Whoops, I was going to post here more often! The last month has been a busy, happy blur. I moved the first batch of 140 broilers out of the shed and on to pasture early this morning. It is so much easier to handle birds during darkness-either very late or very early. No chasing, no stressful capture, just sleepy birds (and sleepy me!) They are out in their pasture pens now. I lost 9 birds in the brooder: 2 to leg problems and the other 7 to ? I am not at all happy about that mortality rate, but it was very cold (30’s) their first few days and I am sure some of those 7 deaths were caused by cold birds piling on top of each other. I also see that I have some coccidia issues as evidenced by some droppings with red mucous. The chicks were in the brooder too long! (3 1/2 weeks) It got crowded and I had wet bedding which allows the coccidia oocysts to sporulate more quickly. The stress of moving will make things worse for a while but getting them on pasture will be the biggest benefit.
We have 9 little dairy heifers grazing at our place now, more to come. They will hang out here all summer eating, fertilizing, and growing until they go back to the dairy in the fall. No piglets for a while but I am tilling and planting their pasture in advance of their July arrival. I hope to have nice stands of peas/oats/turnip/rape for them to hog down.
I have broken a gardening vow already. I told my self that last fall would be the last time i used the rototiller on my vegetable garden. Liar! The broad fork is a wonderful tool, but I couldn’t keep up with the sudden warm and wet spring. The first 4 rows were broadforked and planted, but the rest of the garden was rapidly filling with baby lambsquarters and quack. I was getting discouraged. Rototiller to the rescue. Next year maybe I will make it. I am putting down cardboard + moldy hay in between the wide beds, I will continue to layer on the mulch material on the pathways, which means their will be less area to weed. I am realizing that I am a bit or maybe a lot OCD (thanks mom). I don’t function well with big messy things (like my kitchen)(or my garden) but if I can establish a bit (or a lot) of order I will happily work all day down the (neatly mulched) garden row.
The orchard almost has a fence to keep out the deer. We got all the posts in and wire up except for the last 15 feet. Uh oh, miscalculation. Just another unfinished project. I did get my blueberry and raspberry plants in and mulched. They go all the way around the perimeter of the orchard. I placed soaker hoses under the mulch with the idea that we would use the rainwater tanks to irrigate the berries.
I **promise** to post some pictures once we have a bit of sunshine, but I think we are in for a couple dreary rainy days.
Today I have to play housewife, dishes to wash (like ALL of them- our dishwasher is broken), toilets to scrub, groceries to procure. GRRR… I would much rather clean out the chicken coop.