Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chicken days...

It's a hard post to write about romantically, and pictures just aren't suitable, but this is a blog about our life and we do live on a farm. So since it's summer, we are in the midst of, shall we say-priming the domestic fowl to transform into exquisite dining finery.

Kaleb has been working non stop from the wee hours of morn until long past the sun has set. This is our first year to ever do the actual processing ourselves and with our own equipment, so definitely a big deal. Strangely enough, the kids love it.  They are great helpers, where as I'm still a bit squeamish.

We have raised broilers before, but always for other farms. In previous years we have raised them in large chicken tractors, that we move twice a day everyday, giving them a chance to scratch and peck. This year, since we were trying it ourselves, we explored a different route. Feeling as though the tractors were a good step to being healthier and better for the birds, but still not quite what we had envisioned. So with this batch, Kaleb built a nice brooder for them, that they used in their early weeks and then using net electric fencing to keep them safe, we put them out to pasture, rotating paddocks everyday. It was so nice to see them out in the fresh air, doing their thing.

We def came across quite a few kinks in our plan. We felt like we had to change things up daily as we learned what worked and what didn't. This was a big learning opportunity, as all of our farming ventures have been.  Maybe the biggest lesson of all is that we don't like raising meat chickens on a larger scale. It doesn't fit with our goals for our farm or our family. This fall we will try once more in smaller batches, and see if we find the joy again. One of the most fascinating aspects of starting this farm has been learning new tactics. Farming is sort of dying out, many who have been raised their whole lives farming, grow up and don't want to do it themselves. They see that its a lot of work, and doesn't always have a big pay out. What's exciting, is that a whole new generation is coming in, trying new things and different ways to be true to the land, with less input and hopefully more output. Plus, there is more of a demand for good organic food, that has been raised humanely. It's slowly changing, going back to that romance for the land and the animals. 

I love being involved though, trying it out, exploring different avenues. Knowing where our food comes from and how it was raised is a nice feeling. I like having a hand in what I eat, and knowing I'm feeding myself and the littles something good. I like that the kids understand that we are trying to give our animals the best possible and in return they will benefit and strengthen our bodies. And honestly, I like when they see us struggle. I hope they will see that we keep trying and learning, and trying again.

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