My poultry flock · Ryder Family Farm- Southern Illinois
We to a big leap of faith, quit our jobs are moved to the the heart of the Shawnee National Forest to follow our dreams of self sufficiency and to make a go of living off the land… Can we help you feed your family?
Since moving out to the country I’ve really had the opportunity to expand my poultry flock. It’s been a blast, we’ve hatched our own babies in the incubator, I’ve also made a few hatchery orders and some broody hens have hatched us babies. Below is “Snow White”, she one of our first good chicken mamas here on the farm:
It’s true when they say chickens are gateway livestock! We started with 3 pullets in the suburbs many years ago. Then we added 6 new chickens a few years later, 3 of which we had to figure out how to slaughter when they started crowing in our HOA governed subdivision.
When we decided to flee the city we added more chicks and some turkeys, knowing we were country bound. Now we have dairy goats, hair sheep, dairy cattle, ducks, guinea fowl, turkeys and chickens everywhere! Just ask the neighbors that have to drive by our place each day.
Our homestead out here in Southern Illinois (near the Shawnee National forest) is basically a small family farm that exists to sustain us and to help us raise funds for future farming expansion & projects. My poultry are dual purpose, we eat them and we keep them for their eggs.
USDA Licensed Farm Fresh Eggs For Sale
When the flock expanded we were faced with loads of eggs, enough to fill an entire second fridge! We’d been able to sell eggs to folks here on the farm but law prohibited us from taking eggs off the farm without a USDA license and we knew we’d do well with eggs at the farmer’s market. In 2016 we went to work getting USDA official, got inspected, learned the required handling procedures, labeling rules and were able to take our surplus eggs to the farmers market to sell!
Our eggs come from pasture raised hens who forage for food across our entire property. Our poultry go to roost at night in an enclosed “chicken house” that my husband built them so that they aren’t dinner for a predator as the sleep. Each morning their chicken house is opened up, we throw a ration of commercial layer feed to them to round out their foraging diet and to insure they don’t develop nutritional deficiencies, then they go about the whole day foraging.
This management style technically classifies our eggs as “Pastured” eggs. The chart below shows more detail about egg label terms and how they translate in management & farming style.