Friday, November 15, 2013

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

It's easy to go to the grocery, pick up what we need and never give a thought to how it got there.

I remember watching a show once where they asked children where milk came from.

This is the big house as we call it this one is 26 years old.
I laughed and laughed when a little boy said, the farmer turns the cows out and they eat all day and milk cartons grow on them then at night when the cows come back into the barn the farmer picks them off.

While I did laugh I know it's important that we all know where our food comes from.

Did you ever wonder how your chicken got in the cooler at the grocery store?

Our oldest daughter, Heidi says she never looks at a piece of produce or meat in a package or fruit at a stand without thinking about the farmer and how much work it took to get that product to the store.

She has done the work so she respects the process.

When we raise our tomatoes we pick them the day of sale. They truly ripen on the vine. That means we have to treat them gentle and pack them correctly. When produce is ready it's ready that means if you had plans and the produce or fruit is ready, your plans go on hold and you harvest, and sell.

The same is true with the chickens we raise.

Before the little chicks come to our farm the barns are cleaned, new bedding is put down, trays of feed are filled, water lines are lowered, brooders are lit and the barns are in general made cozy. Our goal is for those little chicks to be as warm and toasty and well provided for as they would be if they were with the old hen.

The girls taking a lunch break
The brooders are lit one to two days before the chicks arrive to make sure the barns are thoroughly warmed before they arrive.

When the chicks are delivered to our farm they are so newly hatched that when we dump them out of the trays they come in often pieces of shell go with them.

We try to be quiet and not talk a lot when we're filling the barns because the chicks being newly hatched  hear our voices and will all flock around our feet. They think we're momma.

Some times the chicks are loud and rowdy sometimes they are  quiet. Each flock is different but the preparations for them and their comfort is always the same.

The little chicks come in these trays.
Noah and Runt come in the barn with us while we're unloading the chickens. Noah our chocolate lab always tries to get away with a chicken snack. He will scoop up a little chick in his mouth and hold his mouth shut. Then he will turn and start walking toward the door hoping to snack in private.  We say "Drop it Noah" and he will open his mouth, let the unharmed little chick fall to the soft floor, hang his head and walk out.  He tries this every time and every time we get after him.  You would think he would give up.

Next time you pick up a chicken at the store or order out in a restaurant remember someone stayed up late to get things ready for it to arrive at the farm. When the alarms went off in the building because the temps were not just right someone got up out of bed and went and made the necessary adjustments, when feed trays emptied someone refilled them. As they grew and needed more room someone opened up more area for them to move into.

Someone cared about and raised the food you see in the grocery store.
Think about them and what a good job they do.

Think about how we have the safest food system in the world.

Think about how you have freedom to buy your free range chicken from a local small farmer or you can choose to go to the grocery and pick one up there.

You can buy organic or you can buy traditional but whatever you buy you are able to buy because of the American Farmer.
Lucas and Paul dumping chicks. Don't be alarmed by the word dump. We treat them
well it's just what we call it.
Don't take them for granted and don't think them backwoods. They are on top of their game, they are the best in the world.

And aren't we glad they are!













This is what I mean by them gathering around us.

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Kelly!
    I am working on a post about our broiler operation and need a comparison to the "big guys".Can I link back to this one? Don't worry, it's not big farm vs. little farm. Really.
    Thanks. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Sure you can Barbara. I'd be honored to be in anything linked to your blog. You have a great weekend too!

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