Small Farms 001: A Day in the Life of A Pasture Raised Hen
Hear all about it from Handsome herself
Pasture-raised hens do things a little differently - especially here at Handsome Brook Farms, where more space means more adventure. This makes the everyday life of a Handsome hen just a bit more interesting. So - what does a day in the life of one of our peckish pals actually look like? Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Don’t ask how we did it but here’s a first hen account of a typical day from our good friend, Handsome Hen.
8:00am-9:00am: Wake and Lay
In the heart of Kentucky valley, a sliver of sun crests above the rolling hills. My friends are already stirring but first thing’s first — it’s time to lay an egg.
I got a pretty good seven (maybe eight) hour rest so my little body has completed the pretty miraculous process of creating an entire egg overnight. I settle into my carefully-designed, cozy nest box and lay my egg on the soft, grass-like surface. Every egg is unique in its own way—a shade lighter or darker, a freckle here and a speckle there.
Now that my AM work is done, the daily adventure can begin. Just after I grab a quick breakfast-in-barn, that is. Then, the shades that covered the windows are raised and the large barn doors are opened, I saunter outside to begin exploring.
11:00am: Adventure (and Snacks) on the Pasture
The sun warms the grass, and I head over to join my flock to wander into the rich, food-filled fields.
Out on the 12-acre pasture, we search the ground for insects and grubs, fresh shoots and grasses, flower buds and fallen seeds. As the sun rises, the temperature on the pasture rises too. Fortunately, little wooden structures dot the pasture and provide shade as well as protection from hawks. Hawks are always a risk, but stick with the flock and you should be safe.
Before long, I’m a little thirsty. I’ll head to one of the well-spaced water sources attached to the field’s water lines and take a swig. It’s a relaxing pattern of snack, swig and repeat for the remainder of the day.
As the sun dims, it’s time for a bath. But not just any bath — a dust bath. A brisk shake in a prime dust pothole loosens the oils and dirt from my feathers, leaving my soft underbelly dry and clean. Jealous yet?
6:00pm-7:00pm: Bedtime in the Barn
As dusk sets in, the whole flock ventures back from the farthest reaches of the pasture. But snack time isn’t over yet. We dig into our protein- and amino acid-packed meal of organic corn, wheat, soy, alfalfa and some crushed oyster shells for calcium. Extra food isn’t just a nice treat, it’s important to fill up so we can produce the best egg possible by morning.
Soon after dark, I watch from my roost as the farmer stops by to secure the barn doors and drop the window shades — keeping it safe for the night head.
Sweet dreams, girls!
We hope this gives you a little insight into how a pasture-raised hen makes pasture-raised & organic eggs. This is notably different from the life of conventional, cage-free and free-range hens — as our hens have remarkably more space and freedom throughout the day. Life as a Handsome hen is pretty much like winning the chicken lottery — even in winter, when our hens still like to poke around outside. This is the most humane way to raise laying hens and we are committed to animal welfare in all we do.