Friday, April 29, 2011

AWA Poultry MPU

Progress on the Animal Welfare Approved poultry mobile processing unit (MPU) is coming along, though more slowly than anticipated.  In late April my dad came up to visit Jasper and the rest of us, and he and Ozark provided the entertainment while a neighbor and friend of the farm Hugh Hansen and I worked on cutting the metal pieces to weld onto the trailer.  Prior to this weekend of work, another neighbor and professional welder Jeff Collier worked on getting the trailer's fundamentals sound and worthy of the road.  We're hoping the MPU will be ready and available for rent by September. 


On April 27th, Andy Roddick and I traded two Red Wattle gilts for six theaves, or gimmers, i.e., female sheep before their first lambing.  While we tried the exchange a few weeks prior, the day I showed up to get them a lamb had been born just that morning.  Andy thus kindly brought them to Ecotone, where they seemed to settle in with Lila quite nicely.
Now that the pastures have come under some semblance of control, the sheep fit into our rotational grazing program almost seamlessly.  They move ahead of the laying hens by about four days, eating the grass, trampling it down, and distributing manure across the pasture. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Egg Count 3

The Egg Count for March stands at 416.61 dozen, or 4,999 eggs.  The decline in numbers from February is due to me turning down their winter lights as we're spinning toward the spring sun, following the heliotrope inversely, and with contrary consequences.  At the beginning of the month, however, I also sold roughly 55 hens to local homesteaders as the price of grain continued to rise.
In March the hens of Ecotone ate 1,950 pounds of grain, or 2.03 pounds per hen per day.  This number is abnormally high because of the changing number of hens in the flock, and my inability to track (at this point) two dynamic numbers at once.  Interestingly, during this month the price of grain dropped slightly before again assuming its random upward walk.