A Good Place to Hide

For anyone who is enjoying their eggs purchased at the market (October 21-November 11, 2014), here is where they came from.  I got a whopping 14 days out of last week’s semi-wooded pasture, the extra protein they found under the big trees and forest floor leaf litter really paid off.  This week their pasture includes three large live oaks, two of which are standing and one that fell in a storm over a year ago.

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The fallen tree is completely covered with vines and has made a great shelter for native field birds, and now they get to share it with chickens. They love this area, so much that it’s actually hard to get a decent photo of them.  They’re either deep inside the vine thicket or in the tall plants to the rear of the pasture. Even though you can’t see them, you can definitely hear their clucking noises and can hear the leaf-rustling sound as they scratch and peck for their food.

 

 

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Deeper Into the Forest

For those of you who bought eggs at last week’s market (October 14, 2014), here’s where the hens were.  As the weather starts to cool and the daylight becomes less, the seasonal field grasses and plants begin to wind-down for the year and start to turn brown.  Because of this I’ve been pushing their pasture further into the woods.

IMG_2592This works well because even in winter the forest floor is full of bugs, grubs, and other natural foods chickens prefer. But the tradeoff is that I’m exposing them to more predators.  There’s lots of trees outside their pasture that overhang the portable electrified poultry netting and into their enclosure.  I keep envisioning a hungry raccoon dropping in for a quick meal but so far, so good. About 10 days ago early in the morning they were cackling like crazy so I went over to investigate. The source of their excitement was a half-eaten coyote carcass on the ground that wasn’t there the evening before. Something must have dragged it up into a tree to dine and dropped it into their area so yes, some crazy stuff can indeed happen in the forest.

WP_20140923_19_13_39_ProEither way the chickens definitely like being amongst the trees so I’m happy.  I’ve noticed they’re eating less from the supplemental feeders and the yolks of their eggs are more orange, which is a great indicator of a nutrient-rich and tastier egg.

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Know Your Food

   “Know your farmer, know your food” is a popular buzzword you’ll sometimes hear. The basic premise of it is to encourage you to get to know your farmer and in the process learn more about how the food you consume is raised. It’s a great concept but leaves room for error. While it is easy to get to know your farmer at a local market, most people don’t have the opportunity to actually visit a farm and see first-hand how things are done. They must
rely on the grower’s word. The majority of producers at local markets are fortunately an honest bunch but there are definitely a few who will stretch truth, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

Rooster alerting the flock to food he just found

One of our roosters alerting the flock to food he just found

         In an effort to be as transparent as possible, the “Know Your Food” section will be dedicated to informing you exactly what is going on with our animals on a weekly basis, both the good and possibly the bad. When you buy milk or eggs from us you’ll be able to look on this page to see exactly where the chickens were and what they were eating when they laid your eggs. Same with the goats and their milk. Enjoy!

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