The freezers are full of the first batch of Cornish Cross chicken, and the second batch is enjoying life on the pasture. There are 30 birds in this group (there were 70 in the first one), and it's a world of difference - no odor, birds are much cleaner, only need to feed and water them 1-2 times a day instead of at least 3, and they just seem happier too. Imagine that - density matters in livestock production ;)
The Broad-Breasted White turkeys are ready for harvesting, but we're waiting to do them with the next batch of Cornish Cross (we'll do the dual-purpose boys from the Speckled Sussex & Easter Egger group too). The BBW are getting HUGE!
We were letting them free-range, but we lost one to a pair of hawks (how the hell they carried/dragged that thing away is beyond me, but Dave caught them in the act of eating the poor bird). I really love these turkeys though! They're so friendly, they'll follow me around, they're not scared of me (I can walk right up to them without startling them), and they make the most hilarious noises - I hadn't heard a real "gobble" before, but they really do "gobble!" *love* I'm seriously considering keeping a breeding trio of the Bourbon Red turkeys and then hatching my own babies next year. ... Don't tell Dave.
Speaking of the Bourbon Reds - they're fiesty! We had to move them to a different stall in the barn and put poultry netting from the top of the stall walls to the ceiling because they were flying out of the stall and flying out of the windows! We lost one of them to free-ranging too, but they're secure now. They miss their freedom though and all pile in to roost at the window:
The replacement layers of Speckled Sussex & Easter Eggers are getting big too! The boys are now practicing their crow (they're in the strangled giraffe/drowning howler monkey stage), and I definitely have 6 SS girls and 2 EE girls to add to my flock. I'm going to keep 1 boy of each breed too. Next year instead of buying Cornish Cross, I'm going to breed and hatch SS, EE, and Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte babies. We'll harvest the boys, keep and/or sell the pullets, and maybe sell hatching eggs or day old chicks too if I've got enough extras. At least that's the plan right now... we're also considering putting farming on hold for a year and using our dollars and time to go on a super awesome vacation instead... Anyhoo, here's a pretty EE teenager:
In other news, my layers are brats. I'm finding eggs all over the place - in the barn, in the pasture, in the woods next to the coop, under the porch, in Snyder's mouth (that creature finds the eggs in the woods, carries them to the door of the house, lays down, and licks them - they don't even break open! And they say pit bulls are vicious biters, ha!) I'm only actually getting about 6 eggs a day in the nest boxes of the coop - I have 13 hens. *not impressed* But I still like them - I even give them watermelon that I forgot I left in my car for 2 days in the heat:
That's Penny on the left - she's Sasquatch (Cochin) and Emmy's (Phoenix) baby from last year. And that's a pure Cochin, Buffy, on the right. So round and fluffy! The flock ate those watermelon bits down to the rind - like, sliver-thin rind. It's amazing how little you throw in the trash when you have creatures around.
Jen & Dave Paul, owners & operators of Old Post Farm