Thursday, October 26, 2006

morning chores

i am the manual manure spreader at the pile of omelays. each morning i collect the four to seven shovels full of dung (whatever is available). i heap them in one of three compost bins and dutifully cultivate them into the garden after a bit of fermenting. lately the wood stove has been adding another dimension to the concoction. i see it as nutrition for the food that we eat. making the compost makes me feel closer to the beginning of the process.

the broiler chickens are eating twenty five pounds of food every three days. i fill their feeders each morning and refill their water. most of the kinks of the watering system are worked out. i haven't had to do anything except re-fill their water in weeks. no disassembling and cleaning intricate parts or parched chickens every time i check on them.

the cows require grain and attention each morning. they especially like the dried beet pulp. we stopped milking since anatoly but nimue is still making milk and needs nourishment. the laying chickens love it when i feed the cows because there is always plenty of grain for them to snatch. feeding time is always a high energy moment, almost frantic.

i feel a real connection with the earth living this way. the circle of life is very apparent. fulfillment comes from the smallest things--from the beets we grew to the chickens we raised and slaughtered. simply eating dinner has many levels of fulfillment.

10 comments:

Danielle said...

Yikes, on the amount of chicken feed! I thought 80 lbs a month was bad when we were feeding our chickens. Do you have a good priced supplier? Good news is soon, you won't have to feed them, they'll be feeding you! :o)

sugarcreekfarm said...

"simply eating dinner has many levels of fulfillment."

Amen. I love dinnertime when the kids say excitedly, "Is this ours?"

toraji said...

"i feel a real connection with the earth living this way. the circle of life is very apparent. fulfillment comes from the smallest things--from the beets we grew to the chickens we raised and slaughtered. simply eating dinner has many levels of fulfillment."

Bravo! I totally hear you. Thanksgiving dinner is going to be wonderful this year for all us farm foodie folks. :)

karl said...

danielle,

we buy 400 pounds min at a time of pig food. it is slightly lower protein than most chicken food. we supplement with milk and eggs mixed into a paste. that is the special once per day treat. 400 pounds cost around eighty dollars. that feeds a batch of broilers with enough to spare for the hens. the hens also eat this mix which makes them crave protein hence they are fierce bug eaters. during the winter we supplement a little extra protein.

sugarcreekfarm

it is funny how having the kids involved makes them more adventurous to eat what we have worked for.

toraji,

thanks, we are so blessed.

karl said...

oops,

that is 80 dollars for a thousand pounds. 32 dollars for the 400 pounds. so we roughly spend 35 dollars to feed 25 chickens and about the same for the birds themselves. the birds dress out at around 9 pounds on average. that is 225 pounds of birds for 70 dollars. i think that works out to 31 cents a pound for organic free-range tasty chicken.

Danielle said...

Not a bad deal at all!!! I want details when it comes to the slaughter. I'd like to know how long it takes you with your neighbor and if you pluck them all and how it goes down...if you have to time to tell, that is. We've only ever killed 7 at a time.

Danielle said...

Love your blog Karl—and congratulations to you all on your newest addition!

I'd love to hear more about the cows—I'll have to search your blog to see if there are more posts.

My dh has a post on his blog Adventures in Farming (part of the Homesteadin' Unschoolers Blogring) about our chicken processing experience: 19 in one day.

It wasn't too bad, and if we'd gotten an earlier start, it would've been quite doable, I think.

We raise Dorkings rather than broiler crosses—I like the heritage breeds—though we may try a batch of broilers in the spring for comparison. I'm also interested in the label rouge method and breed crosses.

Danielle said...

Oooops, just realized that my post simply says "Danielle" as well—I guess I should've specified that I'm a different "Danielle" of Touch the Earth Farm.

karl said...

label rouge

ten square meters of free range per bird? did i read that right?

Danielle said...

I don't know about square meters, but this is the requirement according to a page at ATTRA:

"All birds have access to the outdoors from 9 a.m. until dusk after 6 weeks of age, and must be outside for at least 42 days of grow-out. Range requirements are 22 sq. ft. per bird. About 2 acres of land are needed per house. 1.2 ft. of pophole exits are required per 100 sq. ft. of building."

This is if I'm considering selling. The methods can be adapted for family meat, but certification process seems silly just for that. The birds are supposed to be tasty though.

We also have dairy goats, and I understand milk-fed meat is supposed to be really good, too.

We're still exploring our options at this point.

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