Friday, March 27, 2015

Collecting eggs sounds like a simple job right? It is quite a bit more involved than people might imagine. Collecting and sorting eggs are just one of the many important tasks The Country Hen Barn Worker does. Let’s think on the age-old philosophical question; “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Well, here at TCH we may only sell eggs, but the chicken always comes first. Caring for the chickens has always been top priority for our farmers who proudly call themselves Barn Workers. TCH Barn Workers provide and maintain an environment that promotes high standards of animal welfare, stringently effective biosecurity and superior quality of life for our hens.
TCH Farmers typically have very unique qualifications of character, personality and manner which make them well-suited to meeting the needs of the hens, including nurturing attitudes, a conscientious disposition, compassion, empathy, consideration and dependability. Experienced and well-seasoned Barn Workers cultivate relationships with their hens and the flock as a whole that afford them a profound depth of familiarity. This allows them to instinctively know when all is well, or when something might be wrong, or when the chickens are in need of something just by listening to the hens sounds and observing their behavior.
            As true professionals, our Barn Workers never rely on mere observation alone to be certain that all is well with the hens. The Barn Workers vigilantly check the feed, the water, air temperature and quality, they check on condition of the litter the hens dust bathe in, keep the hens’ living space clean and free from any hazards. Our Barn Workers can tell you how much food the hens are eating on any given day, how much water they are drinking and whether or not they are maintaining healthy weights. Everything is monitored and measured to be certain the hens are well cared for.  The structures housing the chickens and the equipment around them are all inspected daily for any needs of maintenance or repairs and then the egg collecting begins. At TCH, the chickens really do come first and our dedicated Barn Workers make the hens’ needs top priority.    

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Visiting The Farm

In previous blog articles I have featured stories about our little town of Hubbardston, our farm, our founder George Bass and general information about the incredibly dedicated people who work on this farm to let you know how much pride everyone takes in producing the most exceptional Omega3 - enriched organic eggs. We also take a great deal of gratification in producing the safest product possible. The genuine delight we all feel about every aspect of our farm inspires the desire to share the incredible experience with our customers. When you have something this good to crow about, you can’t help but want to show it off a little. We used to do just that. There was a time when we could welcome visitors to come to the farm to see the hens, experience the beauty of farm life for a little while and buy eggs right from the front door. Sadly, in 2010 it was necessary to discontinue this open invitation practice of hosting visitors in order to be in compliance with USDA biosecurity regulations designed to protect our birds and the people who love to eat their eggs. Check out these links for excellent descriptions of biosecurity:
The USDA and APHIS websites give a great explanation of biosecurity, why it is necessary, and what restrictions are required to keep the hens from being exposed to dangerous diseases. Keeping the hens safer from diseases also keeps people who love their eggs safer from diseases. Our standards of operation meet and in many cases exceed the requirements to be in compliance with all the USDA regulations regarding Biosecurity. Believe me, there are pages and pages of protocols that need to be adhered to and documented. A great deal of the quality testing and documentation that is also required to comply with biosecurity standards were already being practiced at TCH voluntarily since 1988, well before the USDA standards were established and adopted in 2010. It was all part of our commitment to quality. We did not have to make many changes at all to be in compliance with the biosecurity testing protocols.  We had to make a few regrettable changes to the way business was done here to be in compliance with regard to visitors on the farm. The saddest change for the farm to contend with was the necessary restriction of visitors from coming onto the property. Back in the day the parking lot outside would be overflowing with vehicles lined up on Saturdays to visit and to buy our delicious fresh eggs. School children were once able to take educational tours to see how the eggs were packaged and to visit with the hens. Now the only way for our customers to experience this great place is through a virtual tour you can take on our website Anyone who wants to interact with us or “visit” us indirectly can join us on our Facebook page, drop us an e-mail or give us a call on the phone (please note our office hours are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.)
The Country Hen Farm Sales are still available (off farm property) at Country Trails located at 45 Gardner Road (route 68) in Hubbardston, MA. Their hours change seasonally so please call ahead for their hours and egg availability (978) 928-4472.