I haven’t been willing to stray from or change anything we learned from Joel Salatin. I found it to be risky and mostly to the detriment of the animals (safety) and workers (efficiency). Until now. Innovation usually comes to me in the middle of the night. The bad news I wake up at 3:15 and realize the mouth guard I use to stop the GRINDING down of my teeth has been worn thin. The good news is I usually have a solution to the problem at hand within the hour. Just laying there giving my brain a moment to speak -it is quite surprising and I count on it.

Two nights ago it was all about the bigger meat chickens. This time of year we are low on green grass. We put in lots of garden vegetables to compensate. But the 6 to 10 week old chickens just seem, well, bored. It is nice out and they are big enough to not get picked up by a hawk so I tried an experiment. We propped up one end of the chicken tractor so they could walk out on the pasture and graze on bugs and plants. It worked. They come out in the am and graze around. They go in for shade if it is too warm. At night they go in on their own for protection. Seems to be working well. We still move the tractor each day to allow pooh to concentrate only one day in any given patch. Everything else seems to be working fine. Chickens seem to be happy. So we have extended the privilege to the rest of the birds that are big enough to not be prey to a hawk. So far so good.

There was one little glitch. I also thought that if I put a batch of 3 weeks olds next to a batch of 8 week olds that they might blend in well enough to be safe. The attack was not from hawks or crows, it was from the 8 week old birds. Apparently they are not interested in sharing pasture with their fellow siblings. They peck at them, drawing blood. Fortunately no one was around to see my reaction. I jumped yelling “Stop it. What are you crazy? Get away. Leave him alone. Have you lost your mind? You don’t bite other chickens”.
Realizing later that this sounded just like talking to a child. I did look around to see if anyone was laughing (that happens a lot). And I still am the boss and get to make the decisions. So there.

Come and visit…
Your Farmer,
Tara Smith