EGG SUPPLIER STORY
Terra Nossa, a 21 acre family farm run by Jesse, Evelyn & Jay Pereira is proud to be one of the farms supplying eggs . Our farm is Certified Organic , meaning all of our farming practices are 100% Certified Organic. This includes certified organic feed (no GMO’s, hormones, medications, or antibiotics in the feed), and no chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides are used on the crops or pastures.
Our purpose of getting a flock of laying hens was twofold. We wanted a supply of eggs for ourselves and we were looking for some weed control for our 5 acre Echinacea field. We ordered 99 laying hens, which is the maximum amount allowed for a farm without quota; another gov’t regulation holding back small scale farms. The hens were point of lay hens, meaning they were 16 weeks of age. They arrived on Tuesday, March 10 and the first eggs were laid on Saturday, March 14. We were so excited. The first eggs were small ones, called peewees, which took about 6 weeks to progress to a marketable size. So what does a family of 5 do with 99 eggs per day? Share them with everyone at the market.
Our flock of laying hens are happy to have total run of the fields. Unfortunately, the disadvantage is that the eagles have had a free meal or two.
A typical day of caring for the hens starts at 7:00 am. Evelyn goes out to give them their morning rations. By 9:00am the hens are usually done laying the eggs. They are then let out of their house to spend the day browsing the field. The eggs are washed with water, air dried, sorted by weight, and then refrigerated. They are given a mid-day snack and another feeding in the evening. At dusk, they all head back into the safety of the hen house for the night. Sounds just like raising children, doesn’t it?
Our hen house is designed with the nest boxes inside. This way we have lots of contact and interaction with the hens. They have become very friendly and docile. There is no worry of being pecked by a mean hen when reaching into the nest boxes to collect the eggs. Instead, it feels very natural and comforting as she is cooing over her achievement. Plenty of contact also gives us the opportunity to observe the hens for signs of stress or problems.