July has been kind to us so far. We've been enjoying these cooler, cloudier days and were overjoyed at the rain we received recently. While others may be bummed that their summer hasn't been hot and sunny every day, these farmers are loving it! As I was building cow paddocks the other afternoon I thought to myself how much working in the heat takes a toll on us, both physically and mentally. It's also tough on the animals, particularly the meat birds who are simply not well suited for very hot days followed by large day-to-night temperature swings. I'm sure we have more hot spells to come, but so far I'm thankful for a cooler summer that last year's.
The newest development on our farm has been the addition of a new team member. As we've grown, we've come to need another pair of hands and we were lucky to find Jason through the help of the Friends of Family Farmers job posting site. Jason has experience from another pasture-based livestock farm so he has been able to hit the ground running, helping with chores, animal moves and projects around the farm. If you see Jason around the farm be sure to say hi!
With the additional manpower, we've been able to increase the intensity of our grazing program - going from cow moves every 2-3 days to daily moves. Now, we are taking it to the next level and experimenting with a high-density, mob stocking approach. We are optimistic that this approach will help us tackle the weeds in our pasture and increase the water holding capacity of our land - critical for our dry, Oregon summers. I'll report back later on our findings!
This week we picked up batch 8 of 12 of our broiler chicks. It's hard to believe we are more than halfway through our chick brooding for the season and a third of the way through the processing. Be sure to put in your bulk orders for chickens so you can enjoy pasture-raised chicken through the winter.
Speaking of chickens, we have poultry coming out our ears this time of year. Every other week we get 250 new chicks which means at any given time we have about 1000 broiler chickens on the farm of various ages. In addition we have our flock of egg laying chickens in the field as well as 100 pullets (young female chickens) in the brooder, growing and getting ready to provide the next generation of eggs. Next month we'll get our turkey poults to grow out for Thanksgiving!
It's a busy but fun time on the farm!