Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 Chicken Prices

Whole Pastured Chicken: $4.29/lb
              50#-99.99# (whole birds only) $3.79/lb 
              100# or more (whole birds only) $3.49/lb

Half Pastured Chicken: $4.49/lb
              Halves are not eligible for the quantity discount.

Backs/necks: $1.49/lb

Special processing day price: $3.29/lb for any quantity.  Our absolute best price on pastured chicken is available to customers who make an appointment to come to the farm on processing day to pick up their birds from the chill tank.  Birds are unpackaged.  Customers take their chickens whole and cook or cut up as they desire before freezing.  We recommend using or freezing within 5 days.  See Processing Day Policies.
To reserve birds, email us at or come to the Murphy farmers market to sign up in person.

Processing Day Policies

                *Birds must be reserved.  A 7-week broiler will range in size from 3.5-5.5 pounds.  At 8 weeks, chickens range between 4.5-6.5 pounds.  If you want a smaller bird, arrange for the Week 7 processing pick up.
                *We may process Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, depending on the weather forecast.  You will receive an email and/or phone call the Monday of the week of processing to confirm the date. 
                *You must bring your own cooler and ice.  We will take the birds from the chill tank, weigh them, and place them in your cooler.  There will be a sanitizing station available for customers to clean their coolers.  We will NOT place chickens into a dirty cooler or into any un-insulated container.  Always bring more coolers than you think you’ll need.
                *If you do not pick up your reserved birds on processing day, we will contact you about whether or not you still want them.  Regular pricing will apply to any chicken not released to customer from the chill tank.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Is Here!

And that means it's time to mow the grass. LOTS of grass.  I both love and hate mowing.  It takes about 8 hours to do ALL the mowing here, and that's when things aren't overgrown.  Mowing is good exercise. Another benefit to mowing with a push mower is that you get to really observe the condition of the sod.  What grasses and weeds are growing?  Where does that boggy spot begin and end? 

Last year, when we were grazing two heifers, the grass was allowed to get LONG and lush.  Now that the cows are gone, we graze with an internal combustion engine on four tiny wheels.  Then there's the bush hog on the tractor, which we use to mow the pasture ahead of the chickens.  After two years of rotational grazing with chickens (and one year with cows) I must say that our grass is looking mighty fine. 

I must admit that although mowing every 10-14 days is no picnic in the summer heat, I do love how my place looks when it is freshly mowed.  There's a PEACEFUL feeling I get from gazing on a neat carpet o'green. 

And my neighbor actually said that the house "looks nice."  Wonders never cease!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Started Pullets Available NOW

Barred Rock

Rhode Island Red


Buff Orpington

Black Australrop

Black Sex Link

Golden Comet
They are no longer little fluff balls!  We have been caring for these chickens for 17 weeks now.   Quantities are limited.  Pickup at the farm only.  Call Jen at 828-three-two-one-2171 or 828-five-four-one-9393.  Or email  zackandjen2004 at

The following table shows the pricing schedule for 2013.

Price each
January 28

February 2
February 4

February 9
February 11

February 16
February 18

February 23
February 25

March 2
March 4

March 9
March 11

March 16
March 18

March 23
March 25

March 30

Thursday, January 31, 2013


No, we haven't got a dog.

"Pugging" is a term that describes the what happens to sodden pasture when it's stepped on by a heavy animal. The soil is compacted into a perfect hoof-shaped bowl.  Imagine thousands of these bowls creating "texture" over the field.  Now imagine trying to roll tiny wheels in and around these bowls as we move our broiler pens around this summer.  GROAN.

See the water collected in the hoofprint?
Because we had no way of getting the cows OFF the ground, into a barn or true "sacrifice" area, we have created this mess for ourselves.     

The reason you want to avoid putting animals on wet ground is the same reason you want to avoid working in the garden when the ground is wet: soil compaction.  When you have clay soils, as we do, avoiding soil compaction is extremely important.

Now that the cows are gone, there will be no further damage to the pasture.  I will have to research how to repair the pugging that has occurred.

Goodbye, Oinkers!

Pugging.  Yuck.

Janurary 2013 Update

We're on track for another mild winter.  This is not good for the bees, who should be staying inside keeping warm instead of burning more calories flying around looking for things to eat.  The only things blooming at present are a few dandelions and the biggest winter weeds, henbit and chickweed.  These plants are beneficial and we certainly harvest whatever we can find to toss to the birds. 

In this season of "no growth" of grass, the chickens have been extremely tough on the sod.  With the cows in the lower field we got really backed into a corner, pasture-wise.  We addressed this by parking the laying flock on a pad of 5 tons of rough-textured sawdust from the local chipper mill.  If we had a hoophouse over the area, it would be the same system that Polyface uses in the winter.  Unfortunately, the hoophouse will have to wait.  What this means from a management perspective is that we'll continue to add carbon to the pad to compensate for the moisture that will surely continue to fall over the winter.  In the spring will we plant a thick cover crop over the pad to smother weeds and build soil.  Eventually we should have both good soil there and a hoophouse.