The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Clover in Bloom

June 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Posted in farming


These are high times on the farm. The grass is up to my thighs. The clover is blooming. And the livestock are grazing their fill.

One question hangs over all: Will there be enough grass in the pasture to see us through the dry times this summer?

My day begins around 5 when I try to sit down and write something in this blog. If you’ve noticed my entries getting shorter, it’s because chores beckon. For the next couple of days, we still have 50 laying chicks in the brooder who need food and water to start the day. Then it’s out to move the chicken tractors. We now have two, each with 25 Freedom Ranger broilers. I clean and refill the waterer, trot to the tool shed to fill a bucket with feed. I use a hand truck to drag the tractors into fresh grass.

Next, I walk fresh feed out to the laying hens in the orchard and open the door to their coop so they can start their day. The two female goats–Dolly and Tanner–each get a bucket with a handful of grain and some mineral supplement. I stand holding the buckets for them behind the portable electric fencing. Feeding them by hand takes a few minutes–otherwise they’d be fighting over the grain. I don’t mind standing still for them and just listening to them nibble.

With the sheep, the boy goat and the Jersey heifer all grazing the upper pasture, I use the tractor to drive breakfast to them. First I move them to a fresh patch of grass, playing hop-scotch with lengths of electric netting. Emily still gets about 1 1/2 pounds of grain morning and evening. We hope to breed her soon, and I want to make sure she’s in good condition. Tigger, the goat buckling, also gets a handful of heifer mix with some minerals from a bucket. I then offer a bowl of mineral mix to the sheep. I’d leave it with them, but they just tip the bowl over and that’s mineral mix wasted. Someday when we have a few extra bucks I’ll solve that problem.

Now it’s back to the house for breakfast, check the weather on the computer, and maybe rest a bit before starting on projects. Currently I’m building another chicken tractor–a big cage four feet wide and eight feet long–to house the new Rhode Island Reds until they’re old enough to join the flock already established. These are the replacements for those layers that we lost to the fox families back in April. We have another 25 or so Americauna layers destined for the coup I built last year in our failed attempt to house Guinea hens. Remembers those? They never returned to the coop and we never saw them again.

That’s my morning. Afternoon chores are very much the same, with lots of checking on animals in between, collecting eggs and whatnot. It keeps me very busy and the time just flies. Look, we’re into June already. Hard to believe.

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