February 2017

A few new things for this year, good and bad.

We purchased 80 little pullet chicks in mid-Feb.  Normally we don’t get pullets until April or May.  The big difference is these new birds will start laying in July, during farmers market season.  Waiting until April or May means they won’t start laying until October, exactly when we want to see a decrease in eggs.  The weather was mild for the first week, getting them off to a strong start.  Of course then it got cold, down to about 10 F.  Certainly the coldest temps I have ever contended with while brooding, but it worked fine.  Here is what our high tech brooder looks like:

On the bad end of things, lice on our cattle has been a problem this year.  It’s always something!  I’ve never had to contend with cattle lice before, and I don’t use synthetic drugs on any of my animals.  So I’ve been dusting them with diatomaceous earth and not seeing great results.  Next was a dust containing small amounts of pyrethrin.  This is a natural pesticide made from chrysanthemum flowers.  Still, I don’t like using it.  Not good results yet.  Luckily lice in cattle is a winter problem, so it’s just about over.  Now I know in the fall to give the cattle a good delousing with whatever natural methods I find work best.  Never stop learning, right?

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