I guess anyone who has chickens has lots of eggs. This pic is just from the last few days.
Notice that one tiny egg in the center? That was our smallest egg, weighing in at .2 oz. It was found outside in a dusty area beside a tree where the hens like to take sand baths.
Our hens have taken to laying outside these days - the weather has been near 60 F. The birds were all born last Oct and really never have known nice weather when they can spend all day outside. Now they are experiencing spring temps and sunny days for the first time in their lives, and it seems some pullets have no desire to go back inside the coop to lay. They just do the deed outside in the sand, hide it under a bush or behind a bicycle, several have taken to laying in the lawn spreader hopper. They give us an opportunity to have an egg hunt every day, not just on Easter!
I always wanted fresh eggs, and love them now that I have them, but I didn't really think too much about what to do with too many eggs. I guess I never thought I'd have too many eggs! Is that possible? Now I believe that yes, it is possible!
And so I started researching the rules and regulations on egg sales in Maryland.
First of all, I realized that all bird flocks are supposed to be registered. As part of an ongoing effort to identify domesticated poultry flock in the state, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Section works with backyard flock owners to register their flocks with the state. All individuals involved in keeping or caring for all types of poultry, which include; small households, poultry production, production facilities, suppliers, dealers, haulers, wholesalers, live bird markets and exhibition exhibitors. Anyone owning 5 birds or more for greater than 120 days in a 12 month period are required to register. I didn't realize all this - but now I filled out the paperwork this morning!
Second, one must consider if they want to be NPIP certfied. NPIP is the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
Third, any people who wish to sell fertile eggs or live poultry in the State of Maryland are required to have a valid permit to sell. The permit will not be issued until a negative Pullorum-typhoid test is reported by MDA inspectors. I reviewed this application and believe it asks for NPIP certification. Alrighty then. I haven't sold any live chickens, have I??
Fourth, in the state of Maryland there are rules and regulations for selling eggs. All eggs must be graded and sized if they are for sale. The sale of unclassified eggs is not permitted. Each carton of eggs must be labeled with both the grade and size of the eggs. Egg sizes are determined based upon the weight (ounces) of a dozen. The grade of eggs (from best to worst), AA, A, and B is based on compliance with quality tolerances. To determine the quality of an egg, the eggs must be examined for both external and internal defects. If the eggs are packaged in used cartons, there are specific rules and regulations for them, too.
There are stricter guidelines for selling eggs at farmers markets and roadside stands in MD. Cartons of eggs are required to be labeled with a grade, a size, a safe handling statement, the packer or distributor name and address, lot number, registration number of the packer, quantity or net weight of eggs, and the identity of the product as eggs. Specific lettering heights and wording for labeling requirements can be obtained from the Egg Inspection Section, Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Wow, this whole backyard flock thing is going to be a job, I thought it was just a hobby... Does everyone else out there with small flocks follow these rules in their states? Or is MD stricter than other places? What does everyone do with all their eggs?