The power of social media!!!! Thank you to all who responded to my post about turkeys. We are officially SOLD OUT for the 2016 season. I appreciate all of your interest and support! Thank you so much.
Our laying hens just received Animal Welfare Approved certification. Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is a food label for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. AWA audits, certifies and supports independent family farmers raising their animals according to the highest animal welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. AWA standards have been developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers, and farmers across the globe to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management, and have come to be the most highly regarded food label when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability.
Here's a link to the AWA announcement on our farm's certification.
This makes me happy. The girls are FINALLY laying! I love all the different colors. You can't buy eggs like this in the store.
The high tunnel project is complete!!! I am so overjoyed! This is a huge step forward for the farm. I'm am so grateful to all the people who helped see this project through with me. It was no small feat. It took a lot of people to make this project become a reality.
We have a new puppy, Patton! Patton is 9 weeks old. He is a livestock guardian breed called a Bulgarian Karakachan. The Karakachan is a very rare breed from Bulgaria that is known for it's excellent flock guardian abilities. Karakachan's are extremely self sufficient and will guard various breeds of livestock animals. Karakachan's although friendly with humans will protect their animal flocks to their own death. They have been successful in guarding against wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, bears, hawks, owls, raccoons, weasels, and other dogs. Unlike some other livestock guardian breeds, Karakachan's are very close guarding, always staying very close to their particular flock.
I was awarded this puppy through a grant program. The grant was to educate farmer's on the benefits of using working livestock guardian dogs to protect their flock. In my case it will be poultry.
Patton will be an active working member of the farm. His job will be to protect my poultry flocks against any and all predators.
I spent this entire weekend at the breeder's farm learning about the behavior of livestock guardian dogs (LGD's) and how to best use them. I got to meet the parents of my puppy and see them work and interact with their animals. It was a very educational experience. Having a LGD will allow me to expand my poultry livestock production. Predation is the number one cause of loss when raising poultry.
Big day on the farm today. Andrew processed his first chickens.
When I ordered the chicks from the hatchery, I ordered 27 birds. 25 girls and 2 roosters. I received 34 birds in total. The hatchery sent me 7 extra birds. My suspicion was that the extra birds the hatchery sent me were roosters. My suspicion was correct. The boys in the hen house started to fight amongst each other, and even started getting aggressive towards me. Therefore, it was time to thin the flock. Andrew butchered 6 birds today. 2 of those roosters became our dinner this evening. We had grilled lime cilantro chicken with black beans and home made guacamole. The cilantro and chicken we raised. It brings me great joy to raise my own food. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction knowing I can sustain myself and my family.
I participated in my first farmers market today! Thank you Cedarburg Farmers' Market for having me. And the farm dream continues...
Andrew has finished the mobile chicken coop! It's amazing!! This picture does not do it justice. There are many special features, such as a protected roost for the birds, dual doors for easy access and wheels for easy pulling. We tested it out on the geese. The geese seem to really like it.
This mobile chicken coop will be used for our meat chickens. A mobile coop allows our birds to be outside on a constant supply of fresh clean grass. The birds eat the bugs and greens in the area they are in. The birds poop, fertilizing the soil as they go. We move the coop every day or two to keep the birds on fresh grass. The coop keeps the birds contained to specific areas and also protects them from predators. This particular design can hold up to 75-100 birds.
And so it begins! I literally planted the first seeds of my farm future today!! It all starts with seeds and a dream, or as Chris Blanchard would say,"...and a good farm plan."