It started to snow at about 5:45 this morning. It should be short lived though, as we are to be back in the 50's by next week. The cows are moving back through the paddocks toward the house one last time. They should be back here in a couple days. I am very interested to see how our broilers take to the snow. We have one batch of 50 still outside. Everything else is moving along nicely. The pigs are on new grass for a couple weeks until we send them just after Thanksgiving. They have done their job on the corn fields and are moving onto next year's corn patch. They can sure plow. Hopefully this weekend I can get a good start on the backside of the barn. I have one small roof left to put up and hope to get it before the big snows come.
Well, our new heifers are here and in the barn getting accustomed to us. They are progressing nicely. This weekend we will be processing 45 more chickens with only one batch left for November. Wednesday we moved the cattle to a new pasture, and they are eating away. I will be moving them again on Sunday to the back pastures one more time before they come up here for winter. Our grass is holding up nicely and we should be right on schedule for our winter feeds. We will begin our breeding program in November--most likely around Thanksgiving as I will be taking a course in AI so we will be able to breed on our own- without the use of an outside breeder. I am very optimistic about the direction we are going with our cattle. They have been finishing nicely for us, and they slight change in breeds should optimize our resources to be turned into forage. Our hogs are still outside rooting around and the layers are coming along nicely.
I am on my way out east tonight to pick up two bred heifers to add to our herd. I will also be attending a grazing conference while I am out there. Kit Paro of Pharo Cattle Company talk about raising cattle on grass. After the conference, I will be travelling to Tuscarora Lowlines to pick up our two newest heifers to the herd. They are percentage lowline animals meaning they are 50% lowline angus and 50% angus. We are very excited to get them home and to get their calves on the ground next year. They will help our program out tremendously.
This morning while riding the fences as I do every morning to ensure everyone is where they are supposed to be I believe I found out the answer to this question. NO. I drove up to the pig fence to make sure nothing ran through it at night and while most days the pigs are sleeping, today they were out and about. I guess they thought I had corn for them (why I am not sure as they are in the middle of the sweet corn with plenty to eat) and one curious pig decided to keep walking right through the fence. When he got out, so did the other 18. Well, 18 loose pigs at 5:30 am is fun. Luckily, they stayed close to the corn and I got some feed to coax them back. If they wanted fed, they succeeded. After counting about 7 times, I determined they were all there and put the fence back. From now on I will walk to check their fence and keep an extra bag of corn in the vehicle. Emergency rations! We are lucky to be able to work with them so often as they are not at all wild and came back in when called. At any rate, Good Morning All!
To add to the my wife's previous post, I would like to say that we do have a very docile set of pigs. Without piglets, they are attention seekers. As soon as we walk in the pasture, they all come running over looking for scratches or treats. I am never nervous around them. However, take a baby from its mother, and the situation is a little different. But now, we are back to normal.
Anyway, yesterday we processed another set of chickens and then got to unloading our winter bedding in the barn. We bed our cattle down with sawdust that we purchase from a local mill. They bring it in on a semi-trailer. The only problem is the unloading. If we had a skid steer loader, it would be easy. However, we only have shovels. We shovel it out of the ttrailer into a blower that blows it onto the barn floor upstairs. It is very convenient when it is done, because we will have the entire winter supply done. But, it is a lot of shovelling and since my son is only 3, his shovel is not so big to move lots at once. I do think he can shovel faster than his mother. Over the winter months, we just keep adding to the bedding pile. The fresh bedding eliminates smells and makes for some good fertilizer in the spring.
Our chickens and pigs will bed down with mulch hay. The pigs also like to sleep in the leftover silage that they don't eat.
In the spring, we spread it all on our corn fields and plow it under to make a great compost bed. Unfortunately, we never have enough manure to fertilize everything we need to.