Archive for May, 2013

May 23, 2013

Broilers

I did a lot of research, as usual, before bringing any sort of specific “meat chicken operation” aboard to the farm. “Pan fryers” take entirely too long to grow and having a bunch of roosters here for that length of time was out of the question, and capons were just too much to think about. I was hesitant on the Cornish Rocks reading so many bad reports of health issues with them to include leg problems, heart problems, high mortality, etc. I talked to a lot of people who have raised them for many many years including several friends, visited a farm over a year ago where they are raised “naturally” (meaning naturally for chickens and not in a commercial poultry barn. In other words: free range, which can mean anything from 100% free range all the way to chicken tractors and supplemented with feed) and I did my homework. In the end,  I have absolutely no qualms about raising this hybrid bird.

Experience here is just in the beginning stages. Several years ago a friend of mine raised them out to butcher and was very happy with the results. So far, the past week has gone splendidly. All 64 of them are doing well in our shop within the confines of an old  round bale ring, no losses, no signs of weakness and so into the our 2nd week (their 3rd-ish week) we roll.

It’s entirely entertaining to watch them, especially when new bedding is added. Unknowing individuals have told me they are incapable of foraging altogether, however they can be seen scratching around in the fresh straw (which was a bit weedy) looking for tasty treats. Their enclosure does need cleaning often, I shoot for every other day but it’s been fairly simple with the concrete floors, it’s all just raked up and put into the lawn tractor trailer and hauled off, new added and start to finish it’s about a 10 minutes task. They are outgrowing their enclosure though and this weekend the plan is to build another chicken tractor and get them outside.

We considered poultry netting for a more free range atmosphere and covered shelters but in the end, the hawks are just too much of an issue and in raising the latest layers completely in the tractor straight from the brooder, it worked out very well moving them 2-3 times a day.

For my own reference:

http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/avian/feedingchickens.pdf

http://www.poultryscience.org/ps/paperpdfs/02/p0270995.pdf

http://avianaquamiser.com/posts/Joel_Salatin__39__s_chicken_feed_recipes/

http://www.healthybirds.umd.edu/Nutrition/RightRation.cfm

http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/production/livestock/Growing%20Broilers-Darre.pdf

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/organic-chicken-feed-cheap.htm

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raising-chickens-for-meat.aspx#axzz2U6phQ8u1

http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/1-4/harvey_ussery/

Feed consumption: http://www.organicfeedstore.com/feed-consumption.htm

Wheat based dietary info: http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/poultry/publications/documents/wheat.pdf

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May 18, 2013

Lap turkey

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May 17, 2013

Spigot on a barrel

For those of you interested in our spigot barrel, here it is.

spigot

What you’ll need:

1 barrel (or trash can) and drill & drill bit to make a hole in the side of your barrel/can

1 1/2 inch brass or plastic hose bib

(optional 3/4″ steel washer, depends on how rigid your barrel is)

brass connector with 1/2″ threads on the inside

2 rubber o-rings

plumbers teflon tape

This barrel does not have a washer on the outside, these barrels are very rigid but if you are using a less rigid barrel I would suggest a washer. First apply teflon tape to the hose bib’s threads. Next, put the waster on, then the o-ring. Next you’ll insert the hose’s bib threads through the hole in the barrel you’ve made, place another o-ring onto the hose bib from the inside of the barrel, then the connector. Tighten it all up with a wrench and you’re done!

May 15, 2013

Wordless Wedneday: Smoothie breakfast

May 3, 2013

Land of milk and eggs

challah

Challah braids

It’s that time of year, we’re happily wallowing in milk and eggs! What better way to put it to good use (other than making piggies and doggies happy)? Why, make those around us happy too! I love sending yummy goodies to friends, slipping soap samples in with bags for locals who visit for farm fare or hiding little rounds of eventual lather-y goodness in with shipments of cloth diapers to my customers.

Using milk and eggs to make Challah, lard and milk to make soap, pouring gallons of milk or dozens of scrambled eggs into the pig’s trough and dog’s bowls are all ways in which we use the extras!

Cha cha chai & tea tree camomile

Cha cha chia & tea tree chamomile goat milk soap

Citrus hibiscus  & natural

Citrus hibiscus & natural scent goat milk soap

shampoo bar

Last week shampoo bars came out of the mold (above), a light lime scent and full of extra Vit. E. for shine, mild but cleansing which will effectively remove oil and dirt from scalp. Nothing artificial in these bars, they do not contain petroleum products or carcinogenic chemicals such as glycol distearate. Healthy oils for healthy hair!

May soaps 021

Also, fresh outta the mold, lime & sea salt (above) because at least there has to be some sense of tropical paradise around here…with it snowing on the 2nd of May and still freezing overnight, we can pretend to be somewhere warm while using it.

We’ve lost two fruit trees to the cold. I won’t even think about putting any delicate garden plants out until I am fully sure we are not in for any more freezes, it’s just not worth it, they are happy in the greenhouse and growing well. I do have to transplant some of the tomatoes and peppers though, they are outgrowing their digs!

A few goats have gone to new homes. One of Mags’ triplets was wethered a couple of weeks ago and Pejamy’s spotted doe kid along with Bear went to their new home in Mo. today.

I can honestly say it has been a true pleasure keeping a few of the pups on here for further training. It’s been amazing to watch them learn from King and Snow and watch them interact with the other animals. One of our visitors today said it was like Noah’s ark here the way everyone cohabitates together, even the dogs like the cats and the chickens can be in the pig pen without fear of being eaten and the cats don’t go after the chicks! Minus the rooster, who will meet his fate one day when he’s gone after me one too many times, everyone is family.  I took the goats out to the far woods today and Eddie followed right along, he comes when called and he’s leaning to sit. I am sure he will be a bit sad and lonely without Bear to play with but I think he is starting to mature in the fact that while it’s still fun to be a puppy, there is usually work to be done and that’s OK.

We’re thinking about attending a show next weekend a couple hours away. I’m still not sure I want to wake up as early as I would need to to get all the chores done and be out of here by 5:30 AM to be to the fairgrounds on time. Oddly enough, even though a dual ring show to include bucks seems like a lot to pack in, and it is, I much prefer the single day shows than the long drawn out weekend shows, it’s just too much and doesn’t turn out to be a whole lot of fun waking up early two days in a row, staying late to keep pens clean, feed, milk, etc. then to have to go home exhausted and do all the same at home before crawling into bed, etc. and it’s hard on my animals, I won’t speak for anyone else. With the weather, I wouldn’t have to do much but winter clip…who can’t appreciate that =)! However, the single day shows are hard to prep for in the milking doe dept….getting udders to fill up on hauls under stress…there’s always pros and cons =). We’ll see.

We’ve been getting good rain about once a week for at least the past 4 weeks. Several weeks ago I noticed the oats coming up in the eastern pasture. I was glad for that. I saw some brome coming up but not what I thought should be there so I was a little disappointed but after this past cold storm, wow (!), boy is it really coming in thick and well!

The strawberries we planted in barrels a few weeks ago are looking fantastic. I covered them up 3 weeks ago with straw when we froze overnight several nights in a row with that ice storm and it’s done them well. We just planed potatoes a few evenings ago, a little late maybe but I was later in getting them in last year. We got some lettuces & beets planted outside as well. I have some in the greenhouse but figured with as cool as it’s been, I may as well see how they do. I am sure they’ll be just fine. Kansas is much different than Northern California for planting times and it’s taking time to adjust to that.

We have chicks popping out of their shells this evening. I think we may do one more round and put the incubator up until later in the year when I can get some pure Wyandottes. Right now the new roosters just aren’t old enough yet but give them a few more months and they’ll be old pros =). The girls have been laying super super well, no doubt do in part to all the yummy bugs out they are getting and the fodder that we’re still growing.

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos from here and there =). Have a great weekend y’all!

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