The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Not Frozen

November 21st, 2014 by Ed Bruske

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Barely visible at the bottom of this tub of water is a Teflon-coated heater that keeps the water liquid in the coldest temperatures, saving us huge amounts of work and aggravation in winter and ensuring our livestock have something to drink with their hay.

It’s a small device, but it does so much to make our lives a little easier. Sometimes you have to be glad for modern technology.

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Momma, Don’t Let Your Chicks Grow Up to Be Broilers

November 20th, 2014 by Ed Bruske

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We’ve muddled through this early blast of winter here at Spy Dog Farm and thankfully without the five feet of snow that’s been dumped on some other parts of New York State. Still, our chicken broiler season can’t end soon enough.

The chickens are incredibly resilient. They aren’t fazed by temperatures that plunge to 15 degrees overnight, or the freezing wind that sometimes whistles through their cages out on the open pasture. We just supply more feed and they gobble it up, eager for the extra calories to burn.

We also keep on eye on their water, which tends to lose its liquid properties when the mercury dips. And there’s the rub. To get into their cages–and three of them are currently occupied–I have to lift a lid that’s four feet by eight feet in size. The frame is two-by-four lumber, covered with aluminum roofing material. Prop it open to with a piece of wood and you can then bend down into the cage to add feed or tend the waterer.

At the moment I am doing this several times a day, sometimes carrying the waterers into the kitchen to defrost under hot water, stashing them in the basement overnight so they don’t freeze solid.

Last year we also had broilers in the fields almost to Thanksgiving, but we didn’t have an arctic blast to contend with. And we might have avoided these issues this year, except the breeder where we purchase our chicks pushed back our delivery one week.

If the latest forecast holds, temperatures will be favorable enough to start butchering these birds over the weekend.

Farming is like Forest Gumps’ box of chocolates: You just never know what you’re going to get.

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