Well, "City girl" married "farmer" about 20 years ago. I knew nothing about farming, only that I loved this man that thought outside the box and saved screws because you never know when you might need that old rusty screw!
I am an avid reader, always have been, but I read for fun. Jerry reads to learn, discover new and improved ways of living life and experimenting with the natural things we have in the earth and how to better what we are putting in our bodies.
He was a farmer for 43 years until he had a large stroke in 2013. Farming was abruptly over as he could no longer work. I wanted him to feel like he was still working with the earth and livestock so I thought maybe we could try to raise some chickens; that it might help with his recovery as far as physical rehabilitation and mental rehabilitation.
His body may have slowed down, but his mind is still wonderfully creative. We have always been holistic; cooking from scratch, staying away from preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, making our own kefir and kombucha. We have raised dogs our entire marriage and have given them the probiotics we make for ourselves, so it was natural to do that for the chickens as well.
Our chickens come with no antibiotics and no wormers. By NOT doing this, it is fairly easy for them to get disease and parasites. The only real way to protect them is by boosting their immune systems naturally which gives them more fighting armor against the issues that can affect chickens. We have been advocates of Oreganol oil and Thyme for over 20 years; long before our chickens came around.
When we first started with the chickens, things were great. Great eggs, lots of them...then winter came and most things come to a screeching halt for egg producers around this time. The change in the weather does effect egg production, and we found some alarming things going on. Because the chickens don't want to go outside (too cold, and the ground is frozen), there aren't bugs, worms and grass for them to eat like they usually do so they are missing vitamins and minerals that are vital to their health. Chickens behave poorly when they don't have the proper diet. We decided early on that we were going to supplement the fresh grass for them when there is no grass outside by having them on a fodder system. This allows us to grow sprouts from barley, wheat, oats, and legumes for our chickens in a matter of days and roll it up and let them have the probiotics also that come in the water used to produce this fodder. It is an amazing system and works like hydroponics. We use Verma castings in the water which is yet another form of probiotics for the chickens! It is on a rotational basis so the chickens can have fresh green grass 365 days a year. However, we found that even this wasn't enough for them in winter. They were still missing proteins and Amino Acids. After talking to Springfield, Eggs inspectors, and anybody who had any real knowledge about chickens, we decided they needed more worms in winter. O.K.........so we went to Arkansas and purchased a worm farm. This is no worm farm for the faint of heart; it is a huge production worm farm that takes at least 20 extra hours of work each week just to feed and water! Even our worms are NON-GMO!!!!
We are licensed by the State of Illinois. To be licensed and to maintain your license, you need to be able to prove anything you say you are doing at any given time. You are also subject to random inspections.
We are very proud of what we are doing here. An egg is NOT just an egg, especially an egg from our place. Unfortunately, I cannot eat eggs out at restaurants any longer, there is no comparison. I do not even put salt or pepper on our hard boiled eggs there is no need, the flavor of the egg will be covered up.
It is very easy to toss some NON-GMO feed out to your chickens and call them holistic. We are making water probiotics, milk kefir, kombucha, sprouting grains and feeding our chickens our hand raised worms and castings from the worms for nutrition along with giving them thyme and Oreganol oil for added protection. They are pastured.
We have PREMIER EGGS. We feed our chickens so well and fortify them so well, I don't see how any egg can beat the nutrient richness we provide for our chickens. We don't want to waste any part of the egg so we re-use the eggshells as well. Good for bone health, arthritis, jam filled with minerals and Amino acids. The most nutritious part of the egg is the shell membrane. This is the film/lining that sticks to the eggshell. This is filled with
Hyloronic acid which is great for your skin and which also helps build cartilage. I make eggshell capsules from the eggshell powder after they are cleaned, sanitized, dried, cooked in the oven and pulverized. This is the best, most natural way to get what your body needs to maintain and repair itself from time, lack of the right joint and bone support, as well as arthritis.
In closing I would like to say that there is a lot of weight in the old saying: "You are what you eat". We feed our chickens as well as we do because we want them to give us back in turn what we have given them.