This important concept plays an integral role in our farm life. We have previously discussed our use of compost and manure as fertilizer. We have also touched on our growing of healthy, feeder crops for our animals as well as our use of discarded pallets and lumber in projects. Now let's focus on the management of our laying hens and the many ways these wonderful ladies contribute to our farm.
These ladies laid a mixture of white, green and brown eggs. Taylor began bartering them for piano lessons and the egg sales business was born. The following May she added ten more chicks from the 4-H project which were housed in a portable tractor that was given to us by a friend.
And so it all began...
The majority of our ladies are housed in open-bottomed, portable tractors that
are moved daily over our pastures. They are on grass by two weeks of age and
always have fresh air, plenty of food and clean water. There are even fans to
cool them from the summer heat! They are free to scratch, dig, roost, take dust
baths and live on the ground like a chicken should.
Our original goal of establishing a family homestead is still in very much in play and we strive to grow as much of our food as possible, including meat. On that note, we attended a clinic on chicken processing at Two Bridges Farm in the fall of 2011. Taylor got hands on and actually processed a chicken for the very first time that day. We use those skills to properly and humanely process all of our stewing hens for our family's use. We will always be grateful to Ranell Bridges for her help and support.
We use every bit of the chicken and nothing is wasted. The feet, organs, and wingtips are put back for the dogs and cats who can safely consume them when served raw. The neck and bones are used for broth and afterwards are allowed to dry before being crushed and added to the compost pile for addiional calcium. Even the feathers are composted.
Our feed is locally sourced, with ingredients grown in Franklin County. They are supplemented daily with organic kelp and ACV in their water. They love garden veggies including melons, tomatoes and greens in addition to grass and bugs. Crushed oyster shell and raw milk from our dairy cow supply the calcium needed for those hard shells.
Our laying ladies are worth their weight in gold. We strive to care for them in the best way possible and give them a life they are worthy of. Our eggs are gathered twice daily and the yolks are rich with a flavor that just can't be beat. Remember, the daily care of that hen is directly reflected in the quality of the egg they produce. Healthy hens= healthy eggs for you and your family!
We would like to take a moment and thank these local businesses who have partnered with us by featuring our eggs on their menus: