Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall Grind

We are well into our fall grind. We have 200 broiler chickens in the pens and 26 turkeys day ranging with a movable roost.  The chickens just got put outside mid-week. It took me far too long to get them outside, but I had to move the turkeys out of the pen and repair the pens because they were in incredibly poor condition after spring production.

Broiler chickens finally out on pasture

Chicken pen formation complete with a movable guard dog house

The chicken pens are moved along with the guard dog house every morning. At night large plywood boards cover the east sides of the pen to help conserve heat. Meanwhile turkeys are day ranging inside and electrified poultry net from Premier One.  At night the turkeys have access to a movable roost with a roof over the top of it.

Turkeys out in the day range set-up

One change we are still adjusting to on the farm is loss of our dog. Solo was struck by a car a few weeks ago and likely killed instantly. I went looking for a potential replacement immediately and eventually came upon a six-year-old Beagle we call Dusty. Dusty is working out all right. There some advantages and disadvantages to both dogs and I am still working on getting Dusty more familiar to chickens. It is not so much that he chases them, which he does not, it is more that he can bark much of the night and does not seem to yet be accepting of the night life on a lead or staying out with his dog house at night. 

Since our last post in early August, it has rained quite a bit. Things are still quite dry, but we have actually seen the grass grow a quite a bit. Admittedly a little growth looks good when we had absolutely nothing for so long.  As soon as it we get around five dry days in a row, then our hay will get made. This will be our first hay cutting of the year because the early summer heat scorched our first cutting. I am quite concerned about the price of hay right now and how much I might have to buy. With over 80% of turkeys dead from this summer's heat, we will be doing around $5,000 less in sales this year. I am nervous about the months ahead and just not very hopeful that we won't have much of the same financial stress that we had this year again next year.

Hazel has been complicating things a bit as well. She has been waking up around dawn, skipping naps,  and otherwise making it pretty hard to take naps. This shift is complicated by the increase in work load that the fall brings. I hope she just moderates back to her normal sleep patterns so I can have more breathing room to get my chores done. I have my fingers crossed.

Hazel painting with her feet and enjoying every minute of it

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