungle fowl, and scratch through the leaves to their hearts' content in the safety of the foliage.
The flock includes Easter Eggers, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, and two Salmon Faverolle roosters. The Easter Eggers' blue and green eggs come from the Ameraucana in their bloodlines. They have pea combs, muffs on their cheeks, and come in all colors. The Black Australorps lay brown eggs and hold the world record for number of eggs laid per year. They have a beetle-green iridescence to their features in the sunlight. The orangey Buff Orpingtons are fluffy and soft and lay lovely brown eggs as well. The Salmon Faverolle roosters are the dark chickens with white heads, necks and rumps. So far they are calm and docile, even with the toddler.
Not only do our pastured eggs taste great, studies confirm that pastured eggs are more nutritious. A 2010 study entitled "Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens" published in the Cambridge University Press compared pastured eggs to eggs from caged hens fed a commercial diet. They found twice as much Vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, 2.5 times more total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids.