We start by placing our chickens into a natural part of a biological system. During the growing season, they are kept in portable housing so they can be moved to a new area every several days. This spreads manure where it is best utilized – on growing pasture. It also prevents chickens from overgrazing an area. Chickens will eat every living thing if left in an area too long. In the winter we loose house them (no cages) with deep bedding and feed them fresh green sprouts that are grown here on the farm. Deep bedding provides warmth for the chickens and ties up bedding with carbon so valuable manure doesn't vaporize into the atmosphere or runoff in rivers and lakes. Their feed ration year round is comprised of non-gmo grains and natural minerals. Natural systems makes healthy eggs.
Sometimes. Chickens lay eggs with a natural anti-bacterial coating. It is best to leave eggs unwashed if possible. As a result, the only eggs we wash are dirty ones. Keeping winter bedding clean and chickens moved regularly in the summer facilitates keeping the eggs clean.
Are your eggs soy-free?
No. Finding a replacement for soy is expensive. One of our goals as a business is to have products that are affordable to the average person. Many families would not be able to afford the price increase that would be necessary if we switched to a soy-free ration. The second reason is replacing soy creates some nutritional challenges. For example, sunflower seed has a high enough protein to be used for feed, but would raise Omega 6's and cholesterol. Lastly, a soy-free ration would force us to choose between local and long distance. Soybeans are grown locally while soy alternatives are generally not. Switching would mean not being able to support local farms. As a result, we have chosen not to switch to a soy-free ration.
Our eggs have a lot of color because we encourage our chickens to eat as much fresh greens as they can.The color of the egg yolk is tied directly to the amount of fresh greens the chicken eats. The more fresh greens they eat the more colorful the yolk. The color will vary quite a bit from one season to the next. Spring with its lush green growth brings nearly orange yolks while a prolonged drought can reduce the color of the yolk to a pale yellow much like winter eggs. Also, in the winter we feed our chickens sprouts grown on our farm. We have found fresh green sprouts aids chicken health, helps enrich winter yolk color and boosts winter production!
Are your chickens fed a non-gmo ration?
Yes. Gmo (genetically modified organism) crops fail the test of time and common sense. They have been touted by their manufacturers as the panacea for “feeding the world” and reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides. In truth, gmo crops are failing miserably on all counts. Production isn't any better then modern hybrids and the use of killer chemicals is up. Weeds and bugs are becoming resistant. Meanwhile, studies are beginning to show diseases linked to the use of gmo feeds. Common sense says we should expect nothing less. Gmo's are not natural. Where else on the planet other than a laboratory do you find a fish getting it on with a tomato? Say NO to gmo!
Are chickens vegetarian?
No. In their natural environment, chickens happily eat bugs, worms, mice – generally anything small. Chickens are a mono-gastric creature designed to eat plants and meat alike.
In the truest sense of the word, organic is merely a natural way to grow things. While we use many organic practices, we are not USDA certified Organic. We believe true certification can only happen by the consumer visiting their own farmer/s and verifying with their own eyes. Without personal integrity, the law becomes a moot point. Integrity cannot be legislated. We have an open door policy at our farm, come out and visit us, it is the only way to know for certain how the food you are eating has been grown.
Why do the egg shells look different?
Our chickens have a lot of genetic diversity. We have three to six different breeds of brown egg laying chickens at any given time. Most of these are heritage breeds (Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorp, Plymouth Rocks being the primary ones). As these have not been genetically selected for consistency like modern commercial breeds, they will lay eggs with various shapes and shades of brown.
Why do chickens lay less in the winter?
The amount of eggs that a hen lays is tied directly to the amount of daylight hours and how cold it is. Hens need a minimum of about 12 hours of daylight as a general rule to lay eggs. This isn't a hard and fast rule though; breed type and the condition of winter housing affects production as well. Each chicken will only lay eggs if her energy needs are met. The colder it is, less she lays. If the temperature drops as little as 30 degrees, a 100 hens will eat about 50 lbs more feed every week!
From the Farmers Desk,