Friday, I took a half-day off work. We had an appointment at 1:00 with Matthew Willenbring, to adopt a hen. We were going on a field trip!!
The girls were already throwing around names they thought would be good for a hen! We explained that the adoption process was a little different, in that the hen is going to stay at the farm with all her sisters; but we can visit any time we want.
We got out to the farm, and Matthew was right there to greet us. He brought us around took a look around at all the chickens roaming around behind the little white fence. Matthew has 300+ hens, and they are pasture-raised…so they eat grass, insects, plus a very nutritious blend of
ingredients that Matthew grids up for them. Most of those ingredients too, are grown right there on the farm.
He had three hens separated in a smaller fenced in area. Those 3 were available for adoption today. Matthew kneeled down and picked up one of the hens. We all got to pet the hen – who knew it would be like the softest kitty fur? The girls each got in the fenced in area and started checking out the feathered girls.
Matthew shared so much information with us about the hens. Do you know what the comb and waddle are for? It acts as a radiator to draw the heat away from them, and keep them cool. Did you know that chicken’s have tongues? Yep, it looks like a little triangle inside their mouth. Their eyelids go from the bottom up, opposite of ours. They each have over 8,000 feathers! He is so knowledgeable about the species, And so kind and patient, he was fantastic with the kids! Did you know that the shell of the egg isn’t formed until the last day. I could only
hope to recall a small portion of the info he told us about cholesterol, LDL and HDL, it was like speaking with a scientist. Bottom line – these eggs are actually REALLY good for you!
For the price of the adoption ($36) Matthew gives you a punch card for 12 dozen eggs, to pick up whenever you want, and however often you would like. You can pick up a dozen farm fresh eggs and visit you hen! Did you know that eggs will last for 5 weeks in the refrigerator? They should be stored point-side down. There is an air-pocket on the rounder end of the egg, keeping that side up helps in keeping them fresh.
Lydia and Rachel each named their hen. Lydia’s is Lexis Jeanne and Rachel named her’s Hailey Lynn. Matthew took a photo of each of the girls with their hen. And soon they will get an adoption certificate in the mail.
We decided to take home 2 dozen eggs, so we went in the farm house for the next stop on this fabulous adventure. The girls needed to help Matthew candle and sort the eggs he had gathered this morning. They got to see each egg go over the spot where the light illuminated
the shell and you could then see if there were any cracks or imperfections in the shell. Then the eggs get sorted into size by their weight; the girls then put them in the cartons. They just marveled at the stacks and stacks of empty egg cartons he had!
Next stop, milking cows! There again, we learned the process of how the cows get milked, what temperature the milk comes out at, and just a bunch of other cool things. He makes it all so interesting, the girls were having a great time! My favorite fact: the cows go out to
pasture two times a day. When they return to the barn, they always go back to the same exact stanchion, EVERY. TIME. There is no fighting about who gets to park where; each one has its own spot and always returns to it. Looking into the bulk tank of fresh milk, waiting for the milkman to come and pick it up and transport it to the next step in the milk-making process, WOW, that was neat. The look on Rachel’s face says it all!
On to giving the baby calves water. These little things are sooo cute! They really latch on to the bottle. It was funny because the calf that my dad was giving water to must have been taking her old sweet time, because we moved on without him! We got to see calves (twins actually, which is rare and very difficult for the mama) that were two days old.
I mentioned to Matthew that the girls were not sure they wanted to have chicken for dinner tonight. He so beautifully explained the cycle of life; Before leaving to go home for happy hour, we had to go say goodbye to our newly adopted kin.During our visit to the farm, each one of the girls told me how much fun they were having. Last night, after a wonderful, fun filled day, when I was tucking in the girls and kissing them goodnight, they each thanked me for taking them there and for getting them each their own hen! They really had a wonderful time; I would highly recommend going out to adopt a hen, and meet Matthew.
Every hen needs a home…adopt a hen!
Farm Address – 25113 Co Rd 50 ~Cold Spring MN 56320 ~250.1624
SIDE NOTE: I made French toast with the eggs this morning, the yolks are nearly orange! Like little sun shines. I am anxious to try them scrambled!