Lonestar has a crack at poultry
For my first column of the year and I have decided to check out white meat – poultry farming that is. Maria and Jim Paterson, owners of the Lichfield Poultry Farm, welcomed me to spend the day on their farm.
Ana Paterson, their 18-year-old daughter, was my tour guide.
With my trusty pink overalls I was ready to jump into the world of eggs.
I had been warned by my husband about the terrible smell that is associated with chooks.
To my surprise and relief the smell was not that bad.
The wonderful and patient Ana gave me my first job at the collection end of egg farming.
Forget all the preconceived notions of skipping while holding a basket collecting eggs from little chicken homes. This job is more structured and requires quick hands and a sharp eye.
The eggs come past on a conveyor belt, my job is to sort the eggs and you would be surprised how many different types of eggs there are.
There’s the dirty, commercial, cracked and spotted egg varieties.
When they are coming at you on a conveyor belt you have to be quick. I started collecting and in the back of my mind I was thinking ‘‘don’t break any of the eggs’’. That didn’t last long, I stuck my finger through the first egg I touched, ‘‘way to go Brenna’’ I say out loud.
After a few more muck-ups I finally found my groove in the collection area to the point where I thought I would try and keep up and maybe slightly outdo Ana the ‘‘egg-spert’’ to my right.
Unfortunately, like most grooves you get into if the music doesn’t move you right you end up breaking stuff and as sure as God made little green apples, I ended my run with a few broken shells piling up around me.
After collecting 720 eggs it was time for grading so we moved to a new area of the farm.
The grading area didn’t look as scary as the collection area.
In grading, the eggs are placed through a machine that shoots the egg out based on their size.
Then it’s my job to place them in the correct containers which will be transported to stores.
Easier said then done. These machines are not slow. Jim Paterson walks around the corner to see how I’m doing and there goes egg number three on the floor.
I find out from Ana that eggs are collected twice a day. I make it through the first collection and grading only breaking six eggs. I think I’m done for the day, if I do any more I would do more harm then good.
I sit down with the family for lunch and get to know them a little better. The Patersons moved here 11 years ago from Pukekohe.
Mum, Maria grew up on a chook farm and when the opportunity came up here in Lichfield the family went for it. The farm is very quiet and has a beautiful view. It is a great place to raise children. Their three children Anthony, Ana and Cameron have excelled in their chosen pastimes.
Ana is a national winning kick boxer and Cameron is a car racer which means both spend a lot of time away from the farm. I had a great time with the Paterson family trying to help around the farm. You should stop by their family store and get some eggs.
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WHAT AN EGG: Rural Lonestar Brenna Parthemore delves deep into the world of egg farming.