Luke, I am your Fodder!

With winter in full swing and green pasture long gone we have started providing our flocks with fodder to satisfy their desire for greens vegetation. In the past we have grown our fodder in common 5 gallon buckets with drainage holes drilled in them. In the next month we will be transitioning over to a higher production tiered tray system. As soon as it is complete we will post pictures and step by step instruction how we grow our fodder.

In the meantime enjoy the short video below of our Isbar chickens munching on a new fodder round. They absolutely love it! Roots, stems, and seeds they eat it all!

And yes that was my attempt at a cheesy Star Wars reference!

Frames for two new chicken tractors complete

Chicken tractor frames

Chicken tractor frames

Here is a picture of the two newest tractor frames on the farm. While we still have some traditional coops, we are transitioning to mobile tractors. It does require more daily work due to the fact the chickens are in a different place every day and hauling feed and water to them is a chore. However, they are much happier being on fresh grass and bugs every day versus the barren dirt runs a traditional coop provides.

 

 

Here are some updated pics of the completed tractors and their new occupants.

Finished Chicken Tractor

Finished Chicken Tractors

Chicken Tractors In The Field

Chicken Tractors In The Field

Chicken In Chicken Tractor

Chicken In Chicken Tractor

We will be busy for the rest of the spring making quite a few more of these tractors. If anyone is interested in a rough plan let us know and we will send it to you.

Spring 2015 is 90% sold out!

2015  has started off with a bang.  Traffic to our web site has been 4 times more last year!   Which also means emails. phone calls, and orders have also been significantly more as well.   As of today February 27th we have sold out of most of our breeds through the rest of spring.   We still have deliveries available for June and beyond but there are not any delivery dates available until then.

Here is a run down of what is currently available.

Partridge Barthuhners – Eggs and chicks currently available.

Isbar – Eggs 3 weeks out, chicks not available.

Augsburger – 3 chicks available now and then sold out.

Cream legbar – sold out.

Bielefelder – sold out.

Gold laced orpington –  chicks are 5-6 weeks out.

Mottled orpington – chicks 5-6 weeks out.

Isabel orpington – sold out

Crele orpington – possibly available in late April.

Tolbunt Polish – sold out ( hens not currently laying) Once they start we have 3 weeks worth of orders to fill then they will be available again.

All other orpington colors – sold out or not currently laying.

Thank you to everyone who has helped get 2015 started off at a record pace.

 

 

 

 

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! English Orpingtons Have Invaded.

Omega Hills Farm has been invaded by English Orpingtons! We have several colors of 100% English Orpington flocks we are growing out for the 2015 season. Below are some chicks of the colors we will be offering.
Not all of our colors are in the picture. Missing are the:

  •  Mottled
  • Jubilee
  • Gold Laced
  • Crele
  • Partridge

 

This spring will be exciting for sure.

orpington-chicks

Tornado! **Updated 5/5/14**

On Monday a tornado ripped trough the farm. There has been extensive damage to the farm and our homes. We are without power and expect it to be out for several days possibly up to a week. I’m posting this from my phone charged by our generator.

Thankfully everyone is safe and sound. We had no casualties on the farm. All shipments for this week have been delayed until next week. Please bear with us while we get back up and running.

** Updated 5/5/14 **

I am sad to report that we did indeed have casualties on the farm from the tornado. We lost all of our chicks that hatched the week prior on April 24th. They were just a few days old when the storm hit and the loss of power meant we could not keep the brooder heaters running. We do have a generator, but it was being shared between house and barn and was just not enough to keep them warm in the cold nights after the storm. Our incubators were without power for roughly 5 hours and then had ride in a truck across the county where they remained for the rest of the week. Last weeks hatch had a little lower hatch rate than normal but those eggs were at around 18 days when the storm hit. The next two weeks will be interesting due to those eggs being much “younger” when the power was lost. Hopefully they will be about normal as well.  We are now back up and running with full power and internet connection but still picking up the pieces and dealing with insurance/contractors to complete repairs.  Thank you for all your thoughts,well wishes, and prayers over the last week.

Needless to say the storm has pushed our delivery schedule back by at least a week and depending on the hatches the next two weeks it could be a little longer. We will do every thing we possibly can to fill your orders as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding while we work to catch up.

Below are some pictures of the damage.

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Tree on power line on Omega Drive

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Picture of tornado about 10 miles before it hit us.

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House about 2000 yards east of our farm

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Church about 1500 yards east of our farm.  Yes the marquee was that before the storm

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Large pine tree on our fence. There are about 20 trees down on our fence around the farm

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Trees hanging on the power line blocking our drive

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Another tree on the power line on Omega Drive

How we pack eggs for safe shipping

Packing Eggs for Safe Shipping

Packing Eggs for Safe Shipping

You ship eggs???  How do you do that??  Do they not break during shipment?

Those are a few of the many questions we get asked on a regular basis.

Trusting the postal service to treat our packages with care is a scary and somewhat foolish idea.  There are a number of dangers that any package faces during shipment.  However, those dangers pose a greater threat to our fragile shipments of eggs.   None of our customers want to be on the receiving end of a very expensive omelet.  So take a look at the picture to see how we package each shipment to protect the eggs from damage.

 

First we start off with foam that is specially made for shipping eggs.  Each layer of foam holds 9 eggs.  We stack 2 layers in a 6x6x7 box.  There are layers of foam on the top, bottom, and between the eggs.  The box is then sealed up and placed inside a larger 12x12x8 box.

The smaller box is then packed in tight to prevent it from moving around during shipment.  This provide the eggs with 4 layers of protection.  Two layers of cardboard, one layer of foam, and one layer of packing material.  On the outside of the box we label it “Live Animals” and “Fragile Handle With Care”.  We also mark the top so that the eggs will ride in the proper position.

While this has proven to be the safest method for shipping eggs, it does not guarantee  100% safe delivery.  If the box is run over by a forklift or thrown down a flight of stairs or even used as a soccer ball for bored warehouse workers the eggs will break.   And yes we have had a few shipments in the past that appeared to have that happen to them.  In those cases we filed a claim with the post office and had no troubles getting the claims approved.

So next time you are asked how people ship eggs, you can tell them exactly how we do it.

Appenzeller Barthuhner and Chocolate Wyandotte Hatching Eggs Now Available

We are happy to announce that we now have limited quantities of hatching eggs available for Appenzeller Barthuhner and Chocolate Wyandotte. We have been testing fertility and have been very pleased with the tests results of 95% fertility.

Sales are limited to 6 eggs per order. Hop on over to our shop and check out the eggs now available.

Brooder Cam Back Online

After months of being offline the brooder cam is now back online. We finally have the equipment in place to expand our wifi network to the part of the barn the brooder is in. Now you can watch the baby chicks 24 hours a day!

NPIP Testing Complete

NPIP Testing

 

Yesterday morning we had a visit from the Mississippi Board of Health to test our flocks.  The testing was done so our farm could be NPIP certified.    The test involved drawing a blood sample from the wing of each bird and placing the sample on a test strip.  Within three seconds the test shows the result of a positive or negative for pullorum typhoid or PT.  They also swab the vent to check for Avian Influenza or AI.  The swabs then get sent to a lab to be examined.   While we know that the PT tests were all negative, we are awaiting the results of the AI test from the lab.  There has not ever been a case of AI in our state so it is very unlikely that we will have any issues with it.   If that is the case we should have our shinny new NPIP number sometime next week.

Bielefelder Hatching Eggs Shipping Out Now!

We are now shipping Bielefelder hatching eggs.  Here is a picture of some boxed up ready to go.  You will notice that each egg fits perfectly into the foam packaging to ensure safe delivery.   Even so, we always include extras just in case the postman didn’t get his coffee the morning of delivery.

bielefelder eggs

Bielefelder hatching eggs

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