Monday, March 22, 2010

Farm Fresh Eggs

Pastured Eggs from Ecotone Farm!

Raised with integrity and care, the hens of Ecotone provide naturally healthy, delicious eggs, with deep orange yolks that stand up tall in the pan, and a smooth, rich taste you'll remember. Living outside, eating bugs and grass and grain in the sunshine and the rain, these are happy hens, rotated to fresh pasture every few days, and fed an all-natural, custom-mixed ration free of antibiotics or hormones. Committed to agricultural biodiversity, all of the Ecotone hens are heritage or standard breeds (i.e., not industrial varieties), producing a wide variety of egg colors from white and brown to pink and green. Eggs are collected and washed by hand daily, ensuring the freshest and highest quality product.

Why are these eggs so good?

* 100% Pasture-Raised

* Custom-mixed, all-natural diet

* No antibiotics

* All standard or "heritage" breed hens

* Local: Joelton, TN

Start an account and get our Endless Egg Basket!

Deliveries to Nashville on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Individual dozens are $4 each. Commercial accounts welcome.

Contact C.J. for more information, or to start an account.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Comings and Goings

About a month ago, we had a very tumultuous week here at Ecotone. After a farm visit by one of our good friends, Cody Hopkins of Falling Sky Farm, we decided that if it did feel chaotic around the farm - and it did - then it was chaotic at the farm. Deciding to scale-back and focus our energies on laying hens and pigs, we found new homes for the 25 guineas, the 5 turkeys, the 3 geese, and of course, Billy. We put all these critters on Craigslist, and within a week they were all re-homed. Billy found a wonderful new home with the folks below, and is destined to be a 4H show goat for the young man below.

The turkeys went to a young family that recently moved from California to Tennessee due to the water situation there. The geese went to a couple in Cookeville, and the guineas went with a pair of sisters to Hendersonville.

Also during this week, we received the first of two shipments of this year's laying chicks. Unfortunately, the first box all arrived dead due to the cold. The next box, however, all arrived alive and well, as did the replacement shipment for the first. With this year's layers, we add five heritage or standard breeds that will produce several new colors of eggs. Jen and I have been spending a lot of time with them in the brooder, as there's nothing cuter than baby chicks! Below is a video of them in the brooder.

In what was perhaps the most difficult movement of life that week, Cloe was hit by a car on Harper Road late Friday night. The folks that hit her stopped by to tell us, as they live near by and had seen Cloe and Cletus playing the pasture. They had clearly been going very fast, as she was a good 10 feet from the road, as well as drinking. But our fences, ultimately, were the problem, and Jen and I spent the next few weekends learning how to put up barbed-wire fence and fixing the fences. Cloe was a wonderful companion, and a rascal of the highest order. She will be missed for a long time.

Finally, because Cletus was noticeably down during the weeks after Cloe's death, after we fixed the fence I began looking for a new companion for him. Thus, I'm pleased to introduce Daisy, who when we got her on March 15th was 7 weeks old. Like Cletus, she's a Great Pyrenees, and unlike Cloe, she's got a badger mask. Within a few days, Cletus was back to his old self, rolling in the grass with his new friend and acting like a puppy all over again. She's really a spunky pup, biting Ozark and Cletus' legs and making them have some fun in the spring sun!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Egg Count 3

I just wanted to give an update on the current egg count, as well as some cumulative data I've begun to gather. As a reminder, these numbers refer to 143 chickens (139 hens and 4 roosters).

As of last week, the average daily egg count is 8.5 dozen. Just a month ago, it was 6.5 a day.

The total egg count for January was 1,909, or 159 dozen. Eating an average of 51.6 pounds of feed per day, or .36 pounds per hen, it took roughly 9.96 pounds of grain per dozen, or .83 pounds per egg. Each hen ate 11.16 pounds of feed over the course of the month, and laid an average of 13.25 eggs. This is so high, of course, because there was so little forage in the pasture to supplement their diet. After all, quite a bit of the last two months looked like this:

But even though we had the coldest February since 1979, with the creeping daylight the average daily collection steadily rose, and the total egg count for the month was 2,275, or 190 dozen. Eating an average of 50 pounds per day, this increase in eggs brought the grain per dozen down to 7.38 pounds, or .62 pounds per egg. So as the average monthly total per hen rose to 16.37 eggs, their individual feed consumption dropped to 9.79 pounds each.