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!!