We have a very strict rule concerning eggs…if you didn’t pick here yesterday- you can’t pick here today. A good rule. On occasion, more than we would like, we find a hen that has found a spot to hunker down and try her hand at hatching eggs. A broody hen is easy to spot- she leaves only to eat and drink. She is surrounded by a rooster and his flock, has a hide-away in the hay stack, and the spunk to fend off any potential poachers.
So we left her alone. Everyday we would check her, occasionally she would toss an egg out of her clutch of eggs. Anita would crack it open in the compost pile- it had soured and she had rejected it. Amazing what she can smell through the shell. She had tossed four or five over the last couple of days and we were beginning to think this was a waste of time and this girl should drop her broody habits and get back to laying eggs for sale.
Tonight I checked her- lifted her off her clutch to check her eggs. There were still about 8 eggs left. I had lifted her straight up and was starting to set her back down on her clutch when she twitched a wing and out dropped a chick!! Amazing! Anita had a rough day and this was a real mood changer. We didn’t want to disturb her much as the chick looked only a day old and needed the services of ma.
Most of you know- we buy day old chicks and do not hatch on the farm. In fact, since we are running a slaughterhouse we are a bit more focused on the end of life- rather than the start of it. It was nice to see this chick today. A nice step toward complete sustainability. I can’t wait to check on her in the morning!
The market season is on and things are busy here at the farm. We are in full swing with chicken, ahead a bit with pork and our latest flock of layers is coming on line. Most of our first cutting of hay is up, the garden is planted, and the turkeys are almost ready. Yeah!
Couple of new cuts for chicken this year. First, we are halving more of the big birds right down the middle (backs removed) to make for a more manageable, quicker meal. For the grill masters out there, we are spatchcocking whole birds as well. This process basically unrolls a chicken to increase surface area to reduce cooking time on the grill. We make a few tucks and trims as well to try and make it cook evenly.
For pork, we are adding St. Louis style ribs by the full rack. We are also saving organs for the braver souls out there. (Side note: who ordered the pancreas?) We should have chops back in stock by next Wednesday’s market. We will also offer pork shares late this winter, so keep some freezer space open if your interested.
We are looking for a summer intern who would like to learn about our small farm enterprise, work outside, help on butcher days and maybe even try his or her hand at a small farm endeavor of their own design. If you know a responsible and strong person who might fit that bill please have them contact us by email or by phone 541-323-1065.
More news (I should write more often!): Cafe 3456′ has switched over to Great American Eggs in their restaurant. They serve breakfast and lunch at the Bend Airport- check them out if you can- everything we have tried there has been wonderful! Also, Devore’s grocery store on Newport Avenue has starting carrying our eggs- now there is no excuse for running out of our eggs! Schoolhouse Produce in Redmond (recently relocated to Highland) is running a trial with our chicken- we will see how it goes but we are hopeful we are a good fit for their customers.
As for fresh chicken days- we are thinking about July 11th, but will confirm soon. We hope a few can make it out for fresh chicken and a walk about the place!