Spring is springing, the farm is waking up from the winter slumber, and the animals are enjoying dry weather and sunshine. But now it’s dusty…
We have 8 pigs, 5 are going to the butcher in early April, the last 3 in early May. It’s amazing how much work they do for us. They dig big holes, I fill those holes with leaves and old hay, then they fill those holes back in. We wind up with ~50% organic material garden soil! Very fertile, holds moisture well, and hosts a huge variety of soil biota. Plus the manure from their manure! We don’t fertilize and never have. Last summer this is what our garden looked like with no added fertilizer:
Our egg price has gone back up to $5 per dozen, for everyone, all the time. Long term we are getting out of the egg business… For us, $5 per dozen is break even, and people don’t like paying that much. We will keep these hens until the fall, and raise replacement pullets over the summer. We are happy to continue providing eggs to people who are happy with our eggs at this price. Nobody raises hens the way we do. Maybe their smarter than us? It’s a lot of work.
In the growing season, our hens are raised on pasture and moved everyday. This is about 6 months of the year. They clean up the pasture; scratching through old grasses, and scratching through cow pies and sheep pellets looking for little morsels. This spreads out the nutrients and incorporates them in to the soil. It also provides nutrients, exercise, and activity to the hens. Each day on a new spot in our pasture. Moving the hens takes about 45 minutes a day, everyday. Lots of work, but you can see and taste the difference and I’d imagine if the eggs were tested they would prove to be the healthiest eggs for us to eat.
We still only have 3 lambs. These lambs were born in late February, and we are expecting more. You get what you pay for, and these ewes were inexpensive. The deal was they were cheap because the lambing dates are spread out. This is turning in to a hassle. It’s amazing how much bigger the single lamb is over the twins. She’s twice the size of them, and 1 day younger.
The cattle are doing great. Eating a lot… Cattle and sheep, easy. Live and learn right?
Broilers start showing up in early April. Three batches of 110 in April. These will be butchered in June for preorder and farmers market customers.
Speaking of the farmers market, John is now the Montrose Farmers Market board president. It’s a small board, but still a lot of work. Please frequent the farmers market and say thanks for the extra effort.
Thank you and bring on the irrigation water! Yours, John, Emily, and Jemma.