Monday, September 24, 2012

Farm Fresh Eggs

One of the goals of Maple Hill is to raise chickens for eggs.
Until we move out of suburbia,
I can only learn as much as possible
about these homestead skills that entrance me.
I've read books, watched videos,
but I know that there's nothing like doing
to really learn a craft.

This weekend we visited a woman who has been raising
egg layers for 30 years.
I found Colleen's ad on Craigslist.
The main objective was to buy farm fresh eggs.
We came away with so much more.

Here are some of her ladies, roaming free.

The henhouse was made with some scrap wood,
chicken wire and pvc pipe. 
The hoops are usually covered with plastic,
but the summer sun pretty much deteriorated it.
The larger-wire housing was buried a foot underneath
to prevent predators from enjoying
a chicken takeaway dinner.

There seems to be plenty of room in this enclosure
for bedding, food and water. 
The girls forage during the day
and are supplemented in the evenings.

They are some sweet looking gals.

A bit of shade was a welcome respite.

Colleen also raises milk goats.
After speaking with her about Lil' Guy,
she recommended that I read up on using goat's milk
to help with his allergies.

We were planning on buying 2 dozen eggs,
1 for ourselves and 1 to share with neighbors.
She sold us 4 dozen free-range eggs for five dollars.
Such a deal!
Thankfully, I remembered to bring my own containers.

I didn't realize that after washing eggs,
they must be refrigerated.
The protective "bloom", as it's called,
is removed with cleaning,
and so the porous egg is more vulnerable
to absorbing bacteria.

What a great discovery this farm was.
I'm so grateful to those who are willing
to share what they know.
One day I will be blessed to do the same...

The Chicken Chick