Welcome back friends
of Full Quiver Farm!
This past year was one filled
with many blessings and challenges. Through it all, we continue
to trust in our Provider for His direction and mercy.
This was our first year with the all-new Suffolk Farmers Market.
It was a great success in that we found many of you there at
the market. We're planning on returning this year, and can't
wait to see how everyone is doing. Our biggest challenge was
trying to keep from selling out of our famous Country Brown Eggs.
This year we hope to solve this with a whole new batch of pullets.
(A pullet is a hen under a year old). We ordered 120 this fall
and they should be ready to start laying in earnest by the time
the Farmers Market gears up.
It takes pullets about 21 weeks before they lay that first egg.
After that they'll average one a day for most of the season,
until the days get shorter in the fall.
our oldest (13yrs), is taking on the eggs as her enterprise this
year. She tended them most of last year, and is ready to do everything
this year. She's excited about it and would love to talk to you
about them at our booth at the market.
Broilers will continue to be
our centerpiece product this year. We will continue to have monthly
farm pickup days (see schedule). Please remember to pre-order
for the pickup days. As usual, we'll have broilers
available at the farmers market. Some of you will remember that
severe heat was a problem two years ago and partly due to our
low shelter design. Our new portable "hoop" shelter
design this past year took care of this problem by venting heat
upward and encouraging good air-flow.
Lilly, the cow.
This winter we added a family dairy cow,
Lilly. You just can't beat an ice cold glass of milk that you
personally extracted from your own cow just a few hours earlier.
Just make sure and wash it down with some of Katie's (12yrs)
home-made brownies! Lilly has quite a personality. She is the
source of many humorous stories. Here's one from shortly after
we got her
We were getting her used to coming into the
milk parlor in the morning and evening. This is before we learned
that cows don't like change. They like everything to be in the
same place and everything done in the same order, at the same
time. We went out to the pasture to fetch her, and didn't realize
that someone had left a green garden hose running right across
in front of the door to the milk parlor. She was walking along
and suddenly jerked to a stop, staring at the hose, as if to
say, "well, what do I do now?" I knew that if I tried
to move the hose that it would startle her even more. We were
finally able to coax her timidly in. Unfortunately, Bess, our
family dog, decided to come sniffing about her hind feet, when
as lightening, out flashed a kick that caught the dog right in
the head. To say the least, everyone was quite nervous after
this. (Bessie the dog was fine, by the way). As I remember it,
this was one of the few evenings that Lilly kicked over the milk
about halfway through. So we learned our lesson, don't leave
hoses laying around, and Bessie the dog tucks her tail whenever
Lilly comes around. Lilly has turned out to be a great milker
and has a great disposition, as long as things stay predictable.
She gives around 5 gallons a day. We've got real cream for our
coffee and delicious butter. We're about to try our hand at cheese
making. We'll let you know how that goes.
Right now we're not offering
milk, although we're looking into it. Please let us know if you
would be interested. If we did, it would be contract based, so
there would be a commitment required. We would also need to work
out pick-up logistics. All this is in the planning stages right
now so we'd love your input.
Full Quiver Farm
Did you know...
The average hen will lay between 200 to 300 eggs a year!
Do you need a rooster
to get eggs?
You only need a rooster if you want some eggs to hatch!
Can you eat fertilized eggs?
Sure. There's only a single cell in there that's actually fertile.
And it won't develop unless it's kept warm by a hen or incubator.
Still, we keep the roosters away from the hens we sell from.
So all your eggs should be unfertilized.
An egg forms in the hens body
over the course of about a week and the shell is not created
until the night before she lays it! The shell consists of almost
pure calcium carbonate. Since the hen lays about an egg a day,
she has about 7 or more eggs in various stages of growth at any
point in time. Healthy hens have good solid strong shelled eggs.
You may have noticed that our eggs have thicker shells than store
bought. Our hens get extra calcium in the form of good green
pasture and an oyster shell supplement.
Hens won't sit?
Most of today's breeds of hens have forgotten how to sit on the
nest and hatch and raise chicks. This is because almost all commercial
chicks available have been artificially incubated. This has been
going on for about half a century. The instinct to sit on her
eggs has effectively been bred out of the modern layer. A "broody
hen" as they are called are hard to find. Several of the
older more traditional breeds will still "go broody",
as they call it. A broody hen will start sitting on her eggs
after she lays them. She will rarely leave the nest and will
keep laying until she has about a dozen or so eggs. Then, her
body stops producing eggs
while she continues to incubate them, carefully turning them
and keeping them just the right temperature and humidity for
about three weeks. We have a broody hen now and can't wait to
see her leading around her baby chicks. After about 21 days,
the chicks will begin peeping inside their shell. There is a
small air sack inside each egg that helps to get them started.
The chicks then begin the long arduous task of pipping to break
out of the shell. It's wonderful to watch and can take up to
a full 24 hours!