As a small child I had two, yes two, birthdays at a petting zoo called Parky’s Farm, much to the dismay of my mother. Over the years, my love of animals and farms has not wavered, as I briefly had notions of living on a farm in rural Virginia. After reading Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard, a William & Mary alumni, I was astounded by how innovative and easily farms could be manipulated to become more profitable and sustainable. To this day I still love chickens, sheep, and all other manner of farm fauna. It simply amazes me that Greenacres provides an outlet for my farm frenzy among other amusements.
One of my favorite farm experiences so far has been with the chicken tractor. The chicken tractor is a concept very similar to the mobile coop Pritchard details in his book (left photo).Both involve a mobile chicken coop that houses hens at night and can be sealed to exclude predators. The Greenacres chicken tractor is also equipped with a solar panel operated door that closes chickens inside after dark.
Surrounding the coop is a removable electric fence that keeps chickens in their designated area, and other more malicious animals out of bounds. Although these chickens are inside a fence, both methodologies are technically free range chicken rearing because the chickens are able to access outside. By moving the coop from one location to another over the course of time, the chickens are able to gain all the necessary nutrients from insects instead of being solely grain fed.
Today I was able to help collect eggs and was taught how to operate the electric fence surrounding the chicken tractor. As some readers may know, the color of the egg is dependent on the type of chicken laying the egg. For instance, brown eggs come from Golden Comet chickens, white eggs come from Barred Rocks, and the odd blue-green eggs come Araucana chickens.
Meat Producing Chickens
Alternatively, Greenacres raises meat producing varieties of chicken. Chicken that is produced on the Greenacres farm is used by an array of local businesses. This week I had the opportunity to try Greenacres raised chicken through a catered lunch provided by Daveed’s Catering. Specifically, the Greenacres staff ate a chicken dish prepared with our own chickens for a staff bonding lunch. In my personal opinion, the chicken tasted so fresh and was not the least bit dry. I’m not sure if I can attribute this to just the chicken or preparer, but the chicken sure was delicious.
The Greenacres farm store is open 8:30 AM to 5:00PM Monday through Friday if this post has encouraged you to buy locally!
$5.00 for 12 fresh brown eggs
$4.00 for one whole chicken
$9.00 for skinless chicken breasts