20 years ago, living an urban Southern California lifestyle, surfing on the weekend, if someone had said, “you’ll be running a farm, raising chickens and a veggie CSA”, I would’ve laughed! And I do still chuckle a little at my reality of running this farm. I laugh at how happy and grateful I am to have such a life.
But, raising chickens is a year-round practice; it starts most every fall with day old chicks, that grow up through the winter. Is it easy? Not how we do it. The quality of our eggs is unparalleled. Knowing that our eggs are so delicious, so healthy and so beautiful, keeps me inspired.
Day-old chicks arrive in the mail. I pick them up at the post office early, about 5am, as soon as I’m called. Back home awaits their special room with a special homemade brooder box with heat lamps. Each one is carefully removed from their shipping box, their beaks dipped in the water source and set down gently near the heat. Super Cute!! Raising primarily heritage birds, we have Americana (green egg layers), Barred Rocks, Rhodes Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Black Australorps. Of course, this variety of heritage bird is enjoyable to look at, and lay all color of eggs. The color of the egg shell really does not make a difference in the egg itself, it merely denotes the breed of chicken it came from.
Our chickens have access to pasture, fresh air and sunshine nearly EVERYDAY. They also get lots of nutritious organic produce- left-over arugula, bok choy, last season squash, kale, chickweed etc. Quite the menu. They get a daily ration of non GMO locally milled feed from family owned & operated Triple M Feed.
When our season is in full swing, they’ll eat vegetables that are either too abundant, or past their prime. That’s useful recycling with the side benefit of ensuring gorgeously yellow yolks.
The flock really starts laying again by the end of March, just in time for our Spring CSA and farm stand. Families picking up their CSA share often bring their kids along to see the chickens and goats. The charismatic chickens are definitely a favorite. Parents love the experience too—the farm, their vegetable share, darting, talkative chickens and their egg share. If you’re a CSA member and want to see the chicken coup or greenhouses, just ask. We love to let you see first hand. It’s always nice to get that email saying, “these are the best eggs I have ever eaten”. That’s what makes all the hard work and thoughtful planning worthwhile.