Saturday, May 22, 2010
This friendly little guy lives near the chicken coop...he has struck up a mutually cautious relationship with the chickens. The garter snakes are not poisonous and are very common in Vermont, but I did witness the snake go into full strike mode and actually strike out at the chickens the first time they saw him. Chickens, being naturally curious and sure that anything small that moves must be food, walked cautiously over to check him out. He coiled up as you see here and held that position until all chickens were done and made a few warning strikes. The chickens for their part, not being the brightest animals in the kingdom, knew enough to leave him alone!
The chicks are now fully feathered and moved to the main coop to finish growing out to pullets. Plymouth Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds with a Black Star thrown in for good luck! Cooler Vermont weather requires them to be well heated until their feathers come in, but now, a 5 weeks of age, they are almost ready to withstand the cool nights we still have this spring. Of course, capturing 46 flappering chirpering birds was no small task. But, a few lost feathers and about 45 minutes of my time and the birds were all settling in to their new home!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
This year we have decided to raise 4 piglets. Our pork from last year was so tasty that we have several people who would like to purchase pork this fall.
We've decided to try a heritage breed of pigs called Tamworth, which is one of the oldest, and therefore, most primitive breeds hailing from across the pond in England. We'll also be raising two mixed breed pigs, which are more domesticated and tend to grow faster. All four pigs will be raised on pasture and woodland areas where they enhance their diet significantly with plant matter, bugs, grubs, worms and what ever else they root up from the top layers of the soil which palatable to these omnivores.
Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Barred Rock chicks have arrived and are thriving in the chick brooder which was custom crafted by Vanessa. They are now 2.5 weeks old and are feathering out nicely. We have had a 100% survival rate and are pleased to see them doing so well. Four were sold at a couple of days and the remaining 46 chicks will consume a gallon of water per day and a couple of pounds of crumbles. The grow quickly and soon will be moved into the main coop as the adult flock is moved onto pasture.