During snowy, cold weather like this our young stock are tucked away in the barn. Part of our herd stays outside and does quite well. During weather like this or cold snaps we feed extra hay, which helps keep them warm, bed down the pasture shelters and the goats naturally grow a thick winter coat. I often find that our goats that live outside year round are healthier than if they were in the barn. I didn’t stay out long since I came out to check the goats and bottle feed a few babies.
Note: Our goats and guardian dogs always have access to shelter, water and food. If it gets too cold or too much snow they'll be moved into one of our barns.
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.
Signs of spring are starting to finally show. The snow is gradually melting, birds are chirping and the mud is thick. Last weekend we started tapping and collecting maple sap. Last year we didn't have any luck with such a warm and early start to spring. Yesterday, I was out checking taps and the sap is starting to run. One of our big trees, we fondly call Big Bertha, had nearly filled an 18 gallon jug with clear maple sap. Rain is forcasted for tonight and this weekend, so Scott, his dad, Don, and I will be collecting sap later today.
Don will be cooking down the sap into syrup at his place, about an hour north of us. He's been tapping trees, collecting sap and cooking it down into syrup for years. I think he's likes having access to maple trees on less hilly terrain.
I own and manage Cylon Rolling Acres in northwestern Wisconsin. On my farm I raise Boer - Kiko meat goats on pasture.
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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.