We strive to provide our hens the best possible living conditions and raise exceptionally healthy and nutritious eggs.
We have a flock of hens of mixed breeds and colors. All year round, from dawn to dusk, our hens are free to roam pasture. They have lots of space and no netting overhead. When daylight fades, hens and roosters round themselves up in their coops. We close the doors to keep them safe from the local coyotes, possums and raccoons until daybreak. Some of the coops we built on wheels, others on skids. This way we can move the hens to fresh pasture for the benefit of both flock and land.
Our hens get to eat grass, worms and bugs. They are healthier for it and their eggs are nutritionally superior to those laid by hens with restricted or no access to quality pasture. You'll notice their firm shells and domed, deep yellow to orange yolks. We apply no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides to the pasture. In addition, our soil tested zero-trace for persisitent pesticide residues (DDT, Dieldrin, Chlordane, etc.). Such pesticides were in heavy use throughout the Willamette Valley in the 50s and 60s and are still present in the soil today on the farms where they were used. They are readily ingested by soil invertebrates, which in turn are ingested by chickens. Organic standards do not take into account the presence of persistent residues.
Our hens have the opportunity to explore their true natures. This includes feedom to roam, dirt bathing, exposure to the elements and the cyclical waxing and waning of day length without articficial light to boost egg production in winter.
Hens do not feed on grass and bugs alone. A large part of their diet is grains. We estimate our hens consume 70% grain as part of their diet. The grain we feed is 100% certified organic. We think organic grain is critical because studies show that pesticides and herbicides concentrate in animals' fatty tissues, including eggs. Non-organic feed is also likely to contain GMO corn and soy meal and may also contain bone meal.
Our hens are wild about fresh fruit, vegetables and weeds raised in our garden and fields without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. To round out their health, we offer them yogurt and whey from our pastured Jersey cow (who is pastured 365 days/year, fed certified organic hay in winter, certified organic grain at milking and free of any kind of antibiotic or hormone treatments). We also offer them home-grown garlic, nettles and other herbs to boost their immune system. Our hens are not immunized nor are they given antiobiotics or medication of any kind.