Today we connected the paddocks of our two laying flocks so the younger hens (Barred Rocks, foreground) could meet the older hens (New Hampshire Reds, background). They will all be bunking together once we get the mobile layer coop finished, so we are letting them sort out a new pecking order first. All went well. Everybody was very curious and very skittish. We witnessed a lot of bluster and games of chicken. It was so much fun to watch, we could have sat there all day. But sadly, we are behind schedule on too many other projects (like building a mobile layer coop). Luckily, the grass is behind schedule this year as well.
Archive for April, 2011
Shea Vaccaro and I have spent the past few days assembling this giant tin can in the garage. Whenever I see one of these things on a farm that ostensibly raises grass-fed beef, I question the farmer what it is for (and so should you). Steve will tell you it is our tribute to the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight. But in reality, it is a bulk grain storage bin. Some farmers use them to store grain for their cattle. In our case, it will hold organic chicken feed for our broilers. We can save over 20% of the cost of feed by buying in bulk, rather than in bags.
The new batch of piglets arrived this week. They are currently working on their first assignment: rototilling some leftover hay from the cows’ winter feed.
It is funny how apt the adjective “piggish” is. For one thing, they are almost absurdly greedy. They will throw their little bodies across a trough of food, legs splayed, to prevent their siblings from getting a share. They also make really loud smacking noises as they chew—just about as loud as I possibly could if I were trying to sound rude. We shake our heads and tolerate the rudeness. They are just “expressing their pigness,” as Joel Salatin would say. And after all, unlike my own kids, they do their chores without complaining.
Our friend Marty Michener sent us this link to an article about scientists injecting cows with human genes to create cows that produce human milk. I’m always skeptical this close to April 1st, but so far it seems the story is true.