In the winter of 2015 Gil Johnson decided that Free Range/Cage FREE Brown egg production should be added to our Farm. We had started a C.S.A.( Community Supported Agriculture Program) and Brown eggs are an important part of most CSA’s.
Being Fruit and Vegetable Farmers the idea of raising Chicken for egg production was a bit out of or comfort zone. We researched the process and decided to start with 150 Rhode Island Reds and to use a CHICKEN TRACTOR SYSTEM.
Here are a few things we have learned so far.
WHAT IS A FREE RANGE EGG?
Free–range eggs are eggs produced from birds that are permitted outdoors for at least part of the day. The term “free–range” may be used differently depending on the country and the relevant laws. Eggs from indoor-only chickens might also be labelled Cage-free, Barn, Barn-roaming or Aviary.
Our chickens live in a structure called a Chicken Tractor. We are not quite sure how the Chicken tractor got its name but essentially it is a mobile home for chickens. Ours is 14 feet wide by 20 feet long. It has a large grazing area that is covered with a hoop house to keep our ladies safe from hawks and other predators. The coop is at the back of the structure and provides shelter, roosting and egg laying boxes. The chickens are fed outside and can choose which box they prefer to lay there eggs in. We move our Tractor 2 or 3 times a week to provide fresh, clean grazing area for our birds.
ARE BROWN EGGS DIFFERENT THAN WHITE EGGS?
Basically only in the color of the shell. Different Breeds of chickens lay different color eggs. Our chickens are Rhode Island Reds a brown egg laying breed.