A New Pig Yard

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on making a new space for next year’s pigs, as I want to use their current yard eventually for cattle. I dug new posts and set up the fencing so that by spring time it will be ready for new animals. We had an old horse trailer kicking around the farm not doing anything. It was well beyond repair, so I used it to make a shelter for the pigs. Now that this yard is set up we are hopefully more ready to take on the spring rush…

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Division Day

Today proved to be an ideal day to split our boys from the girls! I checked on the pigs this morning to see how they were doing, and they were fast asleep in the open barn. Funny thing was, both males were together in one pen and both females were together in another pen – perfect timing, pigs! I had been thinking that we should split them up before they get any older, and now they had already done the job for me! I then spent the rest of the day in the pouring rain making a division line that splits up the main yard in half. Took down the tall weeds, added posts & wire, hooked it up and then released the pork! They were a bit confused at their new situation, but very excited at the same time to explore their new paddock. This division line will now make it easier to rotate the animals within our yard and keep the vegetation available and fresh as they graze it down.

oink oink oink…

Big day today at Russwood! We now have our first group of Tamworth pigs! It was a very hot day for moving the piglets here, but they made it safe and sound. After unloading off the truck they immediately started a mud hole in the dirt to cool themselves down. What funny characters they are! We hope they enjoy the large paddocks we’ve made for them, munching away on all the wild grass & pasture they can eat! Stay tuned for more adventures.. I’m sure there will be with these guys 😉

the merry month of may

Things are unmistakably moving right along on our farm now that May has arrived! Seedlings are emerging after a rainfall, and the Garlic is showing some nice growth as I walked the beds today. I will need to tend to my Rye Grass experiment that I planted before winter, as it now looks to be growing at a rapid pace. I will chop it down and turn it under the dirt, hoping for what the old timers call a “green manure” The leaves and roots of Rye soak up nitrogen that will release into the soil, while also serving for a mulch to plant into. Our broiler chickens are doing well in the great outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, pasture and sunshine of the land. I also tried my hand at building a couple of Mason Bee houses in order to attract our native bee population. They are excellent pollinators! Stay tuned, Summer is around the bend… 😉

out to pasture…

Today was moving day for the Broiler Chicks…onto greener pastures outside in the custom built ranging pen.  The pen is moved twice a day so the birds always have fresh grass to roam.  The chicks are now 2 1/2 weeks old and already seeming to love exploring the grasses in the field.  It is so nice to see them outside in a more natural environment.  The only concern was today’s heat (36ºC)! I was worried about the chicks over heating but with the shade and breeze they stayed comfortable (perhaps more than we did).  Tonight as I watered the garden…again…I watched the sunset across the sky over the chicks new home and listen to them peeping away.  A nice end to an eventful day! -Julie 🙂

the chicken tractor

On the weekend we took a drive to see about something I’ve been very interested in doing – pasturing poultry. There are great and many benefits in having chickens graze on pasture, and we are going to be adopting this system this year! The chickens basically graze inside a floorless pen, which is moved around daily over new ground. They benefit from having all the fresh grass, bugs and everything else the pasture has to offer, while in turn fertilizing the areas they move over. The pen has to be lightweight for moving, with good ventilation and security from predators. After mulling it over, we decided to invest in a state of the art pen that we think offers these benefits for years to come! Here’s a pic of some of the frame panels before they are welded into the final structure:

Click here more information about pasturing poultry.