POULTRY IN MOTION

photo courtesy of aroundKent

Free Range Rover
Things happen quickly at Breakneck Acres – and taking on the challenge of chickens was no exception. We discussed the idea of adding another link to our chain of sustainability by adding animals to consume the highly nutritious stone milling byproducts while manufacturing manure for compost, but never really settled on the details. After a brief visit to a friend’s farm that included an introduction to poultry, we retrofitted a school bus into a mobile chicken coop, named it the “Free Range Rover” and 75 chicks arrived! To read about Tim’s no nonsense approach to transforming a school bus into a mobile coop and Ami’s role as mother hen, check out her blog post, “16 & Pregnant”. Today we have two retrofitted school buses, a flock of almost 200 laying hens and a seasonal rotation of meat chickens that are allowed to free range the property.
Farm Fresh Egg FAQ Expiration Date
Here’s the deal… farmers have thirty days to get a freshly laid egg to the grocery store, then the grocery store has another thirty days to sell it and then the USDA recommends a maximum of five weeks in your refrigerator. So that egg laid on Christmas Day? It just might make an appearance in your frying pan on April Fool’s Day. And that’s no joke. Our ODA license requires us to list a “PACKED ON” date on our label. This is the day that the eggs were laid, rinsed, and packaged. You can assume that refrigerated eggs should be eaten or discarded 4-5 weeks from this date. If you’re not sure of the packed on date, check to see if the egg floats in water. If it floats, it’s old. This doesn’t confirm that an egg is bad, but I would highly recommend that you inspect the egg after you crack it. If it looks funny or smells funny—it is funny—throw it out and stop by the farm for a fresh dozen! Brown vs. White Eggs
I have found the color of egg shells to be a fascinating lesson in marketing. Brown eggs are healthier, right? And I would easily pay $1 more for blue and green eggs in a clear carton, wouldn’t you!?!?
The honest truth: the breed of the hen determines the color of her eggs. A ten year old boy tried to tell me that he could determine the color of an eggshell by the color of the feathers near a hen’s ears. I have no idea if this is true, but I can tell you that nutrient levels are not significantly different in white, brown, blue or green shell eggs. Because of this, Breakneck Acres has decided to bring the white egg back in 2013! The Blood Spot If I had a nickel for every customer that asks about the blood spot, I might not be a millionaire – but I’d have a few more bucks in my pocket. I’ve heard all sorts of concerns, “Does it mean the egg is bad?” or “Is it a fertilized egg!?!?” Let me first tell you that there’s no reason to panic and there is no reason to throw the egg away. The blood spot is caused by a rupture of one or more small blood vessels in the yolk at the time of ovulation. So the hen that laid your egg just might have been a little stressed out… but that shouldn’t stress you out!
The Family
Breakneck Acres raises a rotation of Rhode Island Reds and/or Golden Buffs, Black Australorps, Leghorns, and Barred Rocks for laying hens that free range the property and are secured after sundown in the Free Range Rover I & II. We also raise Cornish Crosses, the industry standard for meat, that are kept in movable chicken tractors. We allow these birds to also free range under close supervision. They have proven to enjoy exercise, foraging, and interacting with the laying hens. You will always find a few roosters hangin’ around the barnyard and Free Range Rovers. They have done an excellent job of keeping us on schedule while protecting and nurturing the flock of hens. We’re always amazed by a rooster’s ability to warn the flock of potential predators or to call in his girls when there are treats and visitors. The roosters at Breakneck Acres are suspicious of new people – so if you come to the farm, we ask that you first find one of us, give the chickens some space and not challenge the pecking order. Roosters perceive running, yelling, and chasing as a threat and will attack anything or anyone that challenges their territory.
What’s on the Menu?
We worked with professionals and testing laboratories to create a poultry feed that balances a source of energy, protein, amino acids, vitamins, and salt while utilizing the byproducts from stone milling our food grade grains. Our feed contains food grade soybeans, corn, wheat and buckwheat grown on our farm when available. In the event that a crop is lost, our priority is to source local certified organic or non-GMO grains. We also add dried sea kelp, trace mineral salt, diatomaceous earth, probiotics, and a certified organic nutritional balancer. The chickens free range on the property for the majority of their diet and have access to fresh water and feed in the Free Range Rovers. The flock is never given synthetic supplements, antibiotics, or enhancers.

Breakneck Acres is registered with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to sell ungraded free range eggs.  Throughout the year we also offer whole broiler chickens that are processed at an Ohio Department of Agriculture inspected facility.  The hens have several acres to free range and when the sun goes down, they head to the Free Range Rover I & II and chicken tractors for a safe night of rest!

photo courtesy of Muggphoto

© 2013

Breakneck Acres

2743 Summit Road, Ravenna, Ohio