Lon­es­tar has a crack at poul­try

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By BRENNA PARTHEMORE

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.

If you have a farm for the ru­ral Lon­es­tar to visit please con­tact the

Photo: CJ HAR­RI­SON

WHAT AN EGG: Ru­ral Lon­es­tar Brenna Parthemore delves deep into the world of egg farm­ing.

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