We are hunkered down in the cold. In fact I am, perhaps, too hunkered…as in too hunkered in front of Minecraft. But that’s how it is. And I’m not the only one.
Dad put plastic around the chicken house. These old biddies shouldn’t even be alive at this point. There are 50 birds left laying maybe a dozen eggs each day and they all need to go to the stew pot. At this point we’ll probably just butcher them with the broilers in April. Anyway, they are toasty and warm sitting inside their shelter. They come out to eat, drink and to lay eggs. Otherwise, they are on their roosts.
The cows are in a similar situation. We have been adding and adding to their bedding day by day. While they are out eating I stay busy adding bedding. I want them to be clean and warm. I also want to capture the nutrients as effectively as I can so I can apply them to my pastures in the summer. I think we paid $1.50 for the straw so each day they are in the barn costs me $4.50 in bedding. The fertilizer we are collecting is worth many times that amount. Plus the savings of labor and the health and comfort of my cows in the cold weather has value. The jerseys, specifically, are not as cold-hearty as one might like but the shorthorns don’t seem to mind the cold.
Matron has wrote a nice post about deep bedding recently. I don’t have much to add except to say that we do the same thing in our greenhouse for the main layer flock. The bedding in the greenhouse is so deep we really just add water and feed at this point then collect the eggs. The living mass of bedding seems to be assimilating everything that falls on it and is releasing no odor. Pretty cool. No picture though.
Egg production is increasing rapidly now. It’s a little scary in the fall to see egg production drop and know customers are going to be disappointed. Now we have to gear back up, hoping those old customers will be interested again. Ugh. So hard.
So we carry hay. We shake out bedding. We fill water. We carry feed sacks. We gather, wash and pack eggs. This week we put chicks in the brooder so we spend a fair amount of energy making sure those babies are warm and well fed. But otherwise we just try to stay warm. It’s so cold the kids aren’t even sledding…much. Good times though. It’s going to get really busy soon. Rest while we can.
This weekend I’ll rest by parking my tookus on the couch with a small stack of books and I’ll tell you all about it on Sunday.
Hope you are staying warm.