Deer Run Farm

Allison's Journey

Thanks for visiting the blog! Allison's taking on big changes in her life, going from city girl to farm girl, from full time graphic designer to full time chicken farmer. Follow her on her journey by checking in to her blog frequently!
Posted 5/26/2018 4:49pm by Allison Rostad.

May 2018

Seminar Success
As of May 12th we can finally say we hosted our first "big" event on our farm. Having never hosted an event like the poultry swap with Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network, we didn't know exactly what to prepare for. After days of preparation and anticipation, the event came and went SUCCESSFULLY! Ahhh - what a sigh of relief :) The food was good, the people were great (and I hope enjoyed themselves and learned a few things!) and Jim did a wonderful job teaching and keeping everyone entertained. Hopefully this will be the first of many future events on our farm!

End of the Season

Welp, we survived our first full Spring hatch season! Our last eggs for chick orders are in the incubators and set to hatch on June 5th. We're thrilled with the amount of orders we received and were able to fill this season. I met and talked with soo many new chick buyers that picked up on the farm and hopefully made some buyers-for-life! We'll shut down the incubators and hatchers following the last hatch and do a full clean out and disinfection of the hatchery. Be on the lookout for our Fall hatch schedule as we hope to determine the dates here soon!

Ready, Set, Market!

Market season is upon us and in full swing now! Somehow we managed to drum up enough time and help to be able to attend not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR markets. Should you ever be in the neighborhood, make a point to stop and see us at any of the following markets:

Thursdays from 12p-6p: Fulks Corner Market, Gaithersburg, MD

Fridays from 10a-1p: Key City Food and Farmers' Market, Frederick, MD

Saturdays from 9a-1p: Farmers' Market at Maple Lawn, Fulton, MD

Saturdays from 9a-1pm: Thurmont Farmers' Market, Thurmont, MD


Cows on Pasture

No more monsoon means the cows can finally return to pasture after being held in the barn for the winter. I recently read an article about how to herd your cattle from one pasture to the next. There were different techniques described like a "zig zag" run from their behind or enticing them with food. I should write to the author and let him know he forgot one other method... at Deer Run Farm we simply call for our girls. One by one they come running when they see a gate open and one of us calling! They truly are happy, happy cows!

Chicken Tenders Unite!
After being a graphic designer for all of my "career life", it's been quite the transition to becoming a full time farmer.. or what I like to call a full time Chicken Tender. To stay connected with my original roots of graphic design, I recently designed a farm T-Shirt for markets and events that we attend. I've received so many comments on the shirts like, "oh my gosh, I need a shirt like that" that I've made them available for purchase on our Facebook page! Support our farm and join the Chicken Tender team :)

Mother Earth News Fair 
We're just a weekend away from the Mother Earth News Fair that's being held at the Frederick Fairgrounds on June 2nd and 3rd. This event is sure to bring about lots of traffic with lots of fun things to learn and do! If you have time next weekend come see us and experience this new event coming to Frederick! We will be raffling off a flock of chicks on both Saturday and Sunday while advocating for disease testing and biosecurity practices.

Poultry Swap - Round 2
Eeeekkk! Missed the first poultry swap in April? No worries! Deer Run Farm will be at Green Hill's Summer Poultry swap on June 9th from 8a-2p. We plan to have chicks, started birds and a few hens available for purchase that day along with our usual, beef products! 

Meet Your Farmer!
- Annie - 
Ever purchased eggs from us? Your farmer, Annie Stewart (Josh's Mom) has stepped in as our egg washing machine! Once a home economics teacher, she now resides on the farm with more work than when she retired. We can't begin to express how lucky we are to have such a hardworking, caring hand since taking over Whitmore Farm's poultry operation.
Deer Run Farm
Registered Red Angus & Pastured Heritage Breed Chickens
15131 Sixes Road
Emmitsbug, MD 21727


Posted 3/21/2018 3:09pm by Allison Rostad.

March 2018

The First Chicks Have Hatched!

Yes, we did it! Our very first hatch of the Spring season has come and gone. It wasn't easy, but we did it. Even after four additional hatches we're still working out some kinks. If you follow our Facebook page, you would know that our first hatch was delayed an entire day. It's important for us to hit the hatch day right on since we aim to hatch every Tuesday. Hatching on a Wednesday can cause problems for us when shipping to states further away or for orders that want standard priority rather than express. The worst thing that could happen is they arrive over the weekend and sit longer than they should. Luckily, we've planned for many of our first hatches to fill on-farm pick up orders so that we wouldn't have to worry about weather issues with shipping this early in the season. Ideally, we hope to be shipping and filling majority of the orders this coming April as the girls are really starting to lay again!

5 Babies In One Day!

We've had, at most, 3 new calves born in one day. This March we hit a new record: 5 babies in one day! It was insane!! Literally, one after another. To the point we had one cow giving birth and a second cow in labor thinking the other cow was pushing out her baby instead of focusing and pushing out her own! What's even crazier is that we've also had 3 sets of twins so far this year. Typically, we would normally get one, if any at all, in a year, but we've decided there must be something in the water here on the farm this year. Twins can be exceptionally hard to care for when they're born. It's a confusing time for the mother because she's unaware that she's having two. Usually the mother will claim one baby and push the other away thinking that it doesn't belong to her. Thankfully, we've only had to train one mother to accept both babies. The other two moms, much older than the first, happily took in their two babies and all are well!

Now Offering A 10 Quantity Shipped Minimum!

If you didn't already receive the notice through email last week - you're reading that title correctly! After several inquiries about shipping smaller quantities and lots of research into safe shipping methods and packaging, we are finally set up to ship as few as 10 chicks nationwide. Being able to ship this few of chicks at a time will allow us to get our healthy birds in the backyards of many more people who could never accept 25 at a time. Cheers to changes!!

Maryland Poultry Swap & Farmers' Market

- April 21st - 

Every year our friends at Green Hill Farm in Sharpesburg, MD hold a poultry swap and farmers' market at least twice a year (last year they held three!). This year the first will be on Saturday, April 21st from 8am-2pm. We will be there with eggs, chicks and some pullets of each breed and our beef products! What's great about this swap is that there are always sooo many vendors with sooo many different breeds of poultry and other animals! It's definitely one of my favorite events to attend and April's spring swap is always the largest of the year. You don't want to miss it!

Meet Your Farmer
- Josh -
Josh, his sister, Joanna and his parents have lived on the farm here in Emmitsburg since 1996. Josh has a full time job off the farm as a Project Manager for a general contractor. Although he's good at what he does, he'd much rather be on the farm and in the fields on one of his Allis Chalmers Tractors he's collected over the years.




Deer Run Farm
Registered Red Angus & Heritage Breed Chickens
15131 Sixes Road 
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Posted 3/16/2018 8:23pm by Allison Rostad.
Since the purchase of Whitmore Farm’s poultry operation, we’ve been attentively listening to our customers’ feedback and suggestions. This attentive listening has led us to investigate methods of shipping for smaller quantities of chicks.
We’re now happy to announce the option to buy as few as 10 chicks for mail order!!
Previously we’ve only offered minimum shipped orders of 25 chicks and orders in multiples of 25 chicks to ensure the health and safety of our shipped chicks. Now, with some box experiments and packaging trials (Don't worry! No chicks were harmed or sacrificed in these experiments or trials.), we will ship as few as 10 chicks and in multiples of 10 chicks. This shipping method will still consist of a box designed for proper airflow, our usual nest pad for the chicks to maintain proper footing and absorption of droppings, and gro-gel to get them to their destination without dehydration. This new shipping method will also include a 72 hour heat pack to provide additional heat from the lack of extra chick bodies (unless of course it's already hot enough outside when and where they're headed!) and a smaller box to encapsulate that heat helping to provide a better heated environment for the chicks during their travels.
We’ve just recently updated our website to include options for both “bulk” shipped orders, which will be for 25+ chick orders at our regular prices, and “minimum” shipped orders, which will be for our 10+ chick orders at a little higher price point to cover the costs of the new, special packaging for the smaller quantities. 
We’re excited to be able to offer our USDA NPIP disease-free chicks to the smaller, ever-growing in popularity, backyard flock enthusiasts and be able to increase awareness of truly-clean poultry. In the past we’ve had to turn away potential buyers who couldn’t accept 25 chicks at a time, stripping them of their opportunity to own AI, PT, MG and MS clean birds. Now we can happily offer our clean, healthy and show-worthy birds to a wider range of chicken lovers!
To help get the word out we will be running a short Facebook contest for a chance to win a variety 10 pack of chicks shipped the first Tuesday after Easter (April 3rd, 2018). You can enter to win the contest by sharing our announcement post with your friends on Facebook. We will have a random drawing on Easter Sunday and announce the winner live! Check out our Facebook after 10am today to enter.
Don't forget we're still taking orders for Spring chicks! Our last hatch for the Spring is June 5th so there's still time to take advantage of our new "minimum shipped" chicks! 
P.S. Happy St. Patricks Day!
Deer Run Farm
Registered Red Angus & Heritage Breed Chickens
15131 Sixes Road • Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Posted 2/22/2018 3:55pm by Allison Rostad.

February 2018

We here at Deer Run Farm feel that our email subscribers should hear from us more often. And we don't mean "blowing-up-your-phone-every-few-hours" kind of often. We just think sending a monthly newsletter recapping our month of all of the excitement and news happening around the farm will bring us all closer together. Besides, who doesn't want to receive all the cute photos of the farm animals and latest deals and event information?! This email will serve as the first ever "Fresh From The Farm Newsletter" to keep you in the loop! We will send out one newsletter a month so as to not get "annoying" and we'd love to hear your feedback about them so we can improve them as we go. We plan to highlight all major happenings on our farm, list any upcoming events or markets we will be attending and we will even share a little bit about ourselves with you. Let us know what you think by shooting us a reply!

The First Eggs Have Been Set!

That’s right folks! The first eggs for the Spring hatching season have officially been set. We’re on schedule to hatch our first set of chicks on Tuesday, February 27th and couldn’t be more excited! This will be Deer Run Farm’s first ever Spring hatch since the purchase of Whitmore Farm’s poultry operation. We have a ton of chick orders for the Spring season already that were placed by some of you early birds! As the days get longer and warmer we expect several more orders to roll in with the thought of Spring on the way! If you haven't ordered yet, but you know you will want to now is the time to do so.

Setting Up For A New Generation Of Breeding

Even after the obvious success of Whitmore Farm’s poultry operation there’s always something more one can improve upon. Deer Run Farm has been working closely with the Sustainable Poultry Network to begin implementing selective breeding to their poultry program this February. After several years of closed flock breeding we’ve decided our birds could use selective breeding as a method to boost genetics safely in each flock. With the help of well-known poultry judge, Jim Adkins, we’ve filtered our flocks to find the best of the best birds to breed together to pursue offspring that will embody each breed’s standard of perfection. We’re so thankful to have the space on our farm to expand the operation Whitmore Farm started 14 years ago!

Slow Poultry Seminar - May 12, 2018

We recently sent out an invite to each of you regarding our Slow Poultry Seminar with Jim Adkins that we’re hosting here on the farm in May.  Tickets are only $25 dollars and include lunch and training materials. The seminar has limited seating and as of Monday, February 12th we’re already at half capacity. Anyone still interested in attending this event should register as soon as possible!  We expect attendees to walk away with a clearer vision of sustainable poultry production.

Meet Your Farmer
- Allison -

Born and raised in Gettysburg, PA, Allison has always been a city girl until she met Josh. Besides being active on the farm she’s also active on two indoor soccer teams!

Deer Run Farm
Registered Red Angus & Heritage Breed Hatchery
15131 Sixes Road
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Posted 2/8/2018 12:11pm by Allison Rostad.

Deer Run Farm is pleased to announce their hosting of the "Slow Poultry Seminar" with Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network.

Jim loves people and he is passionate about poultry! For the past 35 years, he has raised over 50 breeds and varieties of standard-bred poultry (that includes chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys). Jim has been teaching poultry field days and workshops for the equal amount of time throughout the United States and in other countries as well. In 1994, he received his poultry judging license from the American Poultry Association; which has taken him to 35 plus states, Canada as well as Australia to judge standard-bred poultry. He is a passionate, effective communicator who loves poultry and loves to teach people about the available opportunities with standard poultry. He is one of the most requested workshop and keynote presenters in North America!

We're super happy to host Jim here on our farm to discuss strategies for sustainable poultry production. This eight hour seminar will provide an overview and strategy for developing sustainable poultry production. You will learn how to start effectively breeding, growing and marketing poultry products that are both sustainable and profitable. We will carefully look at these four areas:

PURPOSE – Explaining sustainable poultry production models

PRODUCT – Defining the true historical meaning of standard-bred poultry

PROCESS – Understanding the foundational pillars of 
                      sustainable poultry production

PROGRAMS – Developing a strategy and plan for success

We're excited to be able to offer this type of event on our farm and hope you'll join us for a day full of poultry knowledge! The event is open to everyone, however, there is a limited number of spaces available (25). The seminar will be held from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday, May 12th with registration beginning at 8:30. Cost is $25 per person if signed up by May 4th ($45 after 5/4). The cost will include training materials and lunch! 

To register: Click Here  (Make sure to choose the Emmitsburg, MD option in the dropdown box at registration.)




Deer Run Farm is currently working with the Sustainable Poultry Network and Jim Adkins directly to begin implementing selective breeding to each flock in their current breeding program. With Jim's certified, APA Judge's eye we hope to continue advancing each of our flocks towards the standard of perfection per the American Poultry Association's guidelines. By the summer of 2019 we hope to have four certified flocks under the Sustainable Poultry Network. Check out our Facebook page to see updates on our progress!


Deer Run Farm 

Registered Red Angus & Heritage Breed Chickens

15131 Sixes Road • Emmitsburg, MD 21727



Posted 10/24/2017 2:14pm by Allison Rostad.

Hello again, friends!

We've finally made up our minds as to when we will begin hatching again in the Spring. Before I share that schedule with you though, I wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you for supporting Whitmore Farm over the last 14 years and for continuing that support on to us here at Deer Run Farm. Their success stemmed from your support and we hope to continue to build on their success and continue to spread these beautiful birds all over the U.S. with your help. 

We were successfully able to complete our first Fall hatch as Deer Run Farm. It was all new to us. It was fun. It was exciting. It was tough at times, but it was rewarding hearing back from everyone who received their new babies! We've cleaned out our incubators, hatchers and brooders and we're allowing our girls a break for the rest of the fall and winter months.  While they rejuvenate you can begin placing your order for spring chicks now!

Spring Hatch Scedule

Just as Whitmore Farm did, Deer Run Farm participates in the NPIP monitoring program for Avian Influenza, Salmonella Pullorum Typhoid, Mycoplasma Gallisepticum and Mycoplasma Synoviae. We're happy to provide our customers with the healthiest and cleanest chicks!

Remember not to waste too much time deciding to place the order. Our Spring hatch will fill up faster than our fall hatch did and you won't want to miss out.

Speaking of missing out --- if you don't like us on Facebook, you need to! Right now you can enter for a chance(s) to win 25 breeder's pick chicks for this coming spring hatch. Go to our page now to find out how!


Deer Run Farm

Registered Red Angus & Heritage Breed Chickens

15131 Sixes Road • Emmitsburg, MD 21727


Posted 10/4/2017 10:36am by Allison Rostad.

Am I able to welcome myself back if it's my own blog? 

It's been too long since I've last posted, but if you've visited the website lately, you'd have known its due to being in the midst of our first fall hatch ever. I'm not sure I can even describe in the least how stressed out I'v been during this hatch season. You could certainly ask Josh and I'm sure he'd tell you I portrayed the devil occasionally!

On the outside I may look like I handle stress and high pressure situations well, but on the inside I'm going crazy! With just one more hatch week to go I'm looking forward to some relief! Setting the eggs and allowing them to incubate over 3 weeks is the easy part. Not knowing what could go wrong in the meantime is the stressful part --- really, really, really stressful part!

Since this is all still relatively new to us we're still working out kinks within our set up and get Whitmore Farm's equipment calibrated correctly in it's new home. Our first hatch went so much better than I was imagining in my head. Of course, I did have Josh's help that day. The second hatch was a nightmare!! And I still don't know why. Everything we knew to do and had done previously was done in the same manner as the first hatch, but somehow our hatch rate dropped significantly. I cannot express how frustrated, panicked and stress I was last Tuesday. Immediately thought to myself there was no way I would be able to fill all of my orders in time now. Yesterday's hatch was much better so I feel a little more relieved than I was, but still borderline worried I won't fill the rest of my orders next week.

Hopefully by spring I'll have boosted my confidence in hatching and the process that I won't be as nearly stressed out as I have been recently. We have plans to evaluate all of our equipment to make sure all is running to it's best potential by spring time. I hope to have a functional office by then too. This way all my orders and forms can all be organized in hopes to organize my thoughts a little better too. We plan to have our automatic waterer project complete before winter to alleviate extra work of having to take waterers to the chickens everyday. We'd love to have more of our TP Coops built for our grow-out pens before spring also. Lots to do and I hope to be able to share with you as we go. 

I've been photographing our projects as we've been doing them, but have yet had the chance to put everything together on a finished project too share with everyone. As soon as I do I'll add it to the blog - so stay tuned!



Posted 8/21/2017 11:07am by Allison Rostad.

As much as I wanted to do a Facebook live video of our chicks hatching out, I had my hands full! Sorry to anyone who got to the end of the last post and was looking forward to the live feed. We're hoping to try again this coming Sunday!

Anyways... We... Have... CHICKS!!!

Lots and lots and lots of them! We set roughly 400 of each breed and currently have 516 babies running around in a larger brooder and 296 that just hatched yesterday in our day old brooder. We still have one more hatch to take place on Sunday. So far we've had almost a 75% hatch rate which is pretty good for us newbies!

Due to all the vaccinating we do on the day their born, I haven't been able to take too many photos of the process. Luckily, Josh has, but he's not around for me to pull his images to share with you. Here's what I'll promise you readers though: next post will include several cute photos of the chickies, but you'll have to stay tuned and be on the lookout for the next post!


Posted 8/9/2017 10:16am by Allison Rostad.

In roughly 48 hours we will be hatching out our first -ever- chicks to grow out to replace our older hens! How exciting!!!

Of course, along with the excitement comes the preparation work!

Over the weekend Josh and I finished the walls in our old hog barn where we plan to raise these chicks. Instead of putting a lot of money into the project we opted to use pallets that we had laying around the farm as the middle wall structure and then screwed plywood to it to make it solid. Easy enough! I still have some chicken wire to hang to keep them from jumping one wall to enter another pen as they get older and experiment with their wings. Luckily, they don't start flying higher than 4 feet for awhile so I have time!

Yesterday, I pulled apart the hatchers so I could clean the fan and heating elements. Boy was a surprised by the amount of down feathers, dust and dirt that covered everything!!

We have 2 hatcher units. Each of them took about an hour and a half to clean. Took a shop vac to it first to get as much sucked up and out of the way as possible. I disassembled the unit completely removing the fan from the box. I had a bucket of warm water with a bit of bleach added for disinfecting. In some spots I had to apply pressure and scrub and others it washed away without a worry. For the fans, I attempted to just wash everything with a cloth, but never again! Could hardly get into any of the small nooks. Instead, I put in under our commercial sink sprayer head and held the wires out of the way. Once I got it hosed off I took the shop vac to it just to suck up any extra water that could damage it. Eventually it was clean enough to be put back together and ready for Friday when we switch the chicks from the incubators to the hatchers!

From now on, equipment will be on a regular maintenance schedule to hopefully avoid this much dust, down and dirt build up in the future!

Our brooder is all set up too! We won't turn it on until Saturday evening to get warmed up for Sunday's arrivals. Other than that, I think we're all set for our baby chicks!

If you don't follow us on Facebook, you should! It's likely we'll use the new "live" feature on Sunday as the chicks are hatching. We will be administering the mareks vaccination at that time too and you may want to check it out!

Stay tuned!!! 

Posted 7/26/2017 9:41am by Allison Rostad.

Famous - having a widespread reputation, usually of a favorable nature; renowned; celebrated.

I suppose everyone has their own idea of what famous is. Above is the definition found on You may be wondering why I'm even talking about fame when it comes to this chicken journey of mine. On Monday of this week, I woke up to a text from Josh (he leaves for work by 5:30am) with a photo of myself on the front page of the local newspaper. Yes, I knew there was going to be an article in the paper, but I had no idea that it was interesting enough to be cover-worthy! So no, it's not real fame or anything, but multiple people have been asking, "what's it like to be famous?". 

To be honest, it's HARD! This whole thing is still very new to me! I have a lot I still need to learn and quite frankly, it's a bit overwhelming at times. 

This is the second article on our farm to make the front page of a newspaper within 3 months. It was actually kind of exciting the first time we were written about in The Lancaster Farming newspaper - the whole family was apart of it and it was about our cows; something that's been done for the past 21 years. That's a story I'm not afraid to answer questions about! Although I'm pleased with the press and the opportunity to be on the front page of The Frederick Newspost for the area to see, I'm just not ready for all the questions about the operation. 

Luckily for me, I do have super understanding customers that bare with me as I get answers from Will when I need them. It also helps that I'm being asked these questions now. I've asked Will many questions already, but there's so much I didn't even think about until someone else has asked me. Essentially those of you that have been interested in purchasing from us that have had questions - you're the ones really pushing me to learn more and more everyday. 

Instead of famous, I'd like to be able to be called an expert one day. To be called a famous chicken hatchery owner just sounds odd; like how does one even get in that category?! But to be called an expert chicken hatchery owner sounds like something I could live with :)

The links above are connected to the articles about our farm. Here's an additional one done in another local paper, The Catoctin Banner, from last year when Josh and I first started our retail sales of beef:What's in the Beef at Deer Run Farm?

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