The meat chickens moved outside to their hoop house tractor on Saturday:
I put a tarp over the top too, so they're protected from the rain and shaded from the hot sun. They seem pretty happy out there though! I know I'm happier - the barn was starting to stink! Supposedly if you put enough carbon (pine shavings in our case) under them, their manure won't stink because of science or something ;) But I put a lot of dollars worth of pine shavings under them twice a day, rotated them twice a day, and it still stank to high heaven in there! They're seriously poop machines!
It certainly doesn't help that we ended up with 76 of them in this first batch - 31 (out of 75) survived the original shipment disaster, so we almost doubled the amount we were planning on keeping (the rest went to friends). Future batches are just 30 chicks each, and that will definitely help with the odor issue!
The future-layer chicks and the baby turkeys are still inside the barn:
The turkeys are getting huge! They'll be ready to go outside in another week or two. The layers are still so tiny and fluffy - I'm guessing it could be another month before they're ready to brave the weather. One of the turkeys is having an identity crisis - every time I go into the barn, I find him/her in the layer chick stall. They share a half-wall between their stalls, and this little guy seems to prefer being a chicken. Maybe he knows his fate is not as sweet as theirs...
In other news, we made a lot of progress on the garden on Saturday before I came down with the plague on Sunday! We laid down soaker hose and landscape fabric, put in the wire cages, and planted 2 varieties of peas and 2 varieties of cucumbers. We also transplanted the tomatoes - all 11 varieties. I know, it's too early to move tomatoes outside in Vermont, and we're taking a risk there, but I started them too early inside (thinking that our lack of winter would lead to a ridiculously early spring), so they were just too big. They needed to go in the ground. And our window box salad is doing marvelously. Oh oh oh!!! Asparagus!!! I harvested our first asparagus yesterday - 11 delicious stalks :) Hooray for spring!
Jen & Dave Paul, owners & operators of Old Post Farm