Now that we’re into our second week of rotational grazing, I’ve take the time to get the Gator, my “grazing-mobile,” prepped for the season.
We rotate animals to new paddocks every 3-4 days. I like to have my go-to-supplies on hand so I’m not constantly running back to the barn or the shop for things, and then back again.
So, here’s what’s usually in my office-on-wheels:
This season I also spray painted some of the harder to find in the grass items blaze orange in the event I misplace something. I should be ready for just about anything when it comes to fence repair, waterline repair and working with my goats and guardian dogs.
It’s official. I will now be adding turkey grower to my ever-growing skills as a farmer. Yesterday I placed an order for pullets (baby turkeys) and scheduled the butchering with an area processor that’s now a USDA federally inspected facility. Talk about planning the cycle of life in just a few short minutes!
While I wait for the pullets to arrive in mid-April, I need to start getting busy for their arrival. I do have a brooder on hand. But, I’ll need to start planning their feed rations and work on a number of building projects: a portable pen for use when they just start on pasture, a portable roost shelter when they are big enough to not need their pen on pasture, a water line and feeder, both for pasture.
The pullets will be pastured-raised and supplemented with grains. However, before they are old enough to go out on pasture, they’ll live in a brooder, a baby-turkey nursery pen. Once ready, they’ll head out to pasture, living in portable pens that will be moved daily with access to fresh grass. After sometime they’ll be able to live in their own paddock (section of the pasture) without the pen.
Since I also raise meat goats, the turkeys will “follow” the goats as they are rotationally grazed. This means every few days the goats move to a new paddock. Then the turkeys will move into goat’s old paddock. This will allow the turkeys to eat grasses and other greens, and even bugs, the goats don’t eat. It also is a way to naturally distribute fertilizer in a fairly even manner throughout the pasture.
After the summer on pasture, the turkeys will be processed and ready for sale this fall, just in time for the holidays.
Now it’s time to get busy building before the little fuzzy pullets arrive.
This is a big week for our family and the farm. I’m now down to one job – managing our growing farm full time. Mother Nature also welcomed me to the job with a nice cold snap. But, I don’t mind.
We made the decision after Scott started his new job and is traveling more regularly. It just made sense to make the change, though it was a little unexpected. I was planning to move in this direction in the next 3-5 years, but the opportunity came earlier than we anticipated.
I’m excited to focus my time on building our herd and being more intentional in planning and making decisions for animal health and management, more time on planning pasture use and quality, more time building out our direct-marketing and, even more importantly, more flexibility with our family time. Up to this point I’ve been doing my best to be intentional in my decision making, but it was always done randomly every few days or weeks when my son was in bed for the night, there was a block of time or something was pressing.
Yes, there’s a common theme – more time. It’s funny, but I’m already finding there’s still not enough time. But, that’s the story of life. Now, I just feel more settled knowing that I’m making more noticeable strides in moving the farm forward.
Also gives Scott more time to focus on specific projects (that I assign) rather than trying to jam in daily chores along with traveling for work and just being a parent. But, I’ve found that he’s already started a farm project list for me. I can already see, or know for that fact, that I’ll be expanding my so-called skills, in particular in the area of machinery. Bring it on!
I own and manage Cylon Rolling Acres in northwestern Wisconsin. On my farm I raise Boer - Kiko meat goats on pasture.
Cylon (pronounced Si-lon) is the name of our township in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Sorry fans, our farm is not named after the robots of Battlestar Galactica.