If you’re willing to pay six dollars a gallon for gas, you should be willing to step up and help the real farmers out. Here’s a few things to think about next time you are in the store bargain shopping.
Let’s face it everything in this world today costs a dollar whether it’s a mango or an apple or insert some other wholesome vegetable here. Nothing offers what the egg can offer. It is a complete meal in and of itself with proteins, good cholesterol, omega, minerals and vitamins. Why the heck can’t I charge a dollar per egg?
Next to palisade peaches, the egg is one of the most fragile commodities in the world. Chickens literally have to bust their butt for commercial farmers to make enough eggs every year, and their final reward, the soup pot.
With chickens you have to manage the input and the output properly as well as good accommodations for them to produce eggs. It either takes millions of dollars of automation or a lot of manpower to take the egg from the farm to the store.
Industrial poultry is not really feeding you eggs. It’s more like an egg substitute produced by a chicken. Our eggs versus commercial farms win every time. I don’t know what the big farms feed their chickens to produce an egg for a nickel but I can’t even come close. And my chickens are so spoiled they refuse to eat cardboard & calcium pellets.
Calculating profit, how much are your eggs really costing you?
Our eggs currently sell for $6.99 a dozen. We make about $0.75 per dozen on average we sell 50 to 80 dozen per week. You do the math, it’s more of a hobby one would think. But whether or not we make a nickel, it’s still a nickel. Once you add in the components such as seed stock, chicken, chicks, pork, and vegetables it almost runs out by the end of the year.
So, before you quit your job at Microsoft to become an egg farmer, think long and hard about the hours you’re going to have to work and the vacations you’re going to miss because your livestock won’t do well if you’re not around 365 days a year. And a chicken sitter with the new minimum wage of $15 an hour adds up pretty quick. Most trustworthy farm help will work for no less than $20 an hour.
So next time you order some food to go in the computer and it asks you how much of a tip you’d like to leave, maybe you can just save part of it and tip the person who’s working at poverty line growing and caring for your food…
Have you ever had a hard-boiled egg you can’t peel? Or when you get done it looks like the egg has been in a fight with a mountain lion? If you have, chances are you’re buying eggs direct from the farmer. It’s not a bad thing, it’s great to have fresh food!
Don’t worry, the solution is an easy one, just use a little patience and problem solved! Get 2 dozen eggs, one for fresh eating and the other should be ready to hard boil by the time you finish your first dozen. When you are at the store, check our best buy date, with our fresh eggs, the closer to expiration the better the hard-boiled egg. We’ve found that eggs around two weeks old make the best fresh hard-boiled eggs without the egg white sticking to the shell.
Things you need to know in caring for your new baby chick:
1. You will need a brooder box. It can be as simple as a storage container. You can use sand, 1/4" hardware cloth or pine wood shavings for the floor of the brooder. Shavings are our preferred method. Shavings can be dusty but absorbent.
2. The chicks will need heat. A broody hen will work but if you don’t have one of those around, you should probably get a heat lamp or a ceramic bulb heater to keep the bottom of the brooder for chicks as close as possible to 95° F for the first week. You can decrease the temperature by 5° per week. Once they have a good portion of their feathers you can move them outside. A good rule of thumb, if you are outside in a light jacket and get cold, chances are the chicks will get cold too. You might want to provide an outside source of heat or wait to move them out of your garage. Make sure brooder lamps are secured and away from flammable material.
FEED & WATER
3. Feed & water. The chicks require a 22-24% starter and a water dish that they won’t fall in or try to go swimming. As they grow, please read our guide to raising and feeding juvenile pullets. Since there are numerous feeds available, you will need to follow manufacturers guidelines for appropriate feeding. Once they are laying you can try your hand at things like growing meal worms or fermenting feed to supplement their diet. We do a combination of pasture, pellets, and fodder system for our birds.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR LEG ISSUES
4. Watch for leg issues. Chicks are very resilient but if you notice any leg issues you can let us know right away so it can be fixed. Leg issues can be caused by a variety of reasons, the number one reason we've found is slippery surfaces such as brooder floors that can cause slipped hocks or tendons or splayed leg. It’s also important to keep feed and water readily available.
5. Simple bio security. As a precaution you should wash your hands prior to handling chicks and after. As irresistibly fluffy and cute as they are, you should not let them run around your house or snuggle with them. Try not to track anything into their area. If you have the flu or cold, you should wear a mask around your birds.
6. Tips on pasty butt. If your chicks get pasty bums from fluctuating temperature or stress related to shipping or handling, you can add play sand to the brooder to fix the issue. Check daily and don't let the accumulation of dropping prevent the chick from going potty. I don't know the "science behind" what it is about the sand that resolves the issue, but I do know it works. Additional cleaning may be necessary but not likely.
Another tip: chicks aren't like dogs and cats, you won't notice them going number one, or little puddles of pee in the brooder box. You will only see droppings. No cause for concern.
More information is readily available online or by sending us an email.
If you have any questions or suggestions for this publication please contact us.
DOWNLOADABLE SHOPPING LIST:
Have you ever wondered how to get more flavor out of your eggs, or whether the chicken or the egg came first? For those of you looking for something to do this weekend, our farm manager Matt Nelson is booked for a chicken workshop at Christianson’s Nursery in Mount Vernon, WA.
Matt will be speaking about chick rearing and raising backyard chickens in the Pacific Northwest. He will also discuss the different plants that can help your chickens thrive in your garden. Matt raises some of the finest breeds of poultry and table birds outside of Europe. His knowledge in raising poultry has come from his love of preserving for future generations as well as years studying and refining his methods.
This class is for both the beginner as well as seasoned poultry keeper. Depending on attendance, Matt will cater the conversation to best fit the group's needs. As he learns about you, he will customize his talk for the majority of the group making it a fun and a learning experience. He will share a few of his secrets and I assure that you’ll learn something new!
Pre-booking is required. Please contact Christianson’s Nursery to reserve, 360-466-3821. We hope to see you there! Here is a link to Christianson's Nursery and Greenhouse's classes and workshops page: https://www.christiansonsnursery.com/events/classes-workshops/
Fortunately, on the west coast we rarely have negative temps (if you don't count last week). This allows for a wonderful opportunity for the birds to forage the snow and acclimate to their climate post brooder and summer weather. As I sat taking photos today after a couple of toboggan runs, I watched the chickens find bugs and seeds to eat in 8’’ of snow. Thinking about how far we have progressed with birds from far off tropical climates that now are strong enough to go out in all weather. Sometimes it takes a couple of years, others... Read more>
While you are at the store, please pick up a copy of the November-December issue of Bellingham Alive.
We are grateful to be featured in the fall-winter edition of Bellingham Alive! We are so thankful for this opportunity to share about the farm and our chickens. A visit from their editor-in-chief Cocoa Laney and her partner was one of the highlights of our year at Spring Creek Heritage Farms! It was quite motivating to meet someone who is truly passionate about Bellingham and all that it offers. The enthusiasm for local food, products, events, farming and nature was quite inspiring. The way they happily helped pick ingredients from the field and then enjoyed the meal we prepared for them was truly heartwarming. One thing about Cocoa is she isn't just any editor, she’s a passionate editor! She has made our hard work and endeavors come to life on paper. We do our best to provide our customers with quality chicks, poultry breeding programs, sustainable seasonal vegetables, fruits, and flavorful chicken for your table.
The article is entitled "Chickens Raised With Knowledge, Care, and Fresh Air"; page 109 of the November-December 2021 edition of Bellingham Alive! Please grab a copy from a local store. It’s also available online, here is the link to the article on their website: Chickens Raised With Knowledge, Care, and Fresh Air | Bellingham Alive
Hungarian Yellows are extremely rare in both Hungary and North America. There are approximately 3 small flocks in all of North America. The majority are on the West Coast where they are undergoing an international restorative breeding project. To be continued...
Update, May 29, 2021:
The Hungarian Yellow is a new release here at Spring Creek Heritage Farms for the Summer of 2021. Please click here to read more about this rare breed.
Try it before you buy it.
Hello and welcome to Spring Creek Heritage Farms blog page!
Here is where we post news, updates and useful tips and articles about chickens and planting