Small Hobby Farm in Rural Missouri
At e-i-e-i-o, chickens were the first animals we decided to raise on the farm so we could enjoy fresh eggs. About five years ago, we received 25 day-old chicks through a mail order hatchery. We enjoyed watching those chicks grow. When the chicks were about five months old, they began to lay the best eggs we had ever tasted. It was then, that we both swore we would never again eat store bought eggs.
After the first year, we realized our hens were producing more eggs than we could possibly consume. One evening, we were dining out at one of my favorite restaurants, Sidney Street Cafe, having their yummy ham & egg appetizer when it hit me. I decided to talk with the owner, Kevin Nashan, about using our eggs for some of his awesome dishes. I gave him a couple dozen to sample and the rest as they say is history. We have been supplying Sidney Street with eggs ever since and have a wonderful relationship with Kevin. His pastry chef loves to bake with the eggs because the whites “stand up” and they create perfectly textured baked goods.
All of our scraps, leftovers and basically any foods we are not going to eat goes to the chickens. We have only found two things they do not like, pumpkins and raw potato peels (which actually are supposed to be harmful to them). Restaurants that we frequent know that we will always need a to go box for “the chickens” and everyone who comes to eat at our house knows that if there are any leftovers on their plate, nothing goes to waste. I think the variety of food scraps, laying crumble, scratch grains and of course lots of love and care make for the perfect egg.
We play music for the chickens to keep them company and we have also heard that it can help with egg production. We have found that they prefer country over classical. We once found a chicken had hung itself on the radio cord after listening to a classical show so we got the hint! We also leave lights on in the winter to increase egg production, although they still produce fewer eggs that time of year.
We now have about 70 laying hens of varied breeds, and replace some each year to keep our flock productive.
Once you try a farm fresh egg with a bright orange rich yolk, you will never buy white eggs from the grocery store again!