Saturday, August 21, 2010

Egg Recall and Bio-security

By now most everyone has heard of the recall of over half a billion eggs due to Salmonella, which has caused illness in probably over 1,000 people.  The eggs being recalled have been sold under the name brands of Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, Sunny Meadow, Wholesome Farms and West Creek.  According to reports on the news, the affected eggs were packaged anywhere from April through August of this year.  That's a long stretch!
I explained to my girls that because of the recall, they might be forced into "Overtime Production".  They immediately stopped dead in their little chicken tracks, with shocked looks written all over their little hen faces!  Lizzy (front left of photo above) reminded me that they only lay one egg per 24 hour period - but perhaps if I provided extra treats of melon and peas, they just MIGHT be able to do an egg every 22 hours.... "Don't rush PERFECTION", she added!  We'll find out shortly if the recall increases customer demand.  It might necessitate adding a few new "working girls" to the flock!

Neglecting Bio-security Rules at the battery egg  farms is apparently the cause of the issues at the Iowa farm.  Different rules apply when it comes to large operations and the backyard poultry owner.  Large farms require disposable foot gear slid on over shoes or boots, changeable for each separate building housing poultry.  Visitors must be supplied with overalls and boots by the farm owner before entering the poultry areas.  New hens should never be mixed in a previously established poultry housing unit. Sanitized water must be supplied for the birds in each unit.  Birds must not be stressed and the numbers of hens living in each size cage must be enforced to government standards.  And, cleanliness of pens and buildings, vaccinations, and rodent control are some things that are always of importance.
For us "Backyard Coop Keepers" who do not own astronomical amounts of hens, certain rules and common sense apply.  Clean water, feed stored in rodent-proof containers, and clean dry bedding are the basics.  Moldy or wet feed should be removed as soon as discovered.  It is always best not to mix ages of hens, since the young ones might get picked on by the older girls, and as an added note, not all breeds of hens will get along, so when introducing hens, be sure to take care and keep a sharp eye out for bullying and hen pecking!  Another caveat - do not borrow or share poultry tools with other poultry owners. Infections can be unknowingly spread that way.
I enjoy interaction with my girls, and when I clean the nest boxes every day, they can hardly wait for the new paper shreds to be added to the shavings!  The main hen house floor gets debris and dampness removed, so flys are not attracted.  It only takes a minute to clear the mess from last evenings Roost Fest, change the "sheets" in the nest boxes, and to replenish the oyster shell calcium and grit in their bowls and trays.  Our hen house is manageable and I don't have to ever stoop down for chores or egg collection!  I have time to give the girls the "once over" to be sure no one is hurt or ill, and time to scatter some seeds for their entertainment!  Cleaning down to the bare bones of the house is done once a week, when everything is dusted for bugs and the shavings are replenished with fresh smelling pine!  Sometimes I even add chopped lavender to the mix - it makes it somewhat of a SPA ATMOSPHERE - and lavender is good snacking for the hens, as well!

Happy Hens mean Healthy Eggs!


Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Good Morning Sweetie...
Oh I love to have you write about the girls. They are so darn cute. I love their little faces most of all. I love the little one on the left in the picture. She looks as tho her little cheeks are blushed with the white circle. So precious. She looks like a "Back Off Sister" to me. What is her name?

I love seeing your Coop. It is darling. The Chicken with the Chicken Dinner sign is precious. What is the little hole in the middle of the chicken for? Is is to pick up eggs?

Do you have to heat this in the winter? I was always curious as to how they stay warm? Your coop is one of the snazziest I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing this morning. I love to come see you and the Girls.

Many hugs and much love, Sherry

Becky K. said...

You are so very funny. But, you know, I totally get it. I had to laugh the other day as I headed up to visit my chicken buddies...they all stood in a line across the doorway watching with anticipation to see if I had greens or their chick mash. I didn't have either but turned right around and got a cup full of mash to spread for them. It makes them happy to see me.

Becky K.

Rose said...

thanks for sharing about the recall. i love the way you talk about your"babies". have a good weekend. rose

Angela said...

Thanks for sharing with us about the recall Chicken Wrangler! I'm so glad that that isn't the brand of eggs that I buy at the store although I do believe I did purchase them last month when I was at a store that didn't carry my usual brand of Egglands Best. I just talked to my mom who said that is the brand of eggs that she has been eating is the one in the recall! She also said that her stomach has been getting upset a lot lately!

Your girls are so darn cute! You can see that you take very good care of them! I love seeing pictures of them too!


Chatty Crone said...

Your 'kept' girls are very lucky to have you as their keeper.


^..^Corgidogmama said...

You are a good madam to your 'working girls'....he hee!
You've designed those coops to make cleanliness and good housekeeping a breeze! Lots of good, common sense info here! So enjoy this blog!

The Pain Relief Center said...

very amusing post!

much of what you say is written up on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA.

Here's a video they made to raise awareness of poulty health and an announcement of a cute contest:

Anonymous said...

Chopped lavender! Awwww, your little hens know they are not only cared for, but loved!
Happy day to you & yours,

Rose said...

jumping back thanks for your comment on my post re military. hope it's a good Sunday. Rose

Melissa Miller said...

Oh they are just precious. I just adore all animals.

Thank you for your kind visit. It's nice to meet you. Come by anytime!

Warmly, ~Melissa :)