Where to begin? Thought you would never ask. If our farm is ever to become sustainable, we are going to have to even out the cash flow here. Just can't do it with a small herd of cattle some of which mature at 2-3 years depending on the amount of rainfall the farm receives. So we are venturing where the Kings have never gone before - raising turkeys and soon some broilers. This may not seem a big deal to you but to us - "...it's a mind boggling thing..."! More details than I thought: breeds, special feeds, shelter, processing, daily care, transportation, shade, water source, protection from predators.... We have been reading, researching and talking with other producers. Now it is time to "JUST DO IT!" We placed our order for our first herd of turkeys. It's kinda like having a baby - you are never ready to bring the little one home - because that is when the fun begins! I am already imagining that we are going to have to call a couple of friends over at turkey harvest time in several weeks in the middle of the night, picking up 20-30 pounds snoozing turkeys and placing them without incident into our cattle trailer for the cool ride to turkey heaven. Yeee Haw! Can you say "What are we getting ourselves into?" Stay tuned. I am sure there is a life lesson in here somewhere! Jackie
Summer is finally here and we are taking steps to keep our poultry cool. About a week ago, I stopped at Walmart and picked up a small kiddie wading pool. I dropped it behind the pen to be in the shade during the afternoon and filled it with a little water, anchored it with a big rock for the hens to perch on and then went to the house. The next day Donald collected eggs and fed and watered the hens. He noticed one hen inside the Hen Hut laying oddly. He picked her up - she was alive barely. Looked like a case of heat stroke. Her eyes were rolled back and she was limp. Looks like she had been on the bottom of the football pile. Donald placed her by the door for the breeze but that did not revive her. He took her to the kiddie pool and placed her in it but all she would do is float. Donald supported her and poured cool water on her back and under her wings. After several minutes, her eyes returned to normal and she ruffled her feathers to shake off the water as if to say - "Enough already!". She was able to support herself in the pool. He left her in the pool for about 20 minutes while he perormed some other chores. When he returned, she had hopped out of the pool, was walking - but she was a little shakey. The next day she was her normal self. Lesson learned - take off the winter wind blocker from the hut to allow a cool breeze from all sides. We did and the hens have been happy since. - Next project: solar powered water mister!
We take turns writing about our experiences on the farm which teach us life lessons and expand our understanding of the universe. Enjoy.