With the daunting task of moving (mostly) out of the way, our attention has turned to spring projects! The countdown to the new season has started and thus comes the urgency of setting up shelters and water lines.
We have a batch of Berkshire pigs arriving next week, so our first priority is to set up their spot in the barn. These little 8 week old pigs will start out in a comfy, strawed area in the barn where they can learn how to use their feeders and waterers as well as get 'hot-wire trained'. Since we use hot-wire to section off paddocks in the woods and pasture, they have to learn by experience that touching the wire is not something they enjoy. Don't worry, the shock is not painful (we know from experience), it's just uncomfortable enough to encourage the pigs to stay in their paddock and not break out to go exploring.
Our fall pigs respecting the wire even though they'd love to rub up against their dear friends on the other side of said wire.
After a few weeks learning the ropes, we'll move the pigs out to the wooded areas of the farm where they can root to their hearts desire, helping us clear the underbrush in the process.
Pigs - you've got a job ahead of you now!
Another important project that lies ahead will be constructing our brooder. We get our chicks when they are a day old and far too delicate to be outside in the elements. They spend their first two weeks in the brooder equipped with heat lamps to keep them warm and toasty until they grow all their feathers and are ready for the pasture. We are still figuring out our brooder plans, but considering our first batch of chicks will arrive in April, this is high on the to-do list!
Another spring project will be running our water line through the pasture and woods. Since our animals are constantly on the move, we have to be able to get water to every corner of the field & woods. We do this by running a very long mainline which is equipped with valve stations that we can attach water hoses to, allowing us to reach every section of the pasture.
Meanwhile we've started clearing many a blackberry around the orchard and barns. For some reason I have a weird love of hacking blackberries. There is something so fulfilling about the immediate gratification of seeing those suckers gone. I love berries as much as the next gal, but not when they are literally engulfing the property. Here is a before (from back in Feb) + after from yesterday's efforts.
So that's how we've been spending these lovely spring days!