Monday, June 13, 2011

stunt chicken, don't try this at home

Beginning in early April, when the weather is still cold, rainy and just plain icky, we take delivery of 200 chicken peepers every other week until early September. We do our best to keep all of them alive until we are ready to take them to market..with limited success. April was when Homer pulled his back out, and I did duty as farmer and farmers wife for about a week. That included a delivery of peepers day..so I cleared out the brooder, put down fresh paper with feed on top (they learn to eat feed and not the litter that lines their new home), plenty of water, chick grit and when the post office delivered the 2 boxes, I put the peepers into the brooder, and then went to do other chores. Homer walked around that afternoon, and discovered that the brooder temperature had gone up beyond what the birds could withstand. It was a 90+ degree day, and the afternoon sun along with the hoophouse doors closed resulted in massive chick losses. His back got better, and I'm back to being the farmers wife.

Early spring also means very cold temperatures along with torrential rains. 2 weeks in the brooder and then out to their moveable pens means we lose some with the temperature flucuations on the cold side too. That happened this spring as well.

So every day Homer rolls the pens to a new spot. Just the length of the pen, but it offers clean grass to eat, and leaves waste behind. The grass grows like crazy as a result of all the fertilizer, and the cows get fat eating that. Here is Homer making the move. No animals were harmed in the filming of this video, the one that rolls out of the back of the pen was happy to rejoin the other chickens..after the geese went after him! As you can see, Homer is not really alone out there..the dog, the geese and many times the ducks are right there with him, watching everything he does.

video
So if you find us a little light on birds for the next few weeks you know why. My bad. And the farmers too. The weather wins, we will adjust what we do next spring..at minimum propping those dorrs open on hot afternoons!

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