We have a big problem – a lot of wonderful, young hens in prime laying condition, and not enough egg buyers. I coordinated a group purchase of “started pullets” this spring, and included extra assuming we would have additional farmers interested in them. I also purposely doubled the flock hoping the new farmstand would generate more year-round local customers. Wrong on both counts.
I have spent the last couple of days teary-eyed knowing we are potentially going to have to butcher and compost about 100 hens. Hens who are in prime laying time. Hens who are probably the most sweet-tempered we’ve ever had. Ask Christina – she’s been tip-toeing around me. I’ve known we had this problem all summer but just couldn’t deal with it, other than making a few attempts to find new homes for some. Now I have to.
So what to do?? I think we have tried all the feasible/responsible ways to find new homes (shipping to the Snow Bird markets in Florida is not feasible). It would cost less to buy store eggs to donate to food banks than to continue to feed our hens and donate the eggs.
Then I had a thought.!!! If I’m doing my figures correctly, everyone who commits to buying ½ dozen eggs/week saves one hen. A dozen/week saves two hens. I know this is short notice but we really need your commitment NOW. Many people already purchase our eggs on a regular basis and this will just be a weekly/bi-weekly commitment to what you are already doing, but it lets us reserve eggs (i.e. hens) for you! In addition to saving YOU money it will save one of these lovely animals! So here is the proposal:
Fall/Winter 2014 October 18, 2014 through May 2, 2015 (29 weeks) Egg CSA: Full dozen/week is $131. Half dozen/week is $66. During the winter we will double up every other week rather than every week to coincide with the farmers market (we can stagger farm and market pickups for freshness).
We really need your commitment NOW, so we know what we can do.
YES: I want to commit to saving Rehoboth Homestead’s hens.
Phone/text: ______________ Email: ____________________________________
I will pick up at (circle one) the farm or the Plattsburgh Winter Farmers Market
I commit to
_____a dozen/week $131 (if using credit card $135)
_____a half/dozen/week $66 (if using credit card $68)
Amount enclosed: __________ Signature: _________________________________
Please go to our online store to use your credit card or make check payable to “Rehoboth Homestead” and send it to 66 Jabez Allen Road, Peru NY 12972.
About our eggs: Folks love the flavor. They love that the hens are free to roam around and scratch, eat seeds and worms, etc. They love that their certified organic feed doesn’t have pesticide residues, so the healthy fats in the eggs are indeed healthy. They like that buying our eggs supports farmers who are raising feeds using non-GMO grains and organic, environmentally-friendly production methods.
Our eggs this year do not have the dark yolks they have in the past. I think there are at least three reasons. First, these hens were hatched in January, so raised inside loose in a barn. They did not get to eat greens as they were growing, so their bodies did not have a reserve of dark yolk nutrients. They laid yellow eggs instead of orange from the start. Second, I think the soy-free feed also results in lighter yolks. Third, maybe related to being raised in a barn instead of being outside during the day as young ‘uns, they don’t like to roam much. Maybe it is also related to their docileness, but they stay really close to their camper-henhouses. With twice as many as before, they quickly eat the plants around their campers, even though they have nice clover and grass within their paddock.
You can see photos of how they are treated on our website: rhomestead.com .