7/24/16 – 8/1/16 | Headlines of the week
- Heat and chickens don’t play well together. Who would have thought?
- Farm tours!!
It’s been an amazing week, despite the fact that this crazy heat killed 12 of my broilers last Saturday! That was a disappointment, but I learned about the importance of shade and ventilation and the benefits of processing the birds at 8 weeks instead of 9 (if I’d done that, I would have been able to sell all 74 chickens! Ah well…).
I visited some friends last week and got to see their homestead and go to two other farms close by! I visited Hiland Naturals, who are known for their high-quality certified non-GMO feed, and Hand Hewn Farm which focuses on renewing the land with their farming practices. For some reason I didn’t get any pictures at Hiland, but I did get a bunch at Hand Hewn Farm!
Isn’t this garden beautiful? They have raised beds and also used interplanting to confuse the bugs. It works because the bugs who like, say, kale don’t see a big section of kale… and so they don’t camp out there and cause a big problem. The kale is all still there, it’s just spread out. This makes it harder to harvest, but the produce is healthier.
Their pastured poultry shelters were made a lot differently than mine, and this design allows for a lot more airflow. Plus, these shelters can house turkeys (shown here) as well as chickens.
Three of the four mama pigs are in the first picture (you do see all of them, right? Check the wallow – their happy place), and the 27 young’uns are in a separate pasture, in the second picture. Pigs do a great job of tearing up ground, and these little guys had been in this section of the woods for a week or less. Another neat thing is their fencing. Pigs have a reputation for being able to escape, but the mamas were held in by two strands of electric fence and the little ones by three strands. Isn’t that neat? To train them to understand the electric fence they put the little ones in a pen with actual sides and electric fencing running around the inside. Then if the pigs got into the electric fence and got shocked, they would learn to back up instead of keep moving forward and out of the pen. I guess it works! 😉
At Hand Hewn Farm they have hog butchering workshops, which would be pretty neat to attend someday! I’ve been learning about the importance of signs and making your product and brand look professional and appealing, so I thought this sign was pretty cool.
How about pastured rabbits? The branches on top are mulberry branches that have been thoroughly chewed by the rabbits. The leaves have lots of protein in them, and the branches provide something for the rabbits to chew on so their teeth stay short.
Then I got to visit Local Bounty, which is a year-round indoor farmers market that’s open most of the week. It was basically like a grocery store with all local, quality products! Awesomeness.
Huh, what’s this? A hint at something awesome to come. 😉 We processed all my broilers on Saturday and Sunday! A post about that will be coming soon. But until then, remember that your friends and family are truly wonderful. And good food tastes lots better when you’ve been working hard all day. So love on your people, work hard, and eat good (real) food!