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Chicken Change-of-Command




Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 21 April 2023…

Hey Y’all!

Good morning and happy Fast-Jet-FRIDAY!! It was a chilly 45 degrees this morning and we are under a freeze watch for Saturday night for temps between 29-32. It will stay warm one day. Until then, we will continue to babysit the plant starts. The collage pics are of the hill as it continues to grow amazing green grass, some of the plant starts, and the garden patiently awaiting the plants. The top pic is Shelley and me wishing you a happy Friday! The bottom pic is a class photo from 1999 of my first time through F-15E training, when I was in the back seat. We made a class car and designed it with tails, stickers, and paint to resemble the Strike Eagle. Good times! If you're reading this and see yourself in the pic, give me a shout! The animals are all doing well this morning. Three beef calves are out of their paddock and we decided to leave them as we are moving the flerd soon and they can rejoin at that time. We started the barn shelf project yesterday by…yep you guessed it…taking apart pallets. We took about 50 pallets apart and now have stacks of 6’ 2x6s and 3’ 3x4s. We’re going to clean up the boards, removing staples and such, and start putting things together today. We are also going to get GMO-free feed today for the layers, dairy cows, and piglets (arriving next week). This evening we will prepare the freezer with the meat we will take to the market tomorrow.

We have recently had a change-of-command in the main layer chicken area. Our Beilefelder rooster has been in charge and frequently let the Golden Wyandotte know that by chasing him around the yard. Two days ago, after growing bigger than the Beilefelder, the Wyandotte decided he was all done with being chased around the yard and stood up and fought. They were both a bit bruised on their combs and faces and the Wyandotte came out the winner. The next day, the Beilefelder literally flew the coop. We put him back and yesterday he was out again. He is now wandering around the farm. We also have a Buff Orpington hen that has decided she doesn’t want to stay in her yard. She has been laying eggs in the Guinea shaw, next to the barn cat and her kittens. Last night the hen decided to roost on top of the new layer chick’s pen with the Guineas. We are being patient with these rogue birds because we are building up our flock with future plans in mind. We plan to build an egg-mobile to move a group of chickens around the pastures behind the cows. The idea is to follow the cows by 3 days with the birds so they can act as a clean-up crew. By the third day, the fly eggs in the manure have hatched and the chickens eat the larvae, helping control the fly population. They also spread the manure so that it doesn’t just sit in piles. Our idea is that instead of processing spent hens (around 2 years old, hens slow egg production by about 50% while still eating the same amount) we will move them onto pasture with the cows and let them forage for most of their diet. If they lay some eggs, that’s great and if they don’t, that’s great too. We will keep young hens near the house as they produce the most eggs. We are also considering moving a small group of chickens into the dairy cow area to assist in clean up. So many plans…so little time!

Local Farm Report for 20 April 2023:

Harvest:

32 Chicken eggs

10 Duck eggs

2 Goose eggs

0 Guinea eggs

6 1/2 Gallons of milk


Cheers! Psycho & Shelley

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rcgable
rcgable
Apr 23, 2023

Just wanted to say the pastures are looking great! I also appreciate the why’s you share for what y’all are doing. Example of using the older hens to keep the sustainability in full swing is a great idea! Last question (you may have already told but what are you pre growing for garden planting

Robert

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Thanks, Rob! We're going to plant a bunch of stuff, no real theme. We really enjoy tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and different squashes...so that's going to be our main focus. We're also going to give okra and pumpkins a try. We probably won't eat much of the pumpkin but all of the animals like them. They also act as a bit of a natural dewormer. Cheers! Psycho

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