Friday, June 5, 2009

Grazy Days

We are into it now! The grass is green, the clover is blooming, and the hum of tractors can be heard across the land as farmers make some of the season's first hay. Out on the Allen Field, we have four Tamworth/Gloucestershire Old Spot boars and 130 or so meat birds. Most of the birds are Cornish Rock crosses and a small number are Rhode Island Reds -- sent to us by the hatchery as a surprise! The difference is amazing. RI Reds are considered dual purpose birds, but most people I know raise them for eggs. They should provide delicious meat, though, and are arguably a more distinguished meat breed, having slightly less brawn and way more brains than the Cornish Rocks. They went out on pasture just yesterday (at 2 weeks old) and it's fun to watch them pecking around, discovering grass, seeds, and bugs. The pigs are a riot. Three now will let us rub their bellies. In fact, one practically lay in my lap the other day as he rolled over for a belly rub. The fourth is still a little standoffish and will protest if you touch him. He is, however, slowly letting himself enjoy a little back scratch now and then. The sheep are busy mowing through the pasture.

Our goal with all this pasturing stuff is to feed these animals well and give them a high quality of life while putting some fertility (in the form of their manure) back on the land, which hasn't seen much animal action in years. We hope to see an increase in favorable pasture grasses and legumes, which would in turn be capable of feeding more livestock and result in better hay. Jonny has started mowing the fields and seemed pretty satisfied with the progress today! And in recent news, there's talk of a cow entering the East Hill scene. But I won't write about that now, because it's still all up in the air.

First batch of broilers is ready Saturday, July 11, and we would love to take your order! The birds will be processed right here in the yard by Monte Winship and they will be ready for pick-up by noon that day.

Come visit us and let a lamb nibble your finger.


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