Archive for September, 2013

Tragic Loss (Warning, graphic photo at bottom)

We are now seeking balance in our farm model. For so long we had little to no problems with predators and now it’s as if war has been declared. I had decided that allowing the broiler chickens to have free access to the pasture was best. We provided shelter and fenced them in with electric netting. After we moved out most recent batch out to the pasture, The hawks found an easy buffet. At first we didn’t know they were being preyed upon since the hawks could fly off with these small birds. We got them closed up in chicken tractors and the hawks would perch on top and just look at them. But then we started finding birds out on the pasture that apparently had been pulled out through a gap between the base of the tractor and the ground. We would also find birds dead with a leg eaten off while it was still inside or I would find birds with such grievous wounds that I would have to dispatch them. This has been a really tough year between all the chicken losses and switching to organic feed. Here’s hoping that we will see a strong finish with our last batch of birds this November.

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Free Range Chicken

Chickens in a tractor

Pastured Poultry in a tractor.

I found this one pulled halfway under the tractor.

I found this one pulled halfway under the tractor.

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The Highest Cost to Bring the Best Food To You

There is a high price to be paid to raise sustainable, nutrient dense food, long before the consumer makes their purchase. Usually it’s ONLY a farmer’s bank account, marriage, family  and livelihood that is on the line, sometimes it is his or her life.

Farming is listed as one of the most dangerous jobs there is. We can attest to this after near mishaps mostly suffered by my courageous wife, Katie. She and I both have been kicked, fallen, smacked, tripped, cut and probably will be again. She however has also been knocked over by a 700 lb cow and was attacked once by a rooster who flew into her face, cutting deep into her cheek and lip leaving scars that remind us of just how dangerous this can be. Working with animals and hand tools is dangerous enough, but the risks are exponentially higher when working with heavy equipment. Before starting the farm here, I have operated a number of machines that have the potential to maim or kill, and unfortunately I’ve witnessed some horrible mishaps.

On Labor Day, Joel Mendenhall of California died at the tender age of 30 while making repairs on a piece of equipment. Rather than rewrite the story, you can read it at the link below.

Friends of Joel Mendenhall | Palomar Mountain News.

It seems every time I turn around, a small farm is shutting down or suffering a tragic loss. My heart aches for this loss even more because of the tragedy. Joel was the father of three young girls and husband to a lovely wife. Please read some more about Joel and the work he and his family are doing at the link above.

 

Joel

The Home Dairy | The Homestead Atlanta

The sweetest milk is the milk you milk yourself. But before you take the plunge (or maybe you did already) and you start asking yourself, “Why did this happen?” or “I wish someone told me about that.” you should take our class to help you prepare for a vital component of any homestead. So get signed up and join us for an early morning discussion on all things milk cows and more. Click the link below and get signed up.

http://thehomesteadatl.com/classes/the-home-dairy/

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The Times, They are Changing.

Today we said good-bye to our faithful Dexter Keira. She now belongs to the Pohl family in Macon and will be teaching them how to milk. She is a great cow and we are so happy that she has gone to live with such a wonderful family. Choosing to keep a family milk cow is a major step towards self sufficiency and a daunting one at that. Keira’s calm demeanor and patience make her ideally suited to be the first cow a family owns, and I am so glad she was a member of our family.

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Kiera

Kiera

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