It’s 6:30 in the morning, your phone rings, it’s the Post Office. “Umm hello, is this FoodCyclist Farm? We have your baby chickens here, please get them out of here.” Then you drive to the Post Office and see why they are annoyed. There sits several cardboard boxes of incessantly peeping little chicks. They’re super cute, super loud, and ready for a drink (of water).
When you pick the chicks up out of the box you have to dip their beaks into water to teach them how to drink. After that they know what to do. They instinctively look for food and start scratching around next.
This last batch of chicks to come in is my last for the season. As of now all the chickens on farm are the only chickens I will have for the rest of the year. We’re still about two months from the end of the chicken season but it is hard to believe it is coming fast. The rest of the farm will continue on through the rest of the winter. More on that to come!
My chicken tractors have done great this season. The birds have been really happy. Safe from the elements and predators. That doesn’t mean the predators haven’t tried to get in, but knock on wood my defenses hold.
The chicken tractor design I created has been perfect for my situation. They’re easy to move, fit in between the rows of hops for our farm brewery, and have provided proper shelter for the little cluckers.
Look at this guy, skulking around. That’s right, I took this picture. It’s a bobcat that has been stalking the birds on farm. Production has been down do to the pressure this guy, or lady, has been putting on the birds. The good news is we haven’t seen him in a week of two and things are starting to catch back up.
I took this picture too. This hawk is perched on the fence where our egg-laying chickens are. I have also see it perched in the hop yard right above my chicken tractors. We increased the number of times we check on the chickens during the day as well as yelling at the hawk (mostly just annoyed it) and like the bobcat it has been missing in action for over a week now. That makes me extremely happy! It never got into the tractors, but it certainly stressed the birds out.
Here’s my brother on farm right before Mabel was born. He came out to help me catch up when I was moving one farm to another and I needed to get some planting done. I had major plans to have a lot more herbs this year. Between the weather, the need to move locations, and having an infant, there were plenty of holes shot in that plan. While I couldn’t deliver herbs each week this summer I will have some for my CSA members in the coming weeks.
With the herbs transplanted and a lot of love they are doing well. Not the amount that I would have liked, but I have some healthy plants. CSA members were guaranteed a chicken a week for twenty weeks. So far I have been able to deliver without fail. Knock on wood everything continues to do well. The herbs were my idea for a complimentary gift as a thank you for supporting me in my first year owning a farm of my own. Happy that I will start having them for CSA pick-ups. Pictured above is sage and winter savory.
I mentioned we’re going to have more on farm this fall and winter. Farmer Brian and I have been busy breaking ground to plant crops for the end of the year and for the greenhouses. Tomatoes, green beans, beets, lettuce, spinach, and carrots to name some of them. I ran through and cultivated the beds with a hoe before we planted to make sure the veggies had a nice soft bed to grow in.
Our snap peas are getting a great start. They’re bursting out of the surface of the soil looking for that fence above them to start climbing. Since I took this picture they have gotten even bigger. Cannot wait to have fresh peas.
Add to that list mustard greens, collards, and basil. The black material is a natural decomposing fabric used to keep weeds down. Water and air can get through but weeds cannot come up. Makes it a little easier for us as we run around like crazy people getting everything done.
Brian’s dog Sade (say-dee) helps us put together sleds for the chicken coops. We had a problem that moving our chicken coops was a big ordeal. They were big and bulky and difficult to move with the equipment we have. As it is our goal to keep the chickens on fresh pasture we needed a solution.
The solution = chicken sled. To make mobile chicken coops we created a sled that the coop will sit on and be pulled by the tractor. With our wet ground wheels might have sunk in. The sled disperses the weight and they glide easily over the grass.
Getting the large coops on the sleds = not so easy. Moving them once they’re on = piece of cake. All you need is a piece of chain and a trusty old John Deere.
While there is a lot of rush to get stuff done as the days begin to get shorter it is still a very peaceful place.