Frequently Asked Questions
What benefits are derived from JRS Country Acres sourcing eggs from other WI family farmers?
JRS Country Acres assists other small family farms by; (1) providing washing, grading and packaging services, (2) providing access to larger marketplace sales opportunities, and (3) by providing farm families with a living wage and fair price for their eggs.
What do you mean by small family farms?
Currently all our eggs come from small Amish farms. By small we mean barns with less than 10,000 birds. Some people think wow, that’s a lot of birds, but in the egg world, it is tiny compared to the huge corporate barns with millions of birds per barn. In addition, a flock of this size or less is easily managed by the family.
How are Amish barns different?
Having no electricity, their poultry barns are unique compared to modern poultry barns. The barns have curtains, which are manually raised to let in fresh air and chimneys to expel the heat. They light propane lanterns every day to provide birds with 16 hours of light needed to lay eggs. The water is pumped from the well by an air pump to either nipple drinkers or bell waterers. Feeders are filled manually every morning and afternoon with a scoop shovel. The feed carrier moves along a rail system attached to the ceiling and is pushed along to each feeder. The eggs are hand collected every day by older children and adults, put into 30 count paper flats and stacked on a cart. After collection, the eggs are stacked on a pallet and placed in an egg cooler. The egg cooler (refrigerator) is maintained at 45 degrees or below by means of a diesel generator.
How often do you pick up the eggs from the farms?
We pick up eggs twice per week in a refrigerated truck and transport them back to the egg washing and packaging facility located on our farm.
Are the farms certified humane?
Some of the farms are certified humane. However, all of our partners follow published humane hen care standards for cage free birds and each is dedicated to the welfare of the birds. We are working with those that are not certified humane to become certified humane. The independent review process takes a little bit of time to accomplish. We hope to have all the farms certified humane by the end of 2013.
Are the hens free ranged?
No. There are rules by the FDA that all our partners must follow for the prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis (food poisoning). Because the Salmonella bacteria is commonly spread by wild animals, rodents and birds, we feel that keeping the hens comfortable and safe indoors in a cage free environment will minimize the risk of exposure to this bacteria and passage into the egg. Being cage free, hens can perch, roam, dust bathe, and socialize, etc. in a safe environment. The FDA does not require hens to be kept indoors, but we feel this is in the best interest of the birds and our business.
Are there any antibiotics or hormones in the feed?
No! There are not any hormones or additives in the feed or water that help gain weight, lay more often or “color” the egg yolk; nor are there any low dose antibiotics used to keep the birds healthy. Our partners provide a healthy environment for the hens by providing ample room, proper ventilation, and quality feed and water. Our partners do make sure all the birds are vaccinated against common poultry diseases.
Why are the hens fed a vegetarian diet?
We do not believe in feeding protein from animal by products. Our partners work with a feed specialist to provide a nutritious diet that contains soy meal, corn, dried distillers grain, wheat, probiotics(yeast), and natural vitamin supplements.
Where does the feed come from?
We believe in supporting area grain farmers. Currently all of our partners are located near Platteville, WI. All feed is purchased from feed mills in that area.
How long can I keep eggs refrigerated?
In the State of Wisconsin, eggs are good for an additional 30 days after the sell by date.
Do your birds exhibit natural behaviors in the barn?
Yes. There is room to perch; they have scratching and socializing areas, and constant access to fresh food and water. If the hens are not happy and well cared for they will not lay eggs. Hens that are stressed go into survival-mode and do not produce eggs.
Do you use forced molting or de beak your hens in your egg production?
No. Forced molting is unhealthy and stressful for the hens. Likewise, we do not beak trim.
Why are there occasional blood specks in the egg?
These are not blood specks but meat spots (protein spots). They are not contained in all of the eggs but do indicate freshness. After a couple of days they should disappear. This is quite common in brown shelled eggs and does not affect flavor or texture of the cooked egg.
Why do I have trouble peeling?
A fresh egg does not peel well because there is very little air between the shell and the albumen to allow the whites to pull away from the shell. If you allow the egg to sit in the refrigerator for about three weeks it will peel much easier.