Heritage Poultry & Eggs

is a Step From The Past into the Future, Focusing on Egg and Meat Quality

by Ben Roberts

Over the years I’ve watched the decline in the quality of chickens and eggs by the multi-national corporations in their quest for greater production. They have given up the quality in the eggs that the protein standard of the world was set by. Consumers prefer eggs with better shells, substance, and keeping quality. So to improve the quality of the eggs, I had to have a free range hen. I found a hatchery that hatched the heritage breeds of poultry so I could improve the interior quality of eggs. Along with a well-balanced diet of proteins, vitamins, minerals, herbs and what-ever mother-nature has to offer everyday. I believe I have developed the highest quality of egg. Our heritage poultry range over the same pastures as the cattle and sheep.

We are working hard to develop our own strain of broilers, bred from our flock of heritage breeders exclusively as a more robust pastured alternative to the Cornish cross. The chicks remain in a brooder house until they are well-feathered, and then go directly on to the pastures.

We have also been selling free range, fresh duck eggs for years as many people feel our duck eggs are unbeatable for baking and pastries. In addition, many of those allergic to chicken eggs can often use duck eggs instead. Duck eggs have nutritional and storage advantages. The only disadvantage of duck eggs is the whites do not beat up as easily as chicken eggs, but there are ways around this, as explained below. Jumbo chicken eggs average 2.5 ounces per egg and most of our duck eggs are larger than the chicken eggs.

Under refrigeration (34 to 40 degrees F), eggs can be kept safely for up to six weeks. By sealing freshly laid eggs in plastic bags, their refrigeration life can be lengthened to two months, as the bags help prevent moisture loss from the egg. Duck eggs have a longer shelf life than chicken eggs.

The following is excerpted from “Properties and Food Uses of Duck Eggs” by Rhodes, Adams, Bennett and Feeney of the University of Nebraska, 1960.

“The greater stability of Khaki Campbell duck eggs compared to chicken eggs is shown … Compared to refrigerated control eggs, duck eggs showed only small changes in white index, yolk index, or yolk height, even when stored for 7 days at 99 degrees. Chicken eggs, however, showed extensive changes. The results clearly show that no important differences between duck and chicken eggs were found and no off flavors were apparent after three months of refrigerated storage. The characteristics which were considered favorable to duck eggs were the greater stability to deterioration, the less pronounced chalazae, the reduced darkening around the yolks of boiled eggs, the reduced sulfur odor, and the lack of yellow color in the white. The duck egg white had very poor whipping properties compared to chicken egg white. Nevertheless, the whipping properties and the angel-cake-baking characteristics were greatly improved by acidification of the duck egg white. This was easily achieved by the addition of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the one and one-half cups of duck egg white used in the making of angel cakes.

You can purchase Ben Roberts’ Heritage Poultry & Eggs at several locations throughout town including Freddie’s Market, The Smokehouse Market, Planet Health, Local Harvest, Nutrition Stop, and Greene’s Country Store. You can also contact Ben Roberts directly at 636-751-3555.