It is official! We now have handmade goats milk soap available 🙂
Lots of folks ask us about our British Guernsey Goats, they are a rare breed of goat that have the face of a deer and the sweet milk taste of a Jersey cow. Everyone wants to try the milk but the laws around selling raw goats milk and other edible goat products in California are just too challenging for us to comply with so we came up with this fun solution, soap! All our soaps are 3.5 ounces and sell for $6 each, shipping is available all over the US.
Goats milk is renowned for being gentle on the skin and its deep moisturising cabilities. We have filled our bars of soap with herb infused oils from plants we grew on the farm such as calendula, tulsi, and plantain. Each bar is formulated with a different experience in mind, we hope you enjoy!
Here are our current bars available, more coming in the following weeks.
Oatmeal Honey Lavender
Gardeners Hand Soap
alchemist_farmHand Made Goats Milk Soap Made Here On The Farm
This morning our littlest farm helper wanted to lend a hand opening all of the coops for our flocks. To our surprise one of our Isbars had already laid an egg, we thought the color looked so pretty against her snuggly clothing!
The colder it gets the happier the Isbars are, they originate from Sweeden and although we got our breeding stock from breeders in the states they still have the love of their homeland climate.
This week was a big week of moving all of our mobile coops around, deep cleaning and giving everyone fresh pasture. While all of the moving about was happening one of our Svart Hona Roosters came into sexual maturity and our French Black Copper Marans Rooster took notice!
Luckily I had my camera on me to catch the action and barnyard drama as the two gentlemen danced at each other before the Svart Hona got moved to their new part of the acreage. Enjoy!
It is official! Our first unique breeding project for olive eggers was a success, our hens just started laying and the results are in, the Alchemist Farm Olive Egger cross lays beautiful olive eggs!
We started with an amerucana hen (egg on the top right) and bred her with our Little Peddler French Black Copper Marans Rooster (egg produced by a marans is on the top left) and the cross gave us the color of eggs in the middle. We threw in a run of the mill while and brown egg below for color comparison.
So what do these Olive egger hens look like? They took on the traits of their father big time and look identical to our Marans chicks at birth:
As they grow out and enter sexual maturity the sleeker body type of their mother comes out while they retain the beautiful Marans coloring. They are friendly but have the swift feet of their wild mothers to evade any predators.
Interested in some olive eggers of your own?
Fertile Hatching eggs (which will look blue when you pick them up): $4 each
When we discovered that one of our French Black Copper Marans was broody we tried a few techniques to get her off the nest and when all failed we decided to give her some chicks. We waited until a fresh batch of day old chicks hatched out and carefully slid three chicks under her breast while she puffed up and told us what for.
We all held our breath and watched for a moment and then to our surprise and enjoyment the chicks started nuzzling up in her feathers, jumping around on her back and chirping at her while she clucked and started to guide them toward food – it was nothing short of magical!
It has been a month now and the chicks still follow her around the yard and nuzzle up to her at night.
Here on the farm our hens are secure in the coop at night but completely free range on pasture during the day. We built the ladies many nice nesting boxes but they seem to enjoy laying all willy nilly in our barn and in little secret spots around the field. While it may take a few more minutes to collect the eggs, our smallest farm hand is getting eggcellent practice for when easter rolls around the stakes involve stickers in plastic shaped eggs.
Here are some fun images of our ladies in action:
This little pearl leghorn loves to hide out and nest next to our straw bedding
While these eggs were left behind by one of our olive eggers and a rhode island red under a tarp that covers our alfalfa.
Thankfully many hands make light of the work that is collecting the days eggs:
Finally there is some science to backup what so many of us intuitively knew about the health benefits of eating farm fresh eggs!
Eggs from hens raised in situations where they can eat seeds, grass and bugs are far more nutritious than eggs from confined hens in factory farms. Research shows that eggs from hens raised on pasture have:
* 1/3 less cholesterol
* 1/4 less saturated fat
* more vitamin A
* 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
* 3 times more vitamin E
* 7 times more beta carotene
* 4 to 6 times more vitamin D
Now hows that for some good news for all of us raising a flock of sweet ladies in our backyards? For more information on the study that produced these facts you can follow this link.
alchemist_farmFarm Fresh Pastured Eggs Are FAR Better For You Than Factory Farmed
This weeks photo is the beautiful contrast in color of our French Black Copper Marans and Olive Egger hatching Eggs.
The olive egger chickens we sell are F1 (first generation) and are a mix of our Amerucana hens with our Little Peddler French Black Copper Marans Rooster. When folks come to pick up hatching eggs for those chickens from us the eggs will always look blue! Imagine mixing the bright blue of these eggs with the chocolate brown of the Marans eggs and viola, you will get a preview of the eggs our olive eggers will lay – pretty snazzy eh?
We love all things beautiful and functional here on the farm. Guinea hens are typically rare in the average persons backyard flock but let us tell you why we think you should add one (or two!) to your backyard.
Guinea have love to forage and go after ticks in particular. If you live in an area where lyme disease is a concern this is the bird for you. Guinea are excellent flock protectors and will alert chickens of any birds of prey in the sky by stamping their feet and calling a specific call. Their feathering as adults is breath taking and it would be a treasure trove for any jewelry maker.
Lastly, when given the proper conditions a guinea hen can lay 150 eggs a year. The yolk of which is a ridiculously rich color so you know it is packed with fantastic nutrients (see our image of yolk comparison with our own pasture raised hen yolk). Their eggs are the size of a bantam egg – larger than a quail egg but smaller than a standard sized chicken egg.
We are offering a limited number of keets (chicks) this year. They just hatched this last week so if you are interested reach out sooner than later! Keets are straight run and $20 each.
Adult Guinea Hen
Guinea hen yolk next to pasture raised hen yolk
alchemist_farmGuinea Keets Available For A Limited Time
We like to make the most of every space we are given here at the farm and when a small flatbed 4×8 trailer fell into our laps we set out to create a space saving design. Here is the final product!
We used an old farm door that was stashed in our barn and cut it down to size to act as a door for the coop. The excess space on this 4′ end has avian wire which has 1/2″ holes. It is important to use avian wire instead of traditional chicken wire because the 1″ holes of chicken wire let weasels get in and there is nothing more devastating than a weasel in the hen house! For the space in-between the top of the door and the roof we also stapled avian wire to give good cross ventilation.
We built the coop directly on the trailer and secured it with cross bracing inside so it holds together well when we are moving it about the property for fresh pasture. 8″ overhangs of the metal roofing over the top rafter helps keep the weather out when it rains.
Inside we set the roost on some simple supports in the ground so the chickens can sleep and poop in the hay below. For nesting we decided to try a pyramid of three buckets. The buckets give the hens the feeling of security while making cleanup (if necessary) an easy task. All we have to do is simply lift out the buckets, hose them down and disinfect them if need be. The slippery side of the buckets deturs night time roosting on the buckets keeping the coop cleaner.
To make cleaning the coop floor swift and easy we put hinges on the wall side of the roost and a clasp on the other side so it can swing up to the ceiling and get anchored while we rake out the straw and give fresh bedding.
The small breeding flock inhabiting the mobile coop loves their home and if it is a particularly hot day they can be found resting and laying eggs under the trailer, content in the shade!