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Wolf in Poly-wire Clothing






Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 7 April 2023…

Hey Y’all!

Happy-happy-happy Fast-Jet Friday—last pic!! The cool temps quickly subsided this morning into what will be a mid 60s day. The third and fourth pics are the beef chicks as soon as we put them outside. Pics 5 & 6 are the layer chicks. The beef chicks and layer chicks all survived their first night outside! We caught an opossum in the trap about 25 feet from the beef chicks. I will ‘relocate’ it today and reset the trap. The cats are perplexed with the layer chicks and are certain that they can find a way into the pen. I’m sure they just want to play. Check out the cat in the 6th pic. The guineas have taken to roosting on top of the pen where we put the layer chicks. They fussed a bit at sunset last night but soon gave up and roosted there anyway. The guineas have started laying eggs this season. They only lay during spring and summer, not too far down the domestication timeline from their wild roots. We are going to try our hand at incubating some guinea keets. They incubate a tiny bit cooler and a week longer than chicken eggs. Our incubators have a digital thermostat and will work fine. We shut our main chicken flock into their shaw very early this morning. Our chick-shaws are on wheels so that we can transport the birds. As part of our morning rounds, we moved the flock onto the garden. It had already started sprouting grass and the mushroom compost was sitting on top of the garden soil. The flock will spend 2 days weeding and turning the soil before we move them along. We just decided that 5 minutes of labor moving the birds was better than a few hours pulling grass and turning the dirt. We loosed the lambs this morning! They have been in their winter paddock for a few months now and we decided to give them a few hours of green grass. We will go back out early this afternoon and put them back in their smaller paddock and give them some hay. Hopefully this method of slowly introducing them to the spring-green will keep their guts healthy. We moved 13 chicks from the incubators into a brooder and 3 more are in the incubators, drying after hatching this morning. We are still enamored by the ability to hatch our own birds. I’m sure it will soon loose its pizzazz but for now we all love the process. Yesterday we moved the birds outside and filmed the process for a video. Today we will train the dairy calves and Makaylah is having an Easter party.

We’re going to train the dairy calves to an electrified poly-wire today. We have a poly-wire running around the top of their paddock to keep the cows from mashing down the fence. We mounted a plug-in type fence charger near the fence and put a small outdoor trash can upside down on top of it to keep it dry. That charger sends out 1 pulse per second at about 14,000 volts and 8 joules. [A car analogy to help understand volts and joules: Volts are like horsepower and joules are like torque.] One of the most important details when training animals to electric fence is to have them contained in a physical barrier first, then put the electric wire inside the physical perimeter. Unless it is interspersed as part of the physical barrier, electric wire is only a psychological barrier, not a physical one. That fact drives the demand for a big punch during initial training. The animals need to learn, immediately, that the poly-wire is not friendly but they also must not be allowed to escape when getting away from it. When we trained the dairy cows using the same wire and charger, we ran the wire through a portion of the pen they had been using for a few weeks, effectively cutting off one side. We used the same portable posts we use in the open fields. We hooked it to the charger, turned it on, and left. The next day, we moved the wire to a new part of the pen. By that time, the cows were convinced the wire was not good and tried to keep me from getting near it. They now absolutely respect the single wire running across an open pasture and gladly stay inside it. We will do the same thing today to train the calves. We will put in the portable posts, run a poly-wire from the charger through the posts, turn it on, and leave. The cows will tell the calves not to get near it, but they won’t be able to resist touching it to figure out what it is. It will bite them, hard. They will holler and jump back, immediately understanding why the cows were warning them to stay away. I expect them to touch it only once, but it may take a second time to solidify the lesson. We will move the wire tomorrow, still inside the pen, and repeat. Most likely, they will never touch it again. Once trained, they can join the rest of the ruminants in regenerative grazing through daily pasture moves. Look back at the top 2 pics, we similarly control and move the lambs with electrified poly-netting, we control and move the adult sheep with 3 poly-wires. The idea is to mimic the way wild ruminants move through grassland areas. They eat and then move on, driven by the search for water and predators. In regenerative farming, the electric poly-wire/net mimics a predator and drives the herds to new pastures. The ruminants rip off the tops of the grass, stimulating it to grow. They then move along giving the grass time to recover. By the time the grass has points again, it’s time for the tops to be ripped off again. This process builds strong, healthy grass pastures and converts solar energy into protein!

Shelley posted a YouTube Short yesterday excitedly showing off our plant starts awaiting their move to the garden.


Local Farm Report for 6 April 2023:

Harvest:

32 Chicken eggs

10 Duck eggs

1 Goose egg

5 1/2 Gallons of milk

Sales:

N/A


Cheers! Psycho & Shelley

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