I think of all the things we had to move over to the new farm, the number one thing I was dreading was our broiler pens. As most of you know, we raise our chickens in bottomless, moveable pens. This keeps them safe from predators, while affording them the ability to do plenty of foraging. These pens have been thoughtfully engineered to be perfect for moving birds across the pasture 12 feet at a time. But moving from one farm to the next, notsomuch.
My brother and sister-in-law came down for Easter weekend, and graciously offered to help with any farm projects where we could use extra hands. So Easter morning, we started moving the pens from the top of the hill down to the bottom gate where they could be loaded up. Thankfully it didn't take too long to come up with a pretty efficient way to do so.
Another huge thank you goes to my aunt and uncle who not only loaned their flatbed but also helped us load and drive them over. I'm sure we were a sight to be seen. I felt like we got a few quizzical looks from people wondering what we were hauling.
God willing, this will be the first and last time we move these pens down the road.
In other news, we got our spring lambs on Saturday. They are now grazing alongside the cows, who have reluctantly accepted their company. Once they finish grazing down this pasture and move to their next paddock, Scott and I will move the broiler pens to this field. This practice of "stacking" is one example of how diversity beats a monoculture. The ruminants first mow down the grass to make it easier for the chickens to move through and eat. The chickens help spread out the manure and decrease fly and other pest populations, while naturally fertilizing the grass so it's even more lush and delightful for the cows & sheep next year. It mimics the natural pattern of how birds follow herding animals in the wild.
Depending on the weather, we'll put the first batch of chicks out to pasture in the next week or so. And with that, it is safe to say our season is in full swing!