Another busy month… Let’s see, the main things are we bought 3 pigs. These are heritage breed Berkshire pigs. We got them at 5 weeks old from a breeder in Hotchkiss.
We butchered our first batch of meat chickens. Quite a job and never very fun, but we wound up with 27 for sale and 16 for us. We sold them for $4.50 per pound. We actually plucked all of them by hand- it took a long time. I have plans for a DIY plucker, but the plans call for a very specific motor and I’m having a hard time finding it, even on Ebay. Know anyone with a 10:1 gear motor, 1 HP, single phase, 110v or 220v? The deal killer part of things is single phase. Most gear motors are used in industrial settings, such as conveyors. 3 phase is common in factories but not at houses.
We did a trial of non-GMO feed and conventional feed with GMO ingredients. We started with quite a few losses on the GMO side, but most were accidents of various sorts. Then we got lots of losses on the non-GMO side. And these were feed related. What a surprise and what a disappointment. I think the main issue was actually the milling process. The conventional feed is ground very fine, almost like flour. The non-GMO feed was very coarse, slightly larger than sesame seeds in size. Too big for little chicks. At least I think that’s what was going on. Either way, high losses during the first 2 weeks. I’d rather have no losses, but losses at very young is a lot easier to take than losses at 7 weeks after so much care and feeding.
In the end, we wound up going with a different supplier.for non-GMO feed which was ground a lot finer, like flour again.
Anyway, the other biggie for the month is irrigation. I have to make it better for 2015. Pasture irrigation is easy. Right now we use too much water, but plans are in place to make that better in the spring. The hard part is irrigation all of our gardens. I do it 3 times a week and it takes 2-3 hrs each time I do it. Not a horrible task, but it does get old and I think I have better ways to spend my time.