Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good News

The egg production is finally picking up! We are up to 4 dozen a day. My apologies to my self serve fridge customers for the lack of product for the last month. Today I put 5 dozen in the fridge! So please, if you have been checking the fridge and have had no luck, check it out! The best time for eggs in the fridge is Thursday through Saturday. Also, please call me in advance and no matter what the egg situation is, I will reserve what I have for you. I hope that those of you that have been frustrated with the lack of eggs, will come back for some more. Thank you again for you business.

The young hens are doing well and growing fast! Their eggs will be available in the fall.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Low Egg Production

To all of my valued customers, just wanted to let you know for the past couple of weeks and I anticipate in the near future (as long as temps stay over 100 degrees consistently) our egg production is very low. Over 90 laying hens and I am getting only 2 dozen eggs. I have read a couple of studies from Ag colleges and it confirmed my suspision that heat is extremely stressful to the hens and greatly impacts their laying abilities. They are hot so they eat less and these two factors cause them to lack the energy needed to lay eggs. While I have fans in all of my chicken coops, it is still not quite enough. Better because I have not lost any birds, but still, I mean I know it is harder for me to daily chores when it is hot so I can just imagine how they feel. The bottom line is I will keep you posted about egg availability and I am sorry for the inconveinence!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chicken Independence Day

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. We decided that weekend that our nearly 3 month old chicks had grown enough to safely leave the chicken tractor during the day and venture out into their grassy yard surrounded by electric chicken netting. As you can see from the picture they love it! A side benefit of the chicken tractor has been that my rescued Anatolian Shepard/Great Pyrenees dog Murphy has bonded with the chicks and takes his job of guarding them very seriously. Both breeds that are in Murphy's lineage are livestock guardian dogs. You often see these breeds out in the fields guarding sheep, goats and other small livestock from predators. What is really interesting is that Murphy has never been trained to protect livestock. In fact when Murphy was rescued by the Anatolian Shepard Rescue group, he was starving and weighed only 50 pounds. When we adopted him a couple of years ago he was 80 pounds. To tell you how extreme that is, Murphy now weighs over 165 pounds. It is truly amazing to me that with dogs, their breed instincts are born in them. When you come by to purchase your eggs from the self serve fridge you can see the girls in their tractor and yard, Murphy, and his brothers and sisters too. Nearly all of my dogs are rescues and Murphy's brothers and sisters are different breeds including a Lab and Great Dane.

Well for now due to the demand for eggs from my customers and Windmill Farm of Gridley's CSA customers, I have suspended my participation at the Glenn County farmers market. While I am happy for the business, I will miss the market and meeting all of the wonderful folks who support it. However, I may be receiving more adult hens in August to increase the flock and egg production, but at the very least my 100 new chicks should be laying this fall to total nearly 200 birds laying. Again, I would like to thank all of my customers for your continuing support. Stay cool!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Weather is Hot and So is the Egg Biz

Well, summer is finally here and with the temperatures to match! Not my favorite time of year. Speaking of hot, eggs are selling like hot cakes and I am having difficulty keeping up with the demand. I have increased my regular customer base, continue to sell eggs to Windmill Farm of Gridley for their CSA boxes, and sell out at the farmers market. No complaints here about doing such good business, but I just wish I had more eggs to provide to my customers. I have nearly 200 birds now, but more than half will not lay until the fall because they are so young.

Even with the addition of 11 new adult birds last week, production remains low as the heat is really stressful for the girls. I have added fans to their coops so when they are laying and roosting, they are more comfortable. I will add misters to their yards this weekend.

Besides the heat, things are great at Happy Chick Farm. My husband and I are enjoying retirement and I really enjoy introducing and making folks happy by providing them farm fresh eggs. I really appreciate my old and new customers for supporting my business, especially being so understanding during this lean egg production period.

The bad news is that I have experience several thefts from my self serve, honor system egg fridge. Oh occasionally, I dozen would disappear but it is becoming habitual. If it does not cease, I may have to discontinue this service which would be a shame, as so many honest folks use it. But if that becomes necessary, I do deliver and I would be happy to deliver your egg order to your home or office.

Well my friends stay cool and I hope to see you at the farmers market this Saturday. It will be in Willows at Memorial Park during the month of July. Enjoy your day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Farmers Markets, Chicken Tractors, and Low Egg Production, oh my!

Well our first day at the Glenn farmer's market was a success. I sold all 18 dozen eggs within the first hour and a half. But after I sold out, I met a lot of really nice people and was able to give them my card and tell them about Happy Chick Farm. The public did a great job and it was a wonderful turnout! I did not attend the market this week as I was out of eggs!!! I had a lot of special orders last week and the self serve fridge continues to do well. My old dependable one that I had for 12 years finally died, so I purchased a new one this weekend.

Well a few posts ago I told you I would chat about chicken tractors. Chicken tractors are a way to free range your birds with minimal risk of attacks by predators. The tractors are designed to me moved to ensure that the chickens have a fresh supply of grass, bugs, etc. Once the chickens are no longer small enough to be raptor bait, we have an electrified (by solar power) chicken wire mesh fence so they can leave the tractor itself. This further increases their "range". While the tractors come in many designs, we chose an open one as the chickens are too young to lay and as a result do not need nesting boxes. The tarp on top and the sides can be used for shade or rain protection. By the way, these are the same baby chickens shown in one of our previous posts....they grow fast!!

The one downside right now is that egg production is pretty low. I believe the weather change from moderate tempreatures to hot has a lot to do with it. I hope the girls acclimate soon so we can get our production levels back up. I missed seeing everyone at the market this last weekend! I also would like to thank you all for your continuing support during the "lean" periods like now. Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Glenn County Farmers Market

I have not been able to attend the Gridley farmers market in the last two weeks due to rain and a family member's graduation celebrations. However, tomorrow morning is the first day of the Glenn county farmers market. It will be held at Library park in Orland on 4th street from 8am until 1pm. I hope to see you there!

In other news, my husband is building my "chicken tractor" so my month plus old chicks can free range in a safe environment. As soon as it is finished, I will post a picture. The tractor can be moved around on grass very easily, but it is enclosed to keep predators out. As the chicks grow, we will put up electric poultry fencing around the house to give the chickens additional range to graze on. I am really excited to try it.

As always, have a great weekend!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sucess at the Gridley Market

Had a great time at the market. Sold all but 2 dozen eggs! My friend Paula from Windwill Farm of Gridley was there and took this photo of my stand. The other picture is my new banner that will be posted at my stand at the farmer's markets in the future.

My wonderful local customers continue to support me through my home/business deliveries to them or via my self serve fridge. I can't thank you all enough!

Windmill Farm of Gridley will be starting their CSA shares next week and they are offering Happy Chick Farm eggs for their customers. I am very excited about that and I think this collaboration will be very sucessful. Check out Windmill Farm's link on this site for more information.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The First Farmers Market of the Year!

Tomorrow, May 18 I will be at the Farmers Market in Gridley. The hours are from 5pm to 8pm and it is located at the ACE Hardware Store on highway 99. Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chickens in Your Garden

I told you I would discuss why chickens are great for your garden! Of course, while it is growing and producing, chickens are not a great idea in your garden as they will eat all of your plants and fruits/veggies! But after your garden has passed its prime, let your chickens out in the garden. They will eat your aging non producing plants, till your garden by their scratching the earth and their droppings are high in nitrogen, an excellent natural fertilizer. This is a great way to go back to nature taking care of your garden instead of using synthetic fertilizers and such. Also, chicken droppings and the shavings/straw from the chicken coop can be easily composted to create a wonderful soil amendment to prepare for your next garden in spring.

On a recycling note, until my husband has the time to make me my dream raised bed garden where I can garden on a larger scale, I am currently container gardening my veggies. In the past, in my suburban days, I would buy pots or whatever to container garden. But now I have great farm surplus stuff to do it! This photo shows my container garden in old, leaky non-usable stock tanks. But they work great for a container garden!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Babies

As seen in the picture in my last blog, the baby chicks are doing well, all 50 of them. They are almost two weeks old. The yellow chicks are White Leghorns and the buff colored ones are Buff Orphingtons. Both are excellent layers. Our next batch comes in June, which will be Rhode Island Reds and Maran which are the chocolate brown egg layers. Not only does Happy Chick Farm have new babies but a friend of mine also has a new baby, a filly born about 2 weeks ago too! Here name is Belle and isn't she cute? Who can resist animal babies? Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Babies on the Way!

I am so excited, we are expanding our flock. In the next couple of weeks we will be receiving the following baby chicks, for a total of 70, which are Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Marans (chocolate colored eggs!), and Buff Orphingtons. As our current flock gets older, these new girls will be the back up "second string" layers to supplement our egg supply. And don't forget, all of our girls live out their natural lives here on Happy Chick Farm and are not "culled" when they get old. Not to mention, chickens lay throughout their lives, just not as much as they do when they are 1 to 2 years old. But that's OK! Their eggs just get larger and more wonderful. All of our girls are an invaluable contribution to the farm.

In one of my next posts I will talk about building our own chicken "tractor" for free ranging our chickens. And the benefits of chicken manure for your garden!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Fresh eggs are available today (as always) in our self serve fridge at the farm, if you still need eggs to complete your Easter Sunday festivities. Enjoy the day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Answers to the Top 10 Chicken Questions

Here they are!

1. Do I need a rooster for my hens to lay eggs? The answer is no. But if you want to produce baby chicks, you do need a rooster.

2. How long do chickens live? The answer is from 8 to 15 years.

3. What do I need when my chicks arrive? The answer is a container (at least 18 inches high) to hold the chicks that gives them ample room, pine shavings for the floor, food and water containers, and most importantly 250 watt red glass infared heat lamps to maintain the temperature at 95 degrees for the chicks (that temprature will decrease as they age).

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay? The answer is that they will start to lay around 5 to 6 months old and will lay approximately 200-300 eggs per year, depending on the breed. Peak production occurs at 2 years old and diminishes there after.

5. How much feed do chickens eat? The anser is a typical laying hen will eat 4 to 6 ounces of feed each day. This increases in cold weather and decreases during warm weather. If you free range your chickens you can expect that amount to decrease significantly.

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be? The answer is 2-3 square feet per chicken. You also need space for the chickens to roost at night and for nesting boxes. Think of the coop like your bedroom, you spend most of your day outside of that room.

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens? The answer is one nest box for every 5 to 6 hens.

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites? The answer is you want to use natural products assuming you eat the hen's eggs. Food grade diatomaceous earth can control both. You can dust the chickens or put it in their food. There are also natural products on the market that will take care of parasites.

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators? The answer is a well built chicken coop. You need to prevent predators from crawling in small spaces and digging under the coop.

10. How do I get my chickens to go into the coop at nights? The answer is that chickens instictively go into the coop at night. You may need to help in a few stragglers and most importantly, you need to remember to shut the door for them at night.

I hope you enjoyed this Q&A from Backyard Poultry magazine. I encourage anyone interested in raising chickens to pick up an issue. It has been extremely helpful and informative for me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Location to Sell Happy Chick Farm Eggs!

Many of you may know that on Saturdays every week, the Gonzales Market operates in Orland on the corner of South Street and Highway 99. It is a very popular market and attracts a lot of folks. Vendors there offer everything from produce to home made foods, retail items, etc. Like a fun swap meet. Well by chance, I happened to meet Mr. Gonzales this week and he asked me to come and sell my eggs at his market! So depending on the weather, I may be selling my eggs there as soon as this Saturday, April 2. The market begins early (7 or 8 a.m.) and lasts until late in the afternoon. Sounds like a wonderful new opportunity to sell eggs until the farmers market season arrives.

Oh and by the way, yes, I will be posting the answers to the 10 most asked questions about chickens soon. That is as soon as I have time to type it all up!

I want to thank all of my wonderful customers again for making my egg business a sucess. I am truly in this business to make you happy and ensure that you are able to enjoy locally raised food that you know the source of. What a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Free Ranging/Fresh Easter Eggs

I am pleased to announce that our chickens are now not just free roaming, but free range! Since I have retired I now have the time to let the girls out, keep an eye on them and make sure they return to their coop at night. This will only enhance the flavor and beauty of our eggs.

Come and visit our self serve fridge or call us for your fresh Easter Eggs!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Top 10 Chicken Questions for Spring!

Backyard Poultry Magazine (a great magazine for all poutry lovers, I recommend it highly!) recently published an article about the top 10 chicken questions asked by folks purchasing their first chickens, with the help of the Randall Burkey Company who sell poultry equipment and live chicks. Here they are:

1. Do I need a rooster for my chickens to lay eggs?

2. How long do chickens live?

3. What do I need to do when my chicks arrive?

4. At what age do hens start laying and how many eggs will they lay?

5. How much do chickens eat?

6. How big does my chicken coop need to be?

7. How many nest boxes will I need for my hens?

8. What is the best way to deal with internal and external parasites?

9. What is the best way to protect my chickens from predators?

10. How do I get my chickens into the coop at night?

The answers will appear in my next blog entry. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Glenn County Farmers Market Update

The farmers market in Glenn will begin in June and end in September. The market will rotate between locations in Orland and Willows each month, beginning in Orland in June. The market will be open every Saturday from 8:00 a.m and 1:00 p.m. The proposed site for Orland is Library Park and Memorial Park in Willows. As I have mentioned before on the site, I plan to sell my eggs at the market. Depending on demand/sales, I also am planning on selling at the Gridley farmers market in Butte County this year as well. When I know the starting month, time and place of that market, I will post that information as well. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things Are Cooking!

Hey, welcome back to the blog. If you have been reading my blog you know that my husband and I retired recently. So of course we had to take a vacation so we drove cross country to Florida where we went on a Caribean cruise for a week and then after that, we drove to Tennessee to see my sister. We had a great visit, then back home.

Well, the girls are laying tons of eggs! So if you want wonderful farm fresh eggs give us a call, an email or stop on by.

By the way I am hooking up with my friend from Windmill Farms who is starting a CSA this spring. You know, where you purchase a "share" of the harvest, and each week you get wonderful fruits, herbs, and vegetables...whatever is in season? I will provide the CSA members with farm fresh eggs. A CSA is a great way to support your local growers and know where your produce is coming from. All at a reasonable price. Windmill Farms link is on this blog, so please take a moment to check out their blog to learn more about this CSA. I personally cannot wait to particpate in this CSA as I have not yet had time to get together a real garden and Windmill Farms produce is wonderful. It is fabulous to know that I am feeding my family awesome food from a known source. Check it out.

Iam really looking forward to participating in farmers markets come spring in Glenn and Butte counties. And I look forward to seeing YOU there! Thanks again for supporting your local producers like myself. With your help, we can keep the local food movement alive and well here in Glenn County and beyond.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are in 2010.

The good news is that our Jersey Giants are really starting to lay like crazy! We are getting at least 3 dozen eggs a day and they are getting larger every week. Most are now the size of a large egg. It won't be too long before they are jumbo sized and the chickens will be laying up to 8 dozen a day. For now the eggs are still priced at $3.00 a dozen but when they are a true jumbo size, I will most likely price them at $4.00 a dozen. And they will be worth it!!! So come on by our self serve or call/email us to place your order for farm fresh eggs.

I'm pretty excited that this year, there will be a farmers market here in Glenn County for the first time in many years. It will start sometime in the spring and look for my eggs for sale at that market...come on by and say "hi"! The location is yet unknown but as soon as I know more, I will post that information on this site. Happy New Year to all of you and I hope you come by soon and try our farm fresh eggs!