Jim from Pella has been helping with the fencing, building the water trailer, and has helped repair one of my pasture pens. We have had trouble getting chickens outside as promptly as I would like this year. My two original steel and wood pens need to be gone through and worked on to replace several rotting boards and to change the height that the waters hang so they have a bit more ground clearance. Half of the second batch of 180 chickens made it out to their Hansen-style pen, but the second Hansen-style pen disintegrated when moved. The Hansen-stle pen is best in hot weather because it is much more open. Jim and I have the pen that disintegrated closer to functional, but it is not quite there yet. The second half of the second batch ended up in the smaller 8 by 8 foot brown steel pen that Janice designed. That pen will shortly be too small for them, but it will buy us a few days to finish repairing the damaged pen. The little brown pen is where the young laying hens usually get moved to. Needless to say, our batch of laying hens is still in the brooder waiting for a vacancy. Being one pen down, we have had some flow issues to work out early this week.
Half of the second batch of chickens in a Hansen style chicken tractor
Friday was one of my 5 scheduled processing days of the year. The first batch of chickens went into the locker. Janice and I load the evening before, then I hit the road a bit before 3:00 AM and try to make it home by the late afternoon to early evening. From there chores get caught up on and then all the birds (177 of them) get unloaded about 25 at a time and wiped down, weighed, and double bagged before going into the freezers.
Trailer in position and ready to begin loading birds
Ryan loading chickens
Janice goes back to work on Monday and HAzel and I begin our first solo day. I also begin to do deliveries next week. Ames is Monday, Des Moines is Wednesday, and Pella is Thursday. It will be a busy week ahead, but they all are when you are in the thick of the spring production season.
Ryan holding Hazel and a Nermal trying to get in on the action