Spring Mountain Farms
- What chicken breed(s) do you raise?
Red Sex-links. We are in the process of changing over to heritage breeds (Ameraucanas, Buckeys, Dominques and Speckled Sussex).
Why did you choose those breed(s), and are you satisfied with their performance?
The Red Sex-links are very good producers and easy to get pullets. The heritage breeds are only day old chicks and mature slower. We have not have them long enough to compare performance.
Which breed’s eggs did you send in to be tested?
How many laying hens do you have?
About 200 but only 100 are laying at this time.
In what year of laying are the hens?
Approximately how many eggs do they lay per hen, per month? Please include seasonal variations.
Approximately 25 and have not seen any seasonal change yet. We stared raising chickens with 17 week old Red Sex-links pullets last September.
What, if any, measures do you take to extend the egg production season?
Nothing is done and have not seen a season in 10 months so far.
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.
We mix our own feed. We start with a grain mixture of 50% corn, 30% Soybeans and 20% Oats we get from a local feed mill. We then mix in 60#’s of Fertrell “Organic Poultry Nuti-Balance” mineral mix, 175# of Aragonite (calcium) and 200# of ground Alfalfa hay per ton of grain mix.
If you have kept confined hens, can you estimate how much less feed hens raised on pasture consume?
Have not had them.
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 birds free range any area of about 8 acres with it being half pasture and half woods. We have built small 6’ x 12’ roosting boxes for them along the woods edge. They are movable and we do move them a couple times a year. There are a couple nest boxes placed there also and some more in the main barn where they spend winter. They seem to like the woods plants much more than the pasture ones, but love any young plants.
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 rural and don’t have any regulations … yet.
Have you had problems with predators, and how have you solved them?
We have not really had a predator problem for three reasons. First the woods gives the birds cover from the hawks. Second we have a Boorder Collie for the ground predators. Third is the electric fence all over the property for our cattle and pigs that keeps out the larger ground predators.
Do you sell your eggs? If so, where and for how much?
Yes, we get $2.50 a dozen.
Can you estimate how much you earn per year, per bird?
Not at this time. We are to new at it.
What do you think are the main reasons customers choose your eggs? (flavor, nutrition, more humane conditions, etc.)Nutrition 1st then 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?The only comments are on flavor and color of yoke.
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.I do not know of any but have read about them. This is always going to be a major problem. I preach to everyone that will listen “Do Not buy any meat products unless you can see the way they are raised” If everyone bought that way there would not be industrial farm and the small farmer would prosper again. The difference in the nutritional value of eggs makes it an easier sell for all our products.
Feel free to share any additional comments with us.We began raising chicken as a method of fly control. We raise all our livestock organically. Our chicken live with our cattle and pigs. It is so cute to see piglets, chickens and cows running into the same 3-sided shed to get out of a thunderstorm. This is our first summer with them and decided if they never laid another egg we would still have them for the fly control.
NUTRITION TEST RESULTS
- On what date were your egg samples shipped to the lab?
They were shipped overnight freight on 6-4-07.
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.
That is what I received.
Cholesterol: 231 mg
Omega-3: 680 mg
Vitamin E: 8 IU
Folic acid: 7.86 mg
Selenium: ND: 0.07
Beta carotene: 150 IU
Retinol: 663 IU
Total vitamin A: 813 IU