Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting Ready

This weekend will be our first pick up for our Spring CSA.  We're excited!  We can't wait to meet all our customers and send them home with some awesome chicken!

The chickens are ready too--well, their always ready for something, they just don't know what they are getting "ready" for!  We have been getting our processing area ready.  It was too cold this past weekend to get much of anything ready for this weekend.  We were hoping to get things cleaned out and organized but the cold and rain caused that plan to get changed!

Our chickens are getting ready for their "Last Supper"

We lost a hen this afternoon.  I found her on one of the nests.  She had just passed away because she was still warm.  We're not sure what happened.  It looked like she might have been impacted with eggs.  This would not be the first hen we lost to this.  It seems that these chickens are somewhat susceptible to laying problems.  They are such big hens!  We have noticed that some are heavier layers than others.  These are the ones that seem to get compacted with eggs.  

I noticed that the other chickens were so quiet.  They seem to have been waiting on me to find her.   I was shocked at just how quiet they all were when I found her.  They all seemed to stop in their tracks.  Some even looked like they were bowing, almost praying when I took her out of the house.  Usually they are all chatty and clucking all around the hen house in the evenings when we come to collect eggs and clean nesting boxes.  None of them seemed to want to even move.  It's amazing how much these chickens become like humans as you really start paying attention to them...

An Update...Our miracle chicken is still alive!  She seems to doing fine.  We look for her everyday when we check for eggs and feed.  She doesn't go far from the hen house but she doesn't stay still either.  We have to hunt for her each day just to check on her!  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Miracle Chicken

Yesterday I got a desperate call from my husband.  He said he and Grandmoma found a hen choking.  I thought he was choking.  I couldn't figure out what in the world he was talking about.  Who has ever heard of a choking chicken?

I asked him to repeat what he said.  Again he said a choking chicken.  I told him he must be mistaken.  How can a chicken choke? 

"Really!" he said, "I'm serious! She's turning blue!"  

"She can't breathe!," he said in a panic.  

What do you do with a choking chicken?  Hubby said while he held the hen, Grandmoma opened up her mouth and stuck her finger down the hen's throat.

"Did it work?", I questioned.  Hubby wasn't sure.  She was trying to throw up whatever was choking her but he and Grandmoma were stumped with what else to do!

Hubby told me, "I'm going to put her in the dog house.  I don't think she'll make it.  Check her when you get home.  We'll bury her this evening when I get home."

So when I came home, I checked in the dog house.  I was sure I was going to find a dead laying hen.  When I looked in, there was no chicken.  I stuck my head in the dog house and looked every where.  No chicken.  No where was there a dead chicken.  No where was there any chicken in that dog house.  I started to looked around but the rain was coming down harder so I went inside.  

I asked Grandmoma if she had seen the hen.  She hadn't and could not believe me when I told her that the poor hen was not in the dog house.  We started to look outside but the rain, thunder, and lightning pulled us back inside.  We saw a few of the chicken that she would hang out with but we weren't sure if it was our choking hen or not.  If you have ever seen a wet chicken you would know that they had hard to identify.

When I came home the next day, I found the group of hens that our choking hen stayed with.  As I counted the hens, I soon realized she was with them.  One, two, three...all three were there!  She was alive!  I looked in the dog house and realized that Grandmoma's finger down the throat had worked!  The hen had thrown up whatever it was that was choking her and she was alive!!

She is our miracle chicken.....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring Is In the Air....

The past two days have been beautiful!!  The temperature has been in the 70s.  The birds are starting to migrate so we are hearing all the different songs that have been gone since fall.  The smell of spring is the start of pollen production of multiple plants getting their blooming started.  That same pollen filling the air with this sweet smell is starting to cover every object that is not in an enclosed vacuum frame.  This means that it won't be long before the cars go from being white to yellow!

Spring is making our animals happy and excited.  They are loving the warm sunshine and the fact that bugs are starting to make a come back.  The chickens love eating bugs!  Once it stays warm enough and the bugs really start reproducing, the chickens will make them 20% of their diet.  Right now they are eating more feed just waiting on the warmer weather to stay.

The goats are starting to shed their winter coats.  They are rubbing up against everything!  We have been trying to keep them brushed if we can get them to be still long enough.  They are happy too to see the sun!  We have found them sunning after munching on the new grass that is shooting up with the warm weather.  We turned them off their chains this weekend and let them run loose.  They loved it!  They are loving the fact that spring is on its way!

Spring is coming to the farm!  Winter is still not over by no means.  But we are finding that it's not going to be long before spring is here to stay....

Friday, March 15, 2013

Don't Miss Out on the CSAs!

With all the Spring CSA Pastured Poultry on the farm, it's time to get ready for our next CSA.  The Summer CSA Pastured Poultry needs to be in by March 31, 2013.  We still have room for a few more customers who want to supply their freezers with healthy tasty chickens for their family.

Pastured Poultry have an actual taste!  A taste that keeps you from using as much salt or other spices to flavor your chicken because the flavor is already there!  They are not filled with all the extra water and antibodies that "plump up" the chickens.  They are the way chicken should be....natural chickens.

If you are interested in feeding your family healthy food, check out the Pastured Poultry tab at the top of the web site.  You can pay by clicking on the Pay for Your CSA tab.

We are also taking Pastured Pork CSA orders.  These hogs are raised on pasture and woodlands as well as given table scraps and some grains.  This gives the meat a flavorful taste while keeping it tremendously leaner than anything you will find in the supermarket.  It not only makes excellent pork chops, but amazing sausage! 

When you order Pastured Pork CSA, we will ask for a deposit.  The deposit is non-refundable but will be put toward your final cost unless you cancel your order.  They take about 4 months to gain slaughtering weight.  We will grow out your hog once you place your order.

If you are interested in feeding your family healthy, tasty pork, check out the Pastured Pork tab at the top of the web site.  We will transport to the processor and pay for your processing.  That's right--processing is free!  You can pay by clicking on the Pay for Your CSA tab.  Your Pastured Pork can be paid for in installments but must be paid in full before processing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We're A Domain!!

We now have our own domain!!

The excitement is hard to control around here!

The chicken are a crowing and cackling!

So come and join the new domain by becoming a Subscriber to our website!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mud, Mud Everywhere

Farm chores today were just that, chores!  We had 2" of rain last night.  Not only was it wet but the mud was almost unbearable!  We were so busy trying to get everything moved thru the mud that I didn't get a picture of the poor wet chickens!

I felt so sorry for the chicks.  The ground inside the pen was as wet as outside the pen.  The cover has a hole in it to drain the top.  The cover held water from a past heavy rain storm and the side walls caved in some.  Enough to keep even more rain water causing the sides to cave in every time it rains.  Even though the hole was a small one, there was enough rain to soak the inside and everything in it.  I don't think it helped that the pen was on a little of a hill that had runoff coming through it too.  Poor chicks...I just felt so bad for them!
If the mud wasn't enough to contend with, Knox and I also had a time with getting the tractor cranked.  We are having to use the big M to move pens because the other tractors are not working.  The metal pen that we use is too heavy to move without a tractor.  We tried using the lawnmower but it really freaked out the chickens.  The M is much bigger but a lot quieter which doesn't seem to freak everybody out.
Batch 2 that we put on the pasture this weekend, came through the rain just fine.  They really seem to be liking being on grass.  They are getting use to moving with the pens.  This is usually the hardest thing for new chicks to learn but these chickens are picking up on moving pens.

As I said earlier, the mud was horrible!  Knox and I both fell it the mud trying to move Batch 2.  My boots and my pants were covered in mud and dirt. We moved as far as we could and just had to stop.
Where the pens are right now is in a bad spot because of the wild hogs.  We are moving over a spot that the wild  hogs dug up and made into an uneven mess.  Hopefully the fertilizer left by the chickens, will help to restart the fescue to grow.

Let's just hope that tomorrow the mud has dried up enough to make the farm chores more bearable.....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Moving On In....

Batch 2 found their way onto the pasture this weekend!  They were somewhat apprehensive about what to do....  

They had seen sunlight but had never had sun on their feathers.  So they weren't sure what to do when the sun started warming them up.  The chicks, at first, were not sure what to do with the grass and the dirt.  But within a few minutes, they were discovering that bugs are found in the grass and the dirt when they scratch around.

While the baby chicks were getting acquainted with their new home, the goats were getting really excited!  Buddy and Billy have learned that the chicken pens leave behind chicken feed when they are moved.  The goats love eating the chick feed.  Problem is that the chicken feed "clogs" up the digestive system of the goats.  So we have to keep the boys away from the chickens.  We have the goats about three days ahead of the chicken pens.  The goats still get all excited and try to break their leases!  They want to get to that chicken feed!  It's true that goats live by their stomachs.....

Friday, March 8, 2013

"I Will Hug Him....."

Today new chicks came in!  This is our last batch of our Spring CSA.  Baby chicks are just too cute!!  We all have a hard time not picking up each and every one and hugging them up close.

It reminds me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon with the Abominable Snowman...."I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George."

We have to really watch Hamp.  He turns into Abominable when he picks up a baby chick.  The chicks give me a look like that of Bugs Bunny...."What is happening to me?? ". Hamp so wants to hug them but ends up squeezing them until their eyes bug out!   We have to usually rescue the poor chicks.
With new chicks in, a batch has to move out.   So we got Batch 2 ready to go on the field.  That meant moving pens to the field and getting feeders, waters ready.  Tomorrow is going to be a fun day watching a new batch of  chicks discover grass and dirt.....

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rainbows Follow the Rain

We have had plenty of rain lately.  Just this week it rained about half a inch in about an hour.  It seems every time its rained, in comes the cold!   But we can't luck up and get rain and cold at the same time....we want some snow!!

I am not complaining about the rain.  I said after the drought of the last few years I was not going to complain about the rain.  But I just want to see some snow!  I love watching the animals play in the snow....both the two and four legged kind!

After our last rain, I got a call from Hubby to go look outside.  The boys and I went outside and found the biggest rainbow!!  A reminder that God is always with us....

The Toll of the Bells

Today was a beautiful spring day!   The sun after a couple of days of overcast skies makes everything seem even brighter.

As we moved everybody today,  I noticed how green the fescue is. Fescue stays green all winter but as soon as the days start getting longer, fescue gets greener. 

The goats have really gone crazy on the fescue.  They have a moveable house that we keep about three days ahead of the broilers.  Each has a collar and a chain that allows them to be chained out so they can move around and graze at will during the day.  We lock them up in their house at night to keep them safe.  Knox decided they needed grazing bells on their collars.  These bells have been ringing non-stop since the goats were moved on the flushing fescue. The bells tell the tale of Happy Goats...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chickens A-Growing!!

Well, even with the cool weather, the broilers are growing, growing, and growing.   They are loving being on the grass and having enough roam to move around.

In the past, our broilers have left feed on the ground each time we moved them.  But with these broilers, there is barely a crumb left each time we move!   It's mind blowing because there is still some in the feeder but none on the ground....

They have been doing great even with the cold weather.   We held them in the brooder a little longer than usual just because we didn't want to loose any to the cold wind.  Since they have shelter from the strong winds, they are able to huddle and keep each other nice and cozy!   We found out by loosing quite a few last year just how important it is to protect them from the strongest winds.  They are really bad to smother each other to keep warm.  We add some shredded paper just for some added warmth too.  These steps have really helped to keep all of them healthy and growing!

We are hoping at the rate these chicks are growing that we'll still be able to make our first pick up date.  Since we lost most of the first batch and had to start over, we are a week behind with our first batch.  We may still have to push them back to the next week. 

With farming, you sometimes just have to go with the flow and that's what we're doing here.  We do our best and work with what God lays out before us.