The Prairie Home Companion does an annual joke show and they often feature this song about chickens. It makes me laugh so hard I cry. I picture our hens fleeing our milk truck or large tractors as they are crossing our driveway. Wonder if we should have chicken crossing guards…
Sound of Chickens
What a year 2011 was.
We had a record of over 60 inches of snow. The cows could walk right over the fences. Remember when they took for a walk in the woods?
When we had all that rain! We never thought we would get corn planted. In the summer came the extreme temps and sever storms. Remember when Tim took this picture minutes before a tornado touched down?
Sam winning Grand Champion at fair
The summer was filled with exciting events. Hannah was born and Sam won Grand Champion at our county fair. She then went win Honorable Mention at the State Fair.
BigFoot At World Dairy Expo-The Boy's Favorite Stop
Hannah being a beach bum on vacation this year
It wasn’t all work and no play. We went on a short vacation and then headed to World Dairy Expo in October.
Don’t forget all the funny stories about our pigs and chickens throughout the year.
It was a very memorable year. Thank you for making it so wonderful.
Happy New Year!
Yesterday, I posted a picture of a project Tim and Steve are working on this summer. Thanks to Cassy and Bree for guessing correctly on yesterday’s post
So what is it you may ask? It will be our new “Chicken Hotel.” The laying hens have over stayed their welcome in the yard and are being put out to pasture. It is very understandable that Lisa is growing tired of them messing up her mulch and pooping on the deck.
Decades before Joel Salatin became famous in movies such as Food Inc and Fresh, he was better know by his book Pasture Poultry Profits. Back in the 1990’s Jon and Lisa had read his books and attended a lecture he gave on the subject. The farm started raising chickens on pasture using Salatin’s methods. Our broiler production has grown from a few hundred to between 700 and 900 annually.
Now we are employing another one of Salatin’s methods: the egg mobile, or as we call it, the Chicken Hotel. We are converting an old hay rack into a portable living and roosting quarters for the laying hens. During the day, the hens will be let out into one of our pastures to free range, eat bugs and fertilize the soil. At night, they will be protected in the “Chicken Hotel” from predators. This hotel will be a complete mobile unit complete with nesting boxes, roosts, feeders and waters.
Salatin's Egg Mobiles
The hotel will not be done soon enough. The hens have really made themselves at home in the yard. We are thinking that their first pasture visit will have to be far away from the house…so that they don’t return.
We are nearing the finishing time for our first batch of meat chickens. If you are interested in purchasing chickens pre-cut please contact Lisa ASAP.
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube.
Finally we are having a sunny and warm day. We let the hens out of their normal hen run to do a little free ranging. They seem to really like the dirt under our lilacs.
Need eggs? Give us a call or stop by to buy some.
Our laying hens are just so darn cute! A few weeks ago (once they had all their feathers on) we moved them out of their chick home in the barn. Now they are up in our chicken house, complete with outdoor run.
We are raising Buff Orpingtons and Golden Star laying hens. Both of these breeds will lay medium sized brown eggs. We are not sure when they will start laying eggs. Most hens begin to lay eggs when they are between 20-24 weeks old. This lands us in the middle of winter. Hens will slow and sometimes stop their egg production in the winter, unless you provide a lot of artificial light.
Our chicken house is bedded with sawdust and straw. There is a multi-tier structure and windows to let in sunlight. Inside the house are feeders and waters which are cleaned and filled twice daily. Our hens have access to an outside run during the day, which is guarded by a three foot tall electric netting fence. (We don’t want those nasty neighbor dogs to get these chickens too). At night the hens will roost inside and we close their door to protect them from predators.
Here are some laying hen facts:
- On average a hen will lay one egg per day.
- There is no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. Only a hen’s diet can change the nutritional content.
- A male (rooster) doesn’t need to be present for a hen a ovulate (lay an egg).
- All chickens are omnivores and will eat bugs, small reptiles , veggies and grains.
- According to scientists in England, the chicken came before the egg
When our hens start laying we are going to have about 30 eggs a day! We are currently looking for clean (can be used) egg cartons. We will gladly take any that you have. 🙂
Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, http://www.zweberfarms.com
We are constantly being asked if we sell eggs on our farm. Currently, we don’t but you all have us thinking about it.
Please follow the link to a short 7 question survey: Egg Survey.
Here are some of the ideas we have about how we would raise laying hens for eggs:
- In the summer we would raise them in an “Egg Mobile” similar to Joel Salatin’s
- We would have them in our pastures to “clean up” the bugs and spread their natural fertilizer
- In the winter they would be raised in half of a green house and provide heat for the other half (which we would grow plants in)
- Depending on availability we would like to raise them on non-gmo feed and possibly organic feed.
- It is really hard to find non-gmo and organic chicken feed around us, so we are tossing around the idea of growing and grinding our own.
- Customers would be able to buy eggs when it is most convenient for them.
- We know of other farmers who do this system and it seems to work. Customers would take the eggs they need, leave the money and then return the cartons the next time they purchase.
Like all of our “projects,” we want to keep the health of our animal and land as our number one priority. Let us know what you think about purchasing eggs from Zweber Farms.