Could We Possibly Blog More About Chickens?!

| 11/20/2008 4:40:00 PM

You all must be getting so bored with chicken talk, but it's so exciting for us. This is our first real enterprise on the farm and God has been blessing it in so many ways. As Andy mentioned before, we have a used job site trailer coming to us for virtually free that will be winter housing for the birds. We have a deal set up for two garbage cans full of bread each week in exchange for four dozen eggs. That cuts down on our feed costs about 25%. We have little advertising besides our roadside Free Range Eggs sign, and yet we can't keep up with demand! We have only lost one hen so far, and she was the unlucky chicken that decided to cross the road (I still don't know the answer to that riddle, because she never made it to the other side). We have been able to give dozens of eggs away to people as barter, gifts or thank yous. I think we have traded about 12 dozen eggs for babysitting time so far! Andy's parents are building a market in their area (about an hour or two away), and we have been able to help out a fellow farmer with his eggs sales. Below, Andy's mother, Julie and I stand behind our egg demo counter at her Curves™ open house. We gave a photo slideshow on computer and had info pamphlets about our farm and the benefits of free range eggs. We even cooked up a bunch and served them to the health-conscious ladies as a little taste of what could be in their own kitchens! We sold out of 23 dozen that day and had orders for 21 dozen more the following week. It was amazing!

Egg presentation table

As word has spread, people have offered us their left-over meal scraps and egg cartons and all sorts of random food items for our chickens. We accept most things. (We do not feed our chickens eggs or any sort of chicken meat, but most other things are fair game; if they don't eat it, they scratch it into the ground. Chickens are excellent composters!) I think people like getting involved in something local like this. They are happy to take the drive to our farm rather than the store in order to be a part of this happening.

And that's just what we wanted. We want our farm to become our customers' farm. We don't even want to think of them as customers; they are becoming family. It creates a great atmosphere to be able to show them just where their eggs are coming from. Families will park their van and step outside to see chicken-rakes hard at work in the lawn. It's that connection, that sense of what's supposed to be on a farm that makes the experience so rewarding.

But we aren't doing it for that purpose. It is a wonderful by-product and certainly one that we hoped would happen. However, we work hard at our farm appearance and our animals' comfort because we have a sense of God's plan for creatures of the earth. We have accountability for our products and our overall farm health. The open door policy ensures that.

Every egg that leaves our property has been hand-picked by Andy and hand-washed and inspected by me. We eat the cracked ones and the eggs shaped too weird to be sent out. They taste just fine, but we don't want to scare off our customers – I mean family – with odds and ends. I take pride in cleaning and counting each and every egg. I love packing them in the cartons and "delivering" them to the garage. We have our egg business set up in our garage with our produce-traded refrigerator humming quietly.

Becky and Andy
12/15/2008 3:47:51 PM

Dear Jeff, I want you to know that there ARE young people like us! Something that we have been continually amazed by in our journey from "the rat race" to the agrarian life is the amount of like-minded people God has put in our path. We only have a physical influence of a very small area of Wisconsin, but in our pocket of the world, we are witnessing a serious revival of hearts, minds and Spirit. Whenever we are down about the farm, or it seems too overwhelming to go on, God puts someone new in our path who WANTS what we're doing to succeed. Or maybe it's someone who never thought much about sustainability and the food they eat, but then we start talking to them about our hopes and goals and we see a sparkle come to their eyes; as if, this is what they'd been searching for! These are exciting times, my friend, and though there is much to fret about, there is much more to live for. Here's a tip about one's outlook on life: If you turn off the 5 o'clock news, suddenly life is much more positive. Keep reading, Jeff. Andrew and I, as well as the other folks who write for GRIT want only to give hope and encourage. We are out there. And we want to be found!

12/13/2008 6:13:52 PM

I am 62 years-old and was raised during a period in which the orr country was a much better place. My wife and I are now very concerned about the future of our children and grandchilden. Will someone please tell me that there are millions more young people like Becky and Andy in our country? We need the encouragement!

Cindy Murphy
11/21/2008 9:38:33 AM

What a wonderful post, Becky. I like the idea of your new extended "family"; you're not only serving the community, but welcoming into your "home". I had to laugh when I read the title of your blog. With all the chicken coops being built, eggs being gathered, and baby chicks being raised around the Grit Community, it seems like I'm the only blogger here without a flock. I feel so outta the chicken coop loop, but am fowlishly staying connected through everyone else's blogs. Best wishes.

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