It never ceases to amazing me how the farming culture never throws anything away…ever. You would think that would turn them into hoarders, but they rarely buy anything, so it all works out. So when Knut was going to work on seeding our new pasture just in front of our house (we’re taking back a portion of our farmland and turning it into pasture for some grass fed meat for our family), he needed to use a smaller machine than the big ol’ tractor the farm uses for planting corn and soy beans. So he brought out of the farm’s machinery shed his grandpa’s old Ford tractor. He had to bring his dad into the picture (a skilled mechanic) to get the thing running well enough to seed our little spot of land. His dad has also been gracious enough to plant a bunch of pasture grass seed in a portion of land surrounding his house. Our grass will be used to graze our animals, and his grass will be bailed up for wintertime use.
The problem right now is that the cost of buying a calf has nearly tripled in the last 3 years. So while this project that has been in the works for a few years is finally starting to get traction, we sorta had to choose between buying all the grass seed or buying a calf. (Well, Knut has his ears open for maybe the runt of some twins born, maybe needing to be gotten rid of on a big farm.) Since a pasture without a calf seemed easier than a calf without pasture, we decided to do at least that this year, and pray for a good harvest. Maybe I can talk Knut into a few dairy goats. They’re cheaper.
The hens shown above are ones that follow me around quite often. The fluffy one is the top of our coops pecking order. She’s always curious as to what I’m doing, and is as bold as can be. The hen following her around is our poor “Princess.” That’s the name I give to whichever bird is at the bottom of the pecking order…to build her self-esteem. I need to get some apple cider vinegar on that neck of hers. The other hens see her has weak, and peck her neck whenever given the chance. In the past, we’ve found that apple cider vinegar hastens the neck healing, and gives the other hens a beak-ful of yuck when they try to peck her. I’ve just had the worst time catching her to do it. She’s a quick one. I think Knut and I will have to corner her in the coop one of these evenings.
We are also experiencing our first broody hen, who is not shown. She’s been renamed “puffball” because she flares out all her feathers if any of us go near her. She hasn’t pecked any of us yet, but we have to remove her from the eggs every day. She is very skilled in holding at least one egg strongly with her legs, so that when I lift her off the nest to get the eggs, I have to look under her because she’s always keeping at least one away from me with her feet.
This week we moved our chicks outdoors, so the closed in brooder is free. Today I’ll be moving Puffball into the brooder for a timeout for the week. We’ve never had to do that before. She has motherhood on the brain and needs some time without eggs to sit on so she can settle down. I’m actually not upset that we have a broody hen, because now I know that if the kids want to hatch eggs, we’ll have a good mother on hand to take care of them. Not that I plan on getting a rooster. I haven’t met a single rooster I’ve liked…ever. So this is just all dream talking.
(Oh, and that’s asparagus finally coming up in the first pictures. It’s about time!!)