Our Chickens "Just Say NO!" to hormones, antibiotics, and any artificial additives

 Free Range chicken and duck eggs for sale locally.

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Tammy Fay the Ancona chicken.

"No way I'm going out in THAT!"

We have a mixed flock of  Americanas (blue egg layers), Welsummers (speckled brown egg layers), Anconas and Leghorns (white egg layers) and Red Star (brown egg layers).    They have been raised free range, cage free, and free roaming.  They have never been feed ay hormones, antibiotics or chemicals.  They diet consists of corn, soybeans, millet and various whole grains and seeds; plus whatever they consume from our pastures.  They spend their days following the sheep, goats, and alpacas. 

Our eggs are as wholesome and fresh as they can be  - my family eats these eggs!

Do I need a rooster to get eggs from my hens?

No you do not.  Modern chickens will lay eggs starting around 5 months old.  They do not need a rooster in order to do this.  If you are only interested in eggs, you don't ever need to have a rooster present.  If you want to raise your own chickens, then you need a rooster!

Can I get baby chicks from your eggs?

No.  The eggs I sell are not fertilized.  They would never ever hatch a baby chicken.  I do have a rooster, but he is kept separate from my laying flock, and used only for breeding purposes.

I see a white circular spot on my yolk - what is that?

This is called the germinal disc.  This is where the fertilization would start if the egg was fertilized.  All eggs have this.

Why is it so hard to peel a boiled egg?

Eggs that are only a few days old have not developed air space between the egg white and shell.  I have seen it recommended that you refrigerate your eggs for several days before you try making hard boiled eggs, but  I personally like to wait around two weeks for the eggs to be easy to peel.

What is the best way to store fresh eggs:

Please store your eggs in the carton in your refrigerator.  Do not store them in the door, as the temperature is not stable there.  Eggs can absorb refrigerator odors, so keep them in their carton.

What are the stringy white pieces in the egg whites?

The rope-like strands of egg white are called "chalazae" (ka-LAY-zee).   This is not an imperfection or the beginning of a chick.  The chalazae is what stabilizes the egg yolk in the center of the egg white.

 

Chicken Tractor - Still a work in progress!

My dreams have come true!  Steve has taken a design off the internet and adapted it to work in our situation!   The new and improved Chicken Tractor is about 6' tall in the center, so that an adult can walk into it.  We will have more detail plans on this tractor has it is finished.  I can't wait to see it in action!

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This is constructed from pressure treated 2x4's - 2 10' and 2-12' and two cattle panels purchased from the local feed store. 

The frame was built then the panels were wedged into place and anchored with metal straping to keep them in place.

We used a tarp that covers the back wall and over the top for shade.

More work is to be done on this  - the 2x4's for the base don't work well with wheels  - there will be changes before the final coop plans are shown here.  I still love the fact that I can walk into it.

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Dieffenbacker, the Maremma watching over his flock of Angora goats, sheep, and alpacas.

*  The Maremma breed started in Italy and their history can be tracked back over two thousand years.  Their function in the past as well as today is to guard the flock and property of the shepherd.  This dog is considered one of the oldest breeds.

*   Maremmas are not intended to be pets - they are truly working dogs.  They are always watchful and bark their warning at anything out of the ordinary.  Our dogs will even warn if there are hawks flying overhead.

*  It is important for this breed to be socialized and given basic obedience training.  These dogs love to be with their flock and are only truly happy when watching out for them.  One of the favorite spots for the dogs to lay and watch over everyone is on top of the picnic table!  They get along well with our household pets and our barn cats.  These dogs are very  intelligent, independent and always alert.  We sleep better knowing our dogs are watching over the stock.

*  The Maremma is a double coated breed.  Their coats are white with markings of ivory, light lemon yellow or pale orange.  The outer coat is long, thick and slightly wavy.  Their under coat is soft and dense.  They are protected from all types of weather with this kind of coat.  In fact, our dogs will stay on duty in sleet, freezing rain, & snow.  I have finally learned to lock them up with the animals if I want they out of the weather  - they don't seem to mind the weather at all.   Their outer coat is actually amazing  - I have seen these dogs so covered in mud that I wouldn't have believed they would ever be white again - but they dry off and the mud & dirt just seem to fall off.  

*  If you treat your Maremmas kindly, you will be rewarded with an indispensable guardian for your flock and farm. 

 wolfie&dief375Our two Maremmas, Wolfie and Dieffenbacker in the background.

 Dieffenbacker keeping a watch from the barn door.

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Bluefaced Leicester yearling ewe. This photo won 5th place at 2008 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Our first fiber animals were three Bluefaced Leicester ewes. They carry both UK Barlaes Titus and Bayshore bloodlines.  We picked this breed because we were mainly interested in wool, but we wanted to start with a dual purpose breed. Our farm goal is to  breed toward producing the highest quality fleece available. Their wool is tightly purled, fine, dense, semi-lustrous and opens cleanly to the skin. And it is very nice to spin with!  Bluefaced Leicesters are considered a large breed, with the rams weighing in around 250 pounds and the average ewe around 175 pounds, but very manageable.
 

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 Here are a few interesting facts about Bluefaced Leicesters:
 
* The Bluefaced Leicester is one of the three Leicester breeds, Bluefaced, Border, and Leicester Longwool. All three types originated in the early 1900s in northern England. The name refers to the dark skin under the fine white hairs covering their faces.  The breed is the largest of the native British longwool breeds and the most prolific. The fleece is predominately white wool, but this breed does carry a recessive black gene and natural colored lambs do appear.

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Our Bluefaced Leicester ewe, Cissy loves to stick her nose in the snow. 

* It is considered a longwool. It has a staple length of 3"-6" with a fleece weight of 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds. We sell our raw fleeces, heavily skirted, at $19.00 per pound.
 
 

Two three week old ewe lambs.

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Our Rams

We are proud members of the following organizations which contain a wealth of information concerning our favorite breed of sheep and sheep related activities:
 
 
 
 
 
pie325 Three week old ram lamb.
 

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Ewe lamb at one month old.

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 California Red ewe "Pebbles" in her sheep coat.

California Red Sheep have many good things going for them:     

  • Year round breeding is possible - making it possible to have three lamb seasons during a two year period.
  • Rams are not affected by heat as much as other breeds.
  • Considered a medium size sheep with the rams weighing around 225 to 250 pounds, and the ewes weighing between 130 to 150 pounds.
  • They can be used as dairy sheep, due to high milk solids content.
  • No wool on legs or belly - easy for lambing and easy to shear!
  • Ease of lambing - these sheep are a shepherd's dream - no problems with lambing and plenty of milk to keep all the lambs growing well.
  • Ewes are excellent mothers - they bond well with their offspring and are very defensive of them.  
  • Both sexes are naturally hornless.
  • Lambs are born a beautiful shade of dark red. Their wool changes to lighter shades as they mature, but their faces and legs stay the color they were born with.  
  • Fleeces are kept under a coat - extremely clean
  • Fleeces are very well skirted
  • They are very calm sheep and easy to take care of  - this is an excellent choice for the beginner shepherd!

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California Red twins at one week old.

Raw wool fleece is sold at $20 per pound. You must buy the entire fleece which usually weighs around 4 lbs.

TO ORDER:

To place an order, please E-Mail me or call 301-908-5985 with the item description, your name and address.  We can send  an invoice thru PayPay, or you can charge it over the phone if you want to pay with a credit card.  We also accept checks (with at least two weeks clearance time).  Pricing does not include shipping costs.  

goatkid325   California Red lamb with Angora Goat kid

Below are some web sites that we use often for supplies, questions, and additional information about this wonderful breed:

California Red Sheep Registry Inc.

Maryland Small Ruminant Page

Sheepman Supply Company, Frederick Maryland

Pipestone Veterinary Sheep & Goat Supplies

Pebbles and our first lamb, Paprika

We currently have one California Red breeding stock, ewe lambs and ram lambs available.   Please contact me for a listing of what we have.  

They are $400 each.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

We have a small goat herd. We first purchased them to keep the sheep company, and then fell in love with them. They have personality plus! And they keep my fence lines clean of brush and honeysuckle. I haven't spun the mohair into yarn yet, but have already been using it as Santa's beard on several dolls and wreaths.

The kids at work  - our weed wacker is broken and we haven't bothered to fix it.  The goats do an EXCELLENT job of cleaning the fences.  And they never complain about doing it.

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Please contact us if you would like a small sample - you won't believe the softness and sheen. We sell the Mohair raw fleece at $15.00 per pound plus shipping costs.   Please contact us for an estimate.  If you are interested in purchasing some mohair, please send me an email and I will get back to you with your exact costs and an invoice from PayPal.

 

Here are a few interesting facts about Angora goats:
 
* The fleece taken from an Angora goat is called mohair. Angora fiber comes from Angora rabbits. Mohair is similar to wool in chemical composition, but differs from wool in that it has a much smoother surface. It is a strong fiber that is elastic, has considerable luster, and takes dye very well.
    One month old Angora goat kid "Patsy"

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* They must be sheared twice a year. We shear in March and September. Angora goats are very susceptible to cold, wind, and wet conditions after they are sheared. After a scary incident with our first goat, we always jacket our goats for the first month after shearing. This way we don't have to worry if we get a freak storm and no one is home to shut them in the barn.
 

goatsincoatsGoats in coats.  They don't mind them at all and we don't have to worry about them being exposed to the elements.

 
* Their feet must be trimmed on a regular basis. I am still learning how close to trim their feet, so I just do it like fingernails and take off a little at a time. You can do with the goat tipped on its butt, but I have found they train well to just picking up their feet and letting me trim. I have read that rocky ground will help keep their feet in shape, but since my animals walk on smooth pasture I don't have any evidence of this.

angel325One week old Angora Goat kid

 
* They need to be wormed on a regular basis. This is very important. We use the FAMACHA system of monitoring when they need to be wormed. This system uses the color of their inner eyelid to show if they are anemic or not. It has a score card showing when they need to be wormed. I look at their eyes monthly.
 
* They also get lice. There are two kinds of lice that infect goats, biting and sucking. You can tell if your goat gets these by looking closely at their skin - if you see little orange specs - they have lice. You cannot get these lice from your goat - they are species specific. When we see them, I use a pour on and monitor them for the next several weeks to make sure I have got them all.
 
* Angora goats grow slowly, not reaching their full body size until they are two years old. We do not breed kids until they are over a year old.
 
* Angora goats have a high nutrient requirement to maintain their body condition and will produce mohair at the expense of other demands. We graze our goats and supplement their hay and pasture with grain and a mineral mix to make sure they are getting all the nutrition that they need. But you also need to note that nutrition affects the fiber diameter, meaning a higher plane of nutrition for the goat the coarser its fleece will be. So we feed our goats enough, but not too much!
 
* Mohair should be washed before spinning or using in craft projects. You would never know it was white as it comes off the goat. It is not hard to wash. You will need to use very hot water and detergent. Soak the fleece about a half hour, I usually like to do this step twice, rinsing well between each soaking. After soaking, rinse with hot water until the fleece is clean. I usually add a small amount of vinegar to the final rinse to bring out the sheen of the fleece. Lay it out on towels or a screen to dry. It usually takes several days in normal temperatures for the fleece to dry. You can use a fan or hair dryer to speed up the process. This is the fun part of taking the dirty fleece and seeing how beautiful it turns after washing.
We are proud members of the following organization, and here is the web link to our favorite place for goat supplies.