The heat is on! And our gardens love it. Let’s just assume we all get 75 years on this planet. More assumptions, we start gardening at 25 yrs old and garden every year until we croak. That’s only 50 gardening seasons in our life! Isn’t that weird? Just 50 chances to experiment, become proficient, educate someone with what you’ve learned, and then kick the bucket. I guess that means make the most of it and share everything you can?
I don’t really mind weeds in the garden. I have better things to do with my life than weeding. Earlier this week I did a little weeding in the garden with a lawnmower:)
We received 160 broiler chicks and 15 pullets this month. Our feed experiment is ongoing. Read last months post about the feed problems. This batch we are doing 100% commercial bagged feed, trying to see the difference it makes. The birds spent about 18 days in the brooder, which is a warm, sheltered space for them to grow from a day old chick to a chick old enough to go outside in all different weather. We lost a total of 6 chicks in the brooder, 3% of total. 1 was an accident, the birds knocked over a tiny piece of plywood and one little guy couldn’t get out from under it. 4 died within the first 2 days (shipping stress). So that leaves us with 1 dead chick due who knows what. I call that acceptable.
Our previous 3 batches with the feed problems we were having gave us almost 50% loss in the brooder alone. And the losses kept going out on the pasture. Grrr! (You’ll notice I growl a lot like that when I describe farming life:)
So far I am at -$500 gross profit for broilers this year. This last batch looks good and healthy. Assuming no huge predator losses I will make a bit of profit this year with these broilers, but gosh is it frustrating! Almost all of these birds are already sold, fingers are certainly crossed around here.
What I really need is a feed grinder. That way I can buy ingredients (corn, oats, soy, minerals, etc.) and make my own feed. Of course something like that isn’t free, and I’d need something fairly large so I can do 1000 lbs at a time. Small versions are available that do 20 lb batches, but that would be a tedious. (I feed 10-60 lbs of feed to birds every day of the year)
Or I can be happy buying commercial bagged feed, at least until the birds get the cash flow going to justify an expense like that. It’ll probably mean I need to buy a tractor and a feed grinder, since the big ones are PTO powered. Of course with that comes maintenance & fuel. Farming is simply expensive, please don’t complain about high prices.
On a brighter note, we have a fresh supply of grass fed beef available at the Montrose Farmers Market and here on the farm. I hope to sell out soon so we can have our Saturday’s back:) But it’ll take awhile. If you have any requests please let me know so I can reserve your choice of cuts.
Our pasture is looking great, better than ever. With the type of grazing I do (management intensive grazing) that pasture is supposed to get better and better every year. And it certainly has been that way for us. I can talk forever about grass, legumes, etc. But one quick experiment that has been a success is frost seeding. The idea is to spread seed in the early spring, and let the freeze/thaw cycles (plus hooves) work the seed in to the soil. I have done that with clover and alfalfa, and guess what, we have lots of clover and alfalfa where I did that! I love seeing positive changes.
It has been hot out there in the pasture. I try to give all of our animals a shady place, and for the most part it’s not too hard. Shade is hardest for the cattle. The hens and sheep have the eggmobile for shade, they all go under it for shade or rain protection. The cattle have a shelter I made 3 yrs ago for goats. They love it. 1 cow can get in there and lay down, or several calves. But the biggest thing is they can all rub on it. We have a lot of flies in the pasture and of course they bite. With electric fence all around, they have nothing to rub on. But now they have this goat shelter and they love it. We can hear it creaking from them rubbing on it at all hours.
Cows rubbing on the goat shelter.
Once again, there is your monthly update from your friendly farmer down the road. I hope you enjoy reading about the good and the bad.