Owner(s): Dennis & Carolan Deacon
Address: 1106 Rainbow Forest Dr.; Troutville, VA 24175
Phone: (540) 309-3436; (540) 977-0340
Website: Not for the farm, but we do have a music website for our faith CD: www.carolandeacon.com. We are both musicians and Carolan just released a country song worldwide. We have our original contemporary spiritual songs as well as performances with rock, blues and country songs.
- What chicken breed(s) do you raise? Three Rhode Island Reds, 2 Araucanas
Why did you choose those breed(s), and are you satisfied with their performance? The local Farm Store we go to get chicks in every March. Three years ago we went in to see them and came away with 6 chicks, 4 Reds and 2 Araucanas. The reds are pretty common and we thought they’d be good, but we liked the look of the Araucanas, plus the fact that they lay blue eggs. Yes we have been satisfied with what we get from them; the Reds however are a bit aggressive. The main reason we wanted chickens is so we can have eggs free from chemicals, growth hormones and antibiotics.
Which breed’s eggs did you send in to be tested? Rhode Island Reds
How many laying hens do you have? Five. We had 6 but one got killed by a stray dog.
In what year of laying are the hens? Our hens are in their third year of laying.
Approximately how many eggs do they lay per hen, per month? Please include seasonal variations. We get around 14 eggs a week or close to 50 eggs a month. In the molting period we get down to 0-2 eggs a week for a few months Nov. into Feb.
What, if any, measures do you take to extend the egg production season? None, we let them go through their natural cycle.
What kind(s) of supplemental feed do you use? Please be as specific as possible, including the brand name or farm where you get your feed.Scratch grains, a lot of grass clippings, garden & kitchen vegetable scraps, bread & pasta scraps, and insects. They especially scratch for earthworms in our compost pile and in the drainage ditches around our garden, plus they love to pick the watermelon and cantaloupe rinds. We keep the melon rinds in our spare fridge and on hot days, it’s a cool treat for them! I experimented with some late lettuce this year to see how it would do in a shady corner of the garden. Planted it in late May, it is beautiful but turned bitter by late June. Thing is the chickens love it, so we cut it and put it in their pen. When they’re out, they go right to the row and forage. It’s their “personal salad bar.”
- If you have kept confined hens, can you estimate how much less feed hens raised on pasture consume? N/A
Tell us about the living and ranging conditions of your hens. For example, what kind of pens do you have? Did you build them yourself? Do you use moveable pens? If so, how often do you move the birds to fresh pasture? What is the approximate size of the area on which your chickens are free to range and forage on a given day? Are there any specific plants in the pasture that you know your birds eat? Our pen is a movable coop that I designed and built; I can hook up my tractor and easily move it to a new location. The coop size is 10 ft X 5ft (I included a picture of it). They are not free-ranging outside the coop all of the time now because of neighbors dogs. We have about 1 ½ acres of area, but they tend to stay in the lower yard and garden area. Plenty of insects to find; I mulch my garden with old straw and hay and there are loads of crickets under it. They eat grass and of course the garden lettuce.
How would you characterize the area in which you live — urban, suburban or rural? Are there any local regulations you had to meet to be able to raise chickens? We are in a rural area that is zoned for agriculture.
Have you had problems with predators, and how have you solved them? Yes, we have had foxes interested in our coop, but they’ve never gotten in. The main predators we have are dogs. There is no leash law in this area, so dogs do come thru. That’s how we lost one of our reds. Because the chickens are in a movable coop, they get around that way. But when we are outside, the chickens are let out to roam and forage in the garden and wherever “under supervision”. We have a dachshund, Isaiah and a Border Collie mix, Sophie, who ‘alert’ us if another dog is in the area by barking.
Do you sell your eggs? If so, where and for how much? No, but we do give some away to friends and family. We mainly wanted the chickens so we could be more self-sustaining and always encourage others to do the same.
Can you estimate how much you earn per year, per bird? N/A
What do you think are the main reasons customers choose your eggs? (flavor, nutrition, more humane conditions, etc.) The reason our friends and family members want them is because of the superb flavor.
Do you have any notable comments from customers that you can share with us? Are there any customers whose contact information you can give us so we can talk directly with them about why they choose your eggs? N/A
Many of you have expressed dismay at our using the term “free-range eggs,” because of the way that language has been tarnished by certain producers whose birds really have no access to fresh pasture. Are you aware of any of these “industrial free-range” farms in your area? If so, please provide us with as much information about the producer as possible. No, I am not aware of any farms like this in our area, but there are several organic farms in Floyd, VA, where the birds truly do range. Their eggs are sold on the Roanoke Farmer’s market.
NUTRITION TEST RESULTS
On what date were your egg samples shipped to the lab? June 20, 2007
Please confirm that we have recorded your test results accurately. If your report shows different values, please indicate that by making a note on the correct line below. (Not sure what number to use for the Omega-3.)
Cholesterol: 286 mg /100g
Vitamin E: 2 IU/100g
Folic acid: didn’t test
Selenium: didn’t test
Beta carotene: 116 IU/100g
Retinol: 584 IU/100g
Total vitamin A: 700 IU/100g