There are a couple of things not mentioned in this article. First the name of the farm – Great American Egg!! We have had endless struggles with the ODA/FSD, DEQ, CC Planning however, we are close as the article points out. We do hope to process next week – not next year. There is a window for public comment after the ODA/NRD (who has been wonderful!) notices, however, we will be compliant at that point and can start processing.
Also for clarification, we are only processing our own birds, we are not a butcher shop where folks can drop off birds. We only process our own and can only sell directly to the chef (folks, restaurants, and institutions).
Hopefully, you will see our chicken at the farmer’s market soon. And remember we are still taking orders for Thanksgiving turks!
Here is a video of the nest house. Of course it is portable, only the wheels touch the ground and the hens come in and out through the gap at the bottom (about 16″). The nests are 5 gallon buckets with front roll out nest inserts from The Featherman folks. The white cover is a plastic jamb cover that is attached to black pipe the create a swing door to cover the eggs between collections.
My mother found a commissioned work at the library that was apparently generated to justify the creation of the Central Oregon irrigation district. Seems the Yakima district dismissed Central Oregon as viable farm land and therefore should not get any water rights for farming. This work refutes this assumption and goes around the region documenting the work and yields of farmers around the area. One such farmer, Mrs. Williams, was certainly a force in the local egg industry. The book also builds up the national reputation of the region’s poultry….hard to tell if this was really the case or was just talked up to persuade the powers that be to allow the canal. Hopefully, some Powell Butte locals will know a bit more history regarding Mrs. E.B. Williams.
What ever the reasons for the book….based on this picture- I am sure glad we have working irrigation today!
Turkeys are lovely animals. Like the ugly ducking story of old, they start out as gangly nose knobbed, long necked fluff balls on stilty legs. The five Standard Whites we purchased at the feed store certainly fit the description, but they quickly warmed us up with their curiosity and eagerness to greet us each day. They would peep and whistle and run to a wiggly finger and settle for being picked up, unlike the Cornish chicks who cheep and scatter when we do chores. Once out of the pen we let them roam around the house and yard. They’d follow us while weeding or raking or meander and forage for bugs while we worked. However, once they denuded the geraniums and started camping outside the back slider door, pecking to come into the house, we knew it was time for them to go to the pasture.
So now the five have a movable pen that allows access to clean fresh grass and protection from predators and the elements. They can forage for part of the day then head back to the pen for siesta time. They greet us with jumps and flapping and look like hyper 5 year olds on a candy binge when they see us hit the field for chores. A true delight to behold.
In addition to the Whites, we have 45 younger turkeys that will make the transition to the field in 3-4 weeks. We have 25 Broad Breasted Bronze, as well as a variety of heritage breeds. The BBB’s are the larger (older by a week) chicks in the picture. They arrived by mail and have been just as enthusiastic as the first set. Turkeys are very curious and inquisitive and will busy themselves as they natter and explore their surroundings. As chicks, they will explore-explore-explore, then they drop in their tracks and sleep like the dead. We were a little worried when we’d peek into the brooder and see 3-4 little bodies, seemingly inert, scattered in the pen. But then, as I’d reach in to collect the dead, they’d pop up, shake the sleep off and scamper around. I can’t tell you how many times I was fooled.
We’ll start taking turkey orders for these birds and deliver a finished bird in November. Grass fed, pasture raised, playfulness and curiosity intact.