Cornucopia Institute Home Page
View Scorecard Criteria
Back to Ratings
Brand Name Nick's Organic Eggs
Rating (5)    
Company by Nick's Organic
Location Potomac, MD
Market Area Maryland
Web Site

Five-egg brands are at the top of the pecking order in terms of our 28 scoring criterion. And the brands, highlighted in gold, such as this one, are rotating their birds in mobile coops to the pasture. They are truly what we consider the "gold standard" in terms of certified organic egg production. We've invited them to write a bit about their farm and operation…

Since 1979, we have been committed to constant improvement in our organic farming methods and to a strong relationship with our customers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, DC, and West Virginia.  

We aim to minimize off-farm inputs through our diversified and integrated farming system, which combines animals under management intensive grazing and an 8-12 year crop rotation to raise vegetables, hay, pastures, grains, seed and livestock. Our practices are designed to constantly improve the quality of our soils—which for us is the basis of our organic farming system.

We grow our own grain and grind our own organic poultry feed from organic grain we grow and occasionally buy from other local organic farms. Our poultry receive this certified organic feed and graze on our organic pastures. We also sell our certified organic poultry feed to other organic farmers and to customers for their personal flocks.

Criteria Points Comments
Ownership Structure 100 family farm, produces all of own eggs
Average Flock Size 100 under 500 birds
Single or Double Henhouses 100 single
Other Certifications (bonus points) none
Organic Certifier 100 Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
Commitment to Organics 100 100% organic
Indoor Space per Bird 100 2-4 sq ft/hen 
Indoor Enrichments 100 perches, dust baths, scratching, pasture access
Litter Management 100 year-round pasture access
Natural Light 100 Birds have ample access to the outdoors for natural light during all daylight hours
Outdoor Space per Bird 70 20-40 sq ft/hen
Popholes/Exit to the Outdoors 100 one door for every 75 birds
Outdoor Enrichments 100 feed, water, shade
Outdoor Space Exemptions 100 outdoor access year-round 
Outdoor Management System 90 rotated pasture with mobile housing, moved weekly
Manure Handling System 100 manure is spread out by birds through rotations
Forced Molting 100 no forced molting
Beak Trimming 100 no beak trimming
Laying Hen Lifespan 80 avg 2 years
Use of Spent Hens 100 sold live for food, eggs
Death Loss Rate 20 less than 10% a year due to health problems & other factors
Pullets 80 raise up from day old chicks
Pullet Access to Outdoors 100 3-4 weeks
Feed Produced on Farm 100 all feed produced on farm
US Grown Feed 100 all domestically grown
Soy in Feed Yes soy in feed ration
Synthetic Amino Acids 70 No more than 2 lbs per ton
Disclosure Rate 70 no photo set
TOTAL (possible score is 2700) 2380
FIVE EGGS (Exemplary)