Tuesday, February 27, 2007

We Have Our Turkeys!

Finally, we have our heritage breed turkeys! We have been looking for quite some time for a breeding pair of turkeys and I hooked up with Judy Fitzsimmons. She has quite a few heritage breeds of livestock and had a pair of Broadbreasted Bronze Turkeys. The added bonus was the fact that the hen is broody! We are very excited to have this pair of birds and hopefully, we will have some chicks this spring. We haven't seen any breeding activity yet, but it is still early. I do plan to build them a separate coop along with adjacent yards. We will try to produce a small amount of turkeys for friends and family and see where it goes from there.
These birds are very interesting to watch. They are quite close to their wild cousins in the way that they behave and are exactly the opposite of their reputation of being "stupid". They are extremely aware and have a complex behaviour of displays and verbal communication. The Tom is funny because with every loud and sudden noise, you get an immediate return "gobble" from the pen. Also, he is still quite possessive over his hen and whenever someone approaches the pen, he fans out his tail feathers and puffs out his body. They also have a whole bunch of different clucks, purrs and squacks that mean different things.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Prudence was enjoying a nice mid-afternoon snack yesterday when I snapped a photo of her. It is funny how the picture turned out because it looks as though we caught her with a mouth full of food and she is saying "what are you lookin at?".
The sun is finally moving higher and higher in the sky. Actually, it has been doing that since December 21st, but now you can actually feel the difference in the amount of heat it gives off. The days are longer too! This is the time of year where the anticipation of spring is just starting to appear in my mind. The animals are spending more time outside of their shelters and soaking up as much sun as they possibly can. The slowly melting snow is revealing little morsels of food that were covered early in the winter and the pigs spend a good portion of their day out rooting up the snow in the pasture now. It is good to see them enjoying the outdoors once more.

A Full Load

I made a couple trips to Vince's place over the weekend. He had a fairly large pile of small, square alfalfa bales that a helper didn't tarp very well. Some rain and melted snow got through the improperly fastened tarps and rotted the sisel twine holding the bales together. Some of the bales were ruined, but more importantly, a good portion of the bales had broken apart. Vince took as many bales as he could that had held together and sold them to folks who had to travel some distance to pick up the hay. The rest of the broken ones, he gave to me. We decided to just stuff as much hay as we could into the horse trailer. It has worked well so far and we are almost complete cleaning up the pile...one, maybe two more loads to go. It is great hay too. Very rich with Alfalfa leaves and quite green. The sheep, cows and pigs are loving it.

Horse Trailer Full...

Unloading the loose, broken bales of alfalfa hay.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Haulin Feed

This past weekend I hauled a little over 6000 pounds of Rye screenings and flax from my friend Vince's farm about 3/4 of an hour away near the town of Thorsby. With all the snow we have had, it was quite an expedition. We had to tow the forklift from the shop to the storage building. Then we had a bunch of logistics to get to the different pallets of feed that we needed to access. All told, it took me about 3 hours to bring home the feed. This latest batch of feed will last me well into Spring for the pigs and laying hens. The cows and sheep don't get grain at all in their diet so we just need to keep enough hay for them to last until the grass greens-up in late April/early May. I will need to haul some more hay next weekend. Vince has a big pile of really nice hay but the strings were bad and most of the bales broke apart. I will take the horse trailer and stuff it full of as much hay as I can. I'll take some pictures of that next weekend. All in all, things around the farm are still very static...daily chores are about all that we are up to right now.