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Open the Door!

Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 19 March 2024…

Hey Y’all!

Good evening and happy Tuesday from Air2Ground Farms! The temps this morning didn’t feel like spring, although the calendar says it started today. We awoke to a heavy frost and 22 degrees. The top pic is Shelley and I back in our winter gear for the morning rounds. It is supposed to warm up and stay warmer for a while. The first batch of beef chickens will arrive this week, although we haven’t received the shipping notification. That means they will probably arrive Thursday. We took 4 hogs to the processor yesterday, more later. On Sunday, after I reached my limit of frustration with the sheep, we moved them into a lambing paddock near the house. They were constantly getting out and eating the new grass that needs to get established. Shelley finally had enough of my exasperation and gave me the “That’s it, we’re moving the sheep!” declaration. So, we set up a new paddock with 3 hot wires and then netting just outside the hot wires, making it nearly impossible for them to get out. We moved them into the new paddock without much incident (I had to chase one particularly stubborn ewe up and down the hill and in and out of the woods a few times). They are now settled in their new paddock and Tank, the livestock guardian dog, is in with them. He has been bored without his sheep for the past couple of months and is now back in a job. Similarly, the layer hens have been pushing their way out of their netting. I fixed a fence charger this morning and now their fence is hot and they have stayed put. The bottom three pics are of the Jersey girls in their gates, enjoying their breakfast this morning. On the far right is Artois, a stellar student who figured out the entire process in only two sessions. She is looking really good and has fully integrated into the herd and our program.

Now for the details on the hogs. We took 4 of the 8 hogs to the processor yesterday. The loading process was a non-issue. We moved the trailer down to their area a few days ago and started feeding them in the trailer. When it was time to load/sort them Sunday evening, after moving the sheep, we put the food in the trailer and when they all went in to eat, we shut the door. I went in with them, plastic hog panel in hand, and sorted those we had marked to stay to the corner with the door. I then yelled “OPEN THE DOOR!” and Shelley slid the door open, the hog would hop out, and Shelley would slide the door back closed. One by one, we sorted the four that were to stay off of the trailer. We were VERY happy with their weights and conversions. Their live weights were: 289, 308, 309, and 330—for an average of 309. Their hanging weights were: 208, 219, 223, and 245—for an average of 223. After some simple maths, our average conversion rate was 72.4%, which is amazing! That means we hit industry standards, from a very small farm. One of those is already sold as a whole hog and the other three will go in our freezers, ready for the market to start in 2 weeks.

On Saturday, we released the video of Artois getting her name and learning about electric wire.

Monday’s Dust’er Mud podcast discussion was a talk about the difference between low-carb and ketogenic where we delve into a bit of slump we are experiencing.


Psycho & Shelley

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