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Hog Processing Day

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 20 March 2023...

Hey Y'all! We had fun with our newest YouTube Video about "Beef" Chickens. Check it out!

Good Monday afternoon from Air2Ground Farms! We had a pre-dawn sub-freezing start to the day today. We had to leave for our trip to the processor before sunrise so we had to get an early start. The dairy cows were still lounging in the darkness when we went out to milk. The machine was frozen even though we had a heat lamp on it so it took a while to get it going with Shelley's handy dandy milk machine thaw-er (hair dryer). The animals are good today although we had a couple of ewes that took advantage of a short in their electric wire to go foraging outside their paddock. We quickly got them back where they belong and fixed the problem with the fence. The top pic is our youngest calf, the bull calf that we were concerned with at first. He is doing very well and it seems our concern was for nothing. The middle pic is 3 of our upcoming heifers. The middle one is almost 2 years old and the two on either side are each just over a year. Farming grass-fed only beef is a very long game but we love the beef cows and really enjoy spending time with them. The bottom pic is Stella, the Jersey heifer calf, cute and growing. All of the chicks are doing very well. A couple of the beef chickens had pasty-butt, a condition where poo builds up over their vent and, if not removed, can cause them to die. We used a warm wash cloth to soften and remove the stuck-on poo and they are now good to go. The joyous, typically unseen, tasks of farming! Yesterday we worked on house projects, recorded a couple of scenes and posted our new YouTube video, and loaded 5 hogs. Today we delivered the hogs to the processor and will hopefully finish a couple of house projects.

Our main debrief item from loading the hogs yesterday is: When dealing with hogs, expect nothing! The batch of hogs prior to these was a flighty batch. They were always jumpy, quick to try to get out of their pen, didn't want to be touched, etc. When it came time to load them, we expected a complete circus resembling a chimpanzee trying to heard 300 pound kittens. Instead, the group calmly walked onto the trailer to get the food we had just put in there. Just like that. We walked behind them and shut the door, flabbergasted at the ease. This batch of hogs has been a dream their entire time on the farm. They are gentle, like to be scratched, never get out of their paddock...a real pleasure to be around. So, we 'expected' an even easier time getting these guys loaded than we had last time. Boy, were we in for a surprise. We were able to separate the 5 we wanted to load fairly easily but they didn't want to go onto the trailer. Period. After much coercion, a couple went on the trailer, then the third, then all of them got back off. We pushed, prodded, herded, cornered, grumbled, maybe even said a couple of bad words, and still they didn't want to get on the trailer. Hunger finally prevailed and one-by-one, we were able to get them interested in the food on the trailer and finally got all 5 onboard. The trip this morning was uneventful. They weighed in at 267, 303, 307, 324, and 342 pounds--live weight. We filled out the sheets describing how we want them processed and came home. We will go next week and pick up the USDA-inspected individually wrapped, custom labeled, frozen pork, cut exactly the way we requested. When we pick up the pork, they will give us their hanging weight, or the weight after removing all of the inedible parts but prior to cutting. We will then be able to compare live weight to hanging weight, which will give us a conversion percentage. Our hogs average a 69% conversion rate with some as low as 62% and some as high as 78%. I'll let you know how these did next week.

Check out our new YouTube Video and subscribe to our channel! "Beef" Chickens. WAIT--What are Beef chickens??

Shelley's YouTube Short is another in the Farm Sounds series: That Pig NEEDS a Straw!

Local Farm Report for 19 March 2023:


34 Chicken eggs

13 Duck eggs

1 Goose egg

5 1/2 Gallons of milk



Cheers! Psycho & Shelley

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