Each year brings a surprise to our animal barn.
For years, sheep wandered about in our large covered pen.
In 2006 , Rosie and Coco wandered the pigpen in constant search for the next customer-fed cider donut. How quickly they sprouted from adorable little piggies, and grew to huge pigs with personality. They would run back and forth in the field, sometimes doing 360’s in mid air in leaps of apparent jubilation.
In 2007 , we modified the pen to set up house for 100 cackling hens, and yes, they agreed to allow us to sell their eggs. These were such a hit, that we expanded the flock size every year since.
Now in 2012, we willhave 400 layers which now use a tunnel to get out to a large free range pasture. This is fun for viewing, but has also made our chickens extremely happy and healthy, and has resulted in very high quality eggs, which we sell in the store, of course. We tried to add goats to this mix, but found they tore every bit of fencing apart to get into the chicken pen. This provided great entertainment as my crew would spend lots of time chasing chicken around the farm trying to get them back into the coop. We had to send the goats back to their winter home until we have time to build a much sturdier fence. Therefore, we only have a mob of chickens this year until we make the changes.
About Our Chickens
Type of chickens - These girls are a breed called Red Star.
Growth rate - Chickens grow very fast and are ready to lay eggs at about 22 weeks old.
What they eat - Chickens love grains such as cracked corn, but will eat all sorts of bugs and greens as well. Our girls love lettuce and especially tomatoes.
Laying eggs - Our chickens are all girls. We have no roosters in the pen because we are not looking for fertilized eggs, plus they create quite a bit of stress for the hens. It is true that hens lay eggs with or without roosters, and our Red Star layers are extremely productive as each hen will lay about 5 eggs a week.
At the end of each season, we sell our chickens to other farms and homes for about $4 a piece where they continue to lay eggs for the new owners. We begin each season with a fresh flock.
In our early days of farming here, Karen and Glenn grew chickens for 13 years, housing as many as 17,000 at a time! The story goes that Glenn still wakes up in the middle of the night with a flush of panic that he forgot to feed chickens in a "forgotten barn". Weird.