We have 3 laying houses each containing laying hens
at different stages of maturity. Laying houses are
cage-free and offer ample indoor and outdoor exercise
areas, all protected from potential predators. During the
day, birds are intermittently allowed to free range. At all
times, birds have access to community laying boxes
bedded with fresh straw to promote egg cleanliness.
Pine shavings are placed as bedding on the floors of
the houses. Houses are heated in the winter; fans are
provided in the summer for hen comfort. Lighting is
timed to simulate 15-hours of daylight year ‘round.
Birds have 24/7 access to fresh feed and water. Our
ration is all natural and contains no antibiotics.
(Note: Hormones are not an issue since there are no
FDA approved growth stimulating hormones available for use in poultry.)
We purchase newly hatched commercial brown and white egg-laying chicks from a Salmonella pullorum free hatchery. Upon arrival, each chick is hand-inspected and given its first drink of sugar water, then placed in a heat and light controlled starter cage where it is closely watched to make sure that it successfully makes a transition from hatched chick to self-sufficient pullet. Once chicks are thriving, they are moved to either the grower unit or directly into a clean laying house.Hens will begin laying eggs at 4 to 5 months of age and will continue to produce eggs acceptable for retail sale for approximately 12-14 months. Subsequent to completion of their job at Notkwyta Ranch, the birds are placed in local backyard flocks where they live out their productive lives.We us all-in all-out husbandry: birds are purchased, raised, and housed as a group to optimize good flock dynamics and to minimize biosecurity issues.
Many of the eggs produced by our birds are Grade AA Extra Large or Jumbo; however, due to constraints of the Kansas Egg Law, our eggs must be sold as Grade A Extra Large. Eggs are collected twice daily and placed under refrigeration (≤ 45•F) until they are processed. To prepare them for retal sale, eggs are gently hand washed, allowed to air dry, inspected (called candling), graded, and packed into cartons. They are stored in a temperature-monitored refrigerator (≤ 45•F) pending weekly delivery to our customers.