Thursday, May 30, 2019

Moving Birds Outside for the Summer

They're about 5 weeks old and have enough feathers to stay outside overnight without the supplemental heat they get in the brooder. I bought two of the "Homesteader's Delight" packages from McMurray Hatchery.

They'll stay in the coop all the time for about a week, enough to establish a sense of place, then I'll let them roam around during the day. I have to lock them back up at night because of raccoons, mink, weasels, foxes, and who knows what else might eat them. My dog does a fairly good job of keeping them "safe" during the day. I think, or want to believe anyway, that they'll eat ticks. In the past years I've raised guinea fowl, but they're hard to get from the hatchery in early spring. By the time they're big enough to eat bugs the summer is almost over.

In the fall I'll slaughter and freeze the birds, giving them to friends and family.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Oats and Red Clover Are Out of the Ground

You can’t see the clover, but it’s there, about 1/8” high.  The oats are in rows 7.5" apart and about 4" high. 80 acres of this are planted. My tractor sprung a hydraulic leak this past Sunday, causing me to delay getting the last 15 or so acres in. I hope that in a few days things will dry out and I can finish the job.

It’s been a very cold, and wet, spring.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Planting Oats and Red Clover

I'm planting oats and red clover on 90 acres. This land is going into certified organic production, with the first cash crop, corn, harvested in the fall of 2021. The oats are a place holder, crowding out any early flushes of weeds, which gives the red clover a chance to get established. The clover will be mowed, to kill any weeds that make it through the oats, at least once this summer. The clover will return next year, fixing additional nitrogen from the atmosphere that is needed for a healthy corn crop.

The John Deere model 750 no-till grain drill holds about 1500 lbs of oat seeds in the main hopper and roughly 120 lbs of clover seed in the small seed box. I'm putting about 57 lbs of oats and 10 lbs of clover on each acre.

(click on any image to make it bigger)