Friday, August 26, 2011

Calving Time

Last week we had our first calf and early this week we had our second. The two are both little bulls. They are very hard to find in the over grown pastures and since the mothers are held in by a single poly line, they can roam a bit. I have not seen the two calves together yet. In fact I can go days without seeing any of them. I would feel better if I could see them more easily.

One of two little bull calves

With the dry weather (we have not had a good rain for around 7-8 weeks and the forecast does not have much chance in it), the grass has stopped growing and now all that is growing are the weeds. We have a lot of  bull thistle, horseweed, western ragweed, and heath aster out in the pasture. Some of it can get up to 8 feet tall (I am a bit over 6 feet tall). I have been hammering the pasture with sheep to try and bring things under control. The sheep are doing a pretty good job, but the remaining skeletons of the weeds will likely have to be mowed off as I am finding it hard to move my chicken pens over them. Times like this, makes me regret selling my pasture mower, but I did sell it to buy more sheep.

South Pasture Before Sheep

South Pasture After Sheep

I am still trying to get the turkeys outside. They are just over 4 weeks old and ready to start outside living. They are bottled up in the brooder with some young chickens. Hazel loves the birds (not as much as the cows and the sheep) so now that she can motor across the yard, she wants to go up to the garage and see the brooder. 

Hazel and the baby chickens

Other then that, not too much to report. Janice has had me putting on a new screen door on the house as the old one was starting to fall apart. I rather like the new door. That is it for now. Here is hopping I can get my turkeys outside today. 

Removing the old door

New storm door

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Our Groove On

Well we have made some progress around here in the last two weeks. Our chickens and turkeys continue to develop well.  I moved 175 Chickens moved out to pasture this last weekend and they are doing good. I lost one to a predator and then caught it the next night. It was an opossum. We are trapping every night because of the heavy predator pressure we have had all year. We have even had coon hunters walk our timber and clear out two of the four they came across.

The first batch of 2011 to make it this far, now this is more like it

The turkeys still rule the brooder with 165 of them still in the garage/brooder. They are very large for turkeys of there age and I am really liking the new brooder set-up. I just can't wait for it operating next year in the new building.

Turkeys hanging out in the garage at three weeks of age

Today, we get our last batch of chickens for the year. They will have to share some space with the turkeys so we will see how that goes. On the rest of the farm, Jim was out last weekend and we put the remaining rafters in place and began to frame the internal wall. We need to get the windows and doors framed and then get the boards in place that the roof steel will sit on. My hope is that for our annual customer work day on September 17th, that we will be putting up steel roofing that day. 

All the rafters for the chicken building are now in place

The mower is in the garage and if you can imagine what opening the garage door might be like with 160 turkeys in there, you can understand why I have nor mowed my yard for a month. That is why the sheep are doing it for me right now. I just need to follow them around with the weed wacker/eater and tidy things up a bit. It works ok, but you can't get every spot.

Sheep grazing the yard, mower takes the month off

Other then that, we have been just hanging in there as things accelerate around here. If you are big fans of my daughter Hazel, you should check out my wife's blog as she has some footage of Hazel making sheep noises around the sheep. When the sheep were right up by the house, Hazel could just stand there and watch them and make realistic noises back at them for twenty to thirty minutes easy. Other then that, I did manage to get one thing off my farm to-do list. I put the martin house back up. It has been lying round for over a year since it's pole rotted off in its old location and it fell to the earth. It is now towering over the young orchard and taller then ever. I did get some help from Michael in Ames to raise the thing up into position, so thank you for that. That martin house is just one of those things that I wanted to get done and Janice views as completely not important. She is probably right, but it is now done so I am happy.

The martin house goes back up after a year in the shed

Well that is all for now. I need to go get ready for little chickens that should be here in about an hour. Until next time.