It was about this time last year that my husband told me he had figured out what he wanted to do with this piece of ground we had bought about six years earlier. He proceeded to tell me we were going to raise chickens and that we were going to move them – every day. Then, he told me about the cows and how we’d move them every day, too. And the pigs – well, the pigs wouldn’t have to be moved until they emptied their feeder. I don’t remember if I laughed or cried, maybe I cried from laughing so hard. Perhaps I laughed when he told me we were going to move all these animals daily, and I cried when he told me how we were going to “process” the chickens ourselves, right here on the farm. He finally wore me down and well, you’ve been following the rest of the story.
While working our full time day jobs this year, we raised and processed about 220 chickens, 40 turkeys and 4 pigs, as well as building a flock of 80 egg layers. I have continued to laugh, and cry, throughout this entire experience. However, the sense of personal satisfaction is tremendous in this accomplishment! I don’t have the talent with words to describe it.
As the year comes to a close and we start thinking about 2013, we have realized a few things:
1. We love what we are doing!
2. We can raise good products that are more nutritious and tasty than anything in the grocery store
3. We can even make a little money doing it, but not enough to give up the day jobs anytime soon
But the most important things we learned are:
1. We started this business about 20 years too late in terms of our physical capabilities to keep up
2. We want to live closer to our kids and grandkids
So we have decided we are going to sell the farm and make another move. We will find good local farmers and work hard to be their best customers because we now know how hard they work!
We are so grateful to our family for their help and support this year. Our customers are the best and we were honored to meet their needs. Thank you for reading my silly posts! But most of all, we thank God for giving us this wonderful opportunity! He is so good to us and all the glory goes to Him!
We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2013!
Yes, we are still here and are still farming. But it has been all we could do to care for the animals while planning and hosting a wedding for our youngest son. He and his beautiful bride were married here on the farm last weekend. It was beautiful!
We have been working on our fall birds since mid-August. Our Thanksgiving turkeys have been on pasture for several weeks, as well as 150 broilers. They are all doing well in spite of some cool evenings. We will be setting our processing dates soon. An email will be forthcoming with specifics if you have ordered from us. We still have about 30-40 broilers available if you’d like to reserve some.
This is a picture of the turkeys and their new shelter. They are fertilizing the orchard area for us.
The turkeys arrived today. It is so frustrating to open the box and see that all of them didn’t survive the journey and a couple more don’t look very strong. They will need lots of TLC the next few days. Turkeys this week, 150 chicks in three weeks – let the two-a-days and worrying begin!
For those of you who have been following us for a while, you might remember that we had our pigs in a pen until we could complete the fence around the woods through which we hope to rotate our animals. With the heat and a sidelining shoulder injury, the fence was not ever finished. We’ve kept Bacon, Pork Chop, Ham Hock and Petunia well fed and watered. We’ve been sure to put plenty of carbon in their pen each day, as well as making a place for a mud hole so they can stay cool. They have seemed mostly happy in their home, especially since they discovered “each other”. (that’s a post for another day 😮 )
But better late than never, we decided to secure the small paddock outside their pen for them to spend their remaining days with us. We put cow panels and a double strand of hot wire around and we were able to turn them loose today! They will have to get used to the hot wire, but they’re learning quickly. We are thinking this small paddock will be good for our young pigs in the future until they are ready to go in the large pasture. Here are some shots of them in their new home as well as pictures of the turkeys in their new paddock.
Just a few shots from this morning…
Hatched turtle eggs????
Posted in Photos, Sustainable Farming
Tagged Chickens, ducks, farm, farming, grapes, Memphis, Mississippi, pigs, sunflowers, turkeys, turtles
Let me preface this post by saying that If anyone had told me 30 years ago, I’d have this little menagerie going, I’d have said “when pigs fly!” Now, on with the post……
Ok, so it’s not that bad. We’ve lost two or three of our older egg layers since moving to the pasture. There doesn’t seem to be any apparent cause. Not sure if it was the stress of moving from the barn coop, or if the two rival “gangs”, the Buffs and the Reds, heretofore kept in separate coops, are rumbling when we aren’t looking. They definitely don’t mingle well. They give new meaning to the term “my peeps”. I’m thinking we’ve upset both pecking orders with the move. It’s only been a little over a week. Maybe they will settle down eventually. We’ve ordered 50 barred rocks to add to the mix. We will see how that goes.
The baby chicks and turkeys have had a rough few days. We’ve lost 12 of the baby turkeys and have no clue why. We noticed that when it was warmer yesterday, it was very warm in the brooder. We could feel the heat rush out when we raised the lid. So we swapped the red heat lamps out for a regular lamp. We freshened up the bedding and they seemed better. But this morning we noticed what appeared to be the dreaded pasty bottom. None of their vents seemed to be clogged. So we cleaned them up, made sure all food and water was fresh and they seem much happier tonight.
The pigs, God love ’em, are outgrowing their pen WAY faster than we thought they would! We have about a fourth of the fence finished for their new home in the woods. Every time we think we will have some time to work on it, something else comes up that takes priority. Yesterday, we noticed that a couple of the pigs were climbing up and putting their front legs on the top rail of the pen. It really looked like he could climb over with a little more effort. Today we put up some cow panels to add height to the pen and then tonight we noticed that the tar paper on the roof of their little house was all torn up. Either the roosters were having a cock fight up there, or……you guessed it……pigs are flying!
Meet Petunia, Hamhock, Porkchop and Bacon. Bacon is the Yorkshire (white one).
Posted in Local Food, Sustainable Farming
Tagged baby chicks, brooder, Chickens, farm, farming, Memphis, Mississippi, Pastured Poultry, pigs, turkeys
Our baby chicks and turkeys arrived! Who would have ever thought they come in a cardboard box in the mail? I was so surprised when we got the first batch of Buffs a few years ago.
154 baby broiler chicks (meat chickens) and 26 turkeys arrived. The chicks are doing great. The turkeys, not so much. We’ve already lost 11 of the them. They seem sort of stupid compared to the chicks, so we aren’t sure if it’s us or them. The hatchery will replace them since they didn’t make it 72 hours so we will baby and coddle the next batch to see what works best.
The brooder design seems to really be working well. They come out and run around, get water, then go back under the hover.
This is a shot up under the hover.
We are really excited to see how they are doing these next few days. More to come…..
P.S. here is a picture so the outside of the brooder