We just love our farm and want to share it with all of you. Many customers want to feel connected to us and the farm. Sometimes, a tour isn’t practical but if you are a customer we strongly encourage it. Until then here are some articles sharing our practices and philosophies. Please be patient as we will be continually adding to these pages. To have them sent to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.
If you are a day-dreaming farmer, then you will appreciate these pages too.
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We receive the pullets when they are just one day old. For two and a half weeks they are on a deep wood shaving bedding in the brooders. We then open up the house and the pullets get to go out on pasture. The pullets circle around the house on different paddocks. Before the pullets start laying we move them to their Eggmobile.
The Eggmobiles are moved every two weeks to a new paddock in the pasture. In the winter we have to move them off the grass so they don’t ruin it for next year. For winter we put them in a special paddock that is covered in wood chips. The wood chips capture the manure allowing for a perfect start for compost next year. Drive by if you get a chance as the winter paddock is right next to the highway. We collect eggs and quickly process them to maintain the quality.
Barbara Gorski tested laying hens in cages versus raised on pasture. Her findings are not surprising less fat, less cholesterol, more vitamin A, and more omega-3 fatty acids. The yolks are a wonderful orange color indicating the vitamin content. You can read more about her experiments in Jo Robinson’s book Pasture Perfect.
Laying hens are very curious creatures. The will often come right up to you to get a better look. Many of our hens are friendly allowing you to hold them.
Each year we watch in amazement as the weeds decrease and the soil fertility increases. We have focused on putting the chickens on the “problem spots” and watched them over the years turn to our “most productive” places. We think that is awesome!
Come by and see the remarkable green grass!
As many of you know we raise our chickens on pasture, here are a few details…
We receive the chicks when they are 24 hours old. They need to be kept warm so we have special brooders. The chicks are moved to pasture at two and half weeks old. After that their shelter is moved every day to a fresh spot in the paddock.
Many customers enjoy watching the pens as they move up and down the hills as the summer months go by. This continuous rotation allows the grass a chance to rest after the heavy manure application from the broilers–the benefits of which can be clearly seen a month after they have moved by the lush green grass growing there!
The vitamins in the grass allow for a healthier chicken which does not require antibiotics to survive. A study by Barbara Gorski showed that when compared to confinement chickens, broilers raised on pasture had less fat, fewer calories, more vitamin A, more omega-3s.
Legally, in Missouri, we are able to process chicken on the farm and sell it. This gives a major benefit to the chicken and the consumer. The chickens are handled carefully to minimize stress. Our processing is done to maximize cleanliness (in a way large processors can’t), leaving our chicken “squeaky clean”. Unlike industry, our chickens don’t need a bleach bath.
We continue to expand the number we raise each year but are having trouble keeping enough in the freezers. We encourage you to consider the amount your family will use and reserve it. This allows us to do a better job estimating the number we need to raise.
Broilers are not curious as laying hens are–they are far to practical for that. Their lifespan is short and they focus on eating whether it is grass, bugs, or feed.
We are beginning our fourth year of milking and have learned a great deal! A big thank you to all as we work out the details so we can provide the highest vitamin milk and cream possible. Please bear with us as we continue to learn.
The key to quality milk is in the grass. Our goal is to raise the most nutrient dense grass so the cattle ingest the maximum vitamins and minerals with each bite enabling them to pass this on to their milk and meat. We use a technique called Management Intensive Grazing (MIG). The philosophy is that you allow the cattle to graze a small paddock, just enough for one day. Then move them to a new paddock the next day with just enough grass for that day locking them out of the previous days paddock.
This gives the grass a chance to rest and spreads out the manure fertilizing the fields further enhancing the quality of the soil and grass. We make every effort to move the cattle frequently, up to three times a day in the summer. In the winter, we have a “sacrifice” paddock with wood chip bedding to capture the manure during heavy rains. We buy the best alfalfa hay in southeast Missouri for the wintertime.
Keeping the milk clean is one of our utmost concerns. We use a portable milking machine to keep the quality of the milk high. We quickly bottle and chill it to maximize the ‘shelf life’. Customers report to us their milk is fresh three weeks after it was milked!
We invite you to try a jar. Grassfed, unhomogenized, unpasteurized milk with the cream on top in a glass jar! What better food is there?
The following is a partial list of the beneficial “Safety Systems” built into unpasteurized milk to help your body:
B-lymphocytes (kill foreign bacteria; call in other parts of the immune system), T- Lymphocytes (multiply if bad bacteria are present; produce immune strengthening compounds), Macrophages (engulf foreign proteins and bacteria), Neutrophils (kill infected cells; mobilize other parts of the immune system), IgA/IgG Antibodies (bind to foreign microbes and prevent them from migrating outside the gut; initiate immune response), Bifidus Factor (promotes growth of Lactobacillium bifidus, a helpful bacteria in gut, which helps crowd out dangerous germs), Medium Chain Fatty Acids (disrupt cell walls of bad bacteria), Mucins (adhere to bacteria and viruses, preventing those organisms from causing disease).
Source: Scientific American, Dec. 1995 and Lancet, Nov. 17, 1984.
Our beautiful 100% grassfed Jersey herd provides rich, creamy milk. We milk only once a day and do not feed grain in the parlor. This practice allows for maximum nutrients in the milk!