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Cruising for Chicks in Amish Country

We do love our day trips. Owning an urban farm and running a business do not leave a whole lot of time for vacations or even leisure time, but we like to combine our time by doing something nice and fun along with tasks for our business. The other day, we did just that…we went cruising for chicks!

Our day started at the garden with our normal garden chores of tending our chickens, feeding the cats and checking the beehives for activity (hives swarm quickly during this time of year). Next we stopped by Starbucks for a caffeine hit and hit the road North!

Our first stop was in Holmes county at Lehman’s. For those who aren’t in the know, Lehman’s is a hardware and homeware store with the off grid or homesteader in mind. They stock manual tools, fine crockery and anything else you desire for a less electrified or at least simpler life…you could spend a lot of time lost in this store, but we did a quick scan of items and came out with only a new set of funnels for tinctures and small bottles (I know, party, right?!)

Next up, lunch! No trip to Ohio’s Amish country would be complete (for us) without lunch at Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen! They have an extensive menu of favorites as well as a substantial buffet (I am not a public food person…I dislike buffets and salad bars) so I ordered from the menu and it was delicious!

We attempted to go to Malabar farms, Malabar Farm State Park is a state park in Richland County, Ohio, United States, located near Lucas and the Mohican State Park. Nestled in the hills of Pleasant Valley, Malabar Farm was built in 1939 by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield and was his home until his death in 1956. Unfortunately with our schedule we had to put that visit on hold for another day so we could get on with the main point of the day….our appointment with Meyer Hatchery!

Meyer Hatchery was founded by Karen Meyer in 1985. Karen was a young mother, raising her family alongside her husband on their dairy farm in Polk, Ohio and her small flock of chickens was her hobby. As the hobby flock grew into a small business, family support and hard work put the business on the path to success. Over 35 years later, the Meyer Family are still proud owners of the industry-leading hatchery that offers over 160 breeds of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, and game birds, plus a full line of feed and supplies. We love the facilities at Meyer as well as their commitment to excellence when it comes to all manner of foul and animal husbandry.

We periodically refresh our chicken flock at the garden. We usually keep around a dozen laying hens, and we keep them as pets “with benefits” meaning, they still are spoiled rotten even after they stop producing eggs. Two of our girls turned 7 this year, long past the laying time, but we love them to pieces so they stay. We did lose a hen over the winter and many of the girls are aging past the three year mark, when egg production begins to slow in many hens (with their diet and rest cycle, our girls tend to lay into their 5th and 6th year).

Will and I are in the planning stages of a new poultry compound which will accommodate a large mixed flock, but in the meantime, the coop and run we have will accommodate 18 so there is plenty of room for new babies. I ordered four chickens in this cohort, a Green Queen (green egg layer), two French Black Copper Marans (deep chocolate egg layers) and a beautiful Partridge Penedesenca (dark brown egg layer).

These chicks will spend a few weeks in our custom brooder with special food and nutrients while they grow. They will eventually join their sisters in the main coop to integrate into the flock later this summer! Welcome home girls!

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