Yesterday didn’t go exactly as planned

I headed out to Hickory (late!) and met three ladies to deliver eggs and meat.  Normally, I drive into downtown Hickory to make another delivery, but once I got there, I realized I miscalculated and didn’t bring her products so I need to go back today.  Bummer!

I was going to go to Wal-Mart (agh!) to pick up paper products, but elected to go straight home.  My landlady called and asked if I’d be interested in 18 Cornish X chicks.  They had to be taken out of their house to do a test on a new type of litter and couldn’t be put back in the house.  I told her yes and connected with the poultry farmer (I think the term “farmer” when it comes to chicken factory farms is not accurate, they need a title other than “farmer” because I don’t call what they do “farming”).  He’s not far from me.  I was told the chicks were about five weeks old and some of them weighed a pound already.

I have pretty much decided to not try to grow Cornish X meat birds.  They breeding and genetics behind them disgust me.  I’ve never seen Cornish X chicks before and was not prepared for what these birds look like at five weeks old.  They are grotesque!!!  They are more than twice the size of my dual-purpose chicks and they don’t act like chicks.  They are a freak of nature science (there is nothing natural about these birds).  I probably should have refused them, but I want to see how they grow on my chick feed formulation.  I checked them early this morning and they all seem to be still alive, but it’s hard to tell, they just lay in a pile.  I don’t even know if they’ve eaten anything.  The “farmer” told me that the chicks the same age still in the house were even bigger than these.  They leave lights on them 24/7 so they’ll eat more.  At about six weeks old, they give them four hours of darkness, the rest of the time it’s lit.  Lovely, huh?  He sent me home with some of their food which I promptly threw in the trash when I got home.  Hopefully it won’t eat through the garbage bag or can for that matter!

Before I picked up the chicks, I talked at length to a farmer who raises Delaware chickens.  I was doing research on buying clubs for Rock House Farm meat and came across this farmer.  We talked for a long time.  He’s having good success with his birds.  They are free range and he’s feeding a diet that contains his own corn (non GMO), soybean meal, fish meal, etc.  I talked to him about what I was considering feeding my chicks and chickens and he told me that he remembered his parents pouring skim milk out for their chickens and pigs.  I asked him if soybeans even existed then.  He said he couldn’t remember, but that he was going to ask his father what they fed their chickens.  In addition to the chickens, this farmer has some dairy cows, some that he is milking.  We talked about letting the milk clabber, etc.  I got him thinking … eventually we’ll go out to see his chickens and other animals.

I’ve looked at the Delaware chicken before and once I get the chicks that I’m raising now grown off, I might get some.  The more research I do about raising heritage breeds of chickens over these commercial hybrids, the more convinced I become this is where I should be going.  The general public wants a big breasted chicken.  They (the general public) have huge appetites that need to be fed by big, fast-growing animals.  I posted this link to FB yesterday and the author’s statement that she believes that when we eat another living thing, plant or animal, we are eating not only its physical nutrients but its vitality as well.  There ain’t shit vital about these Cornish X birds.  Granted, maybe if they are started out on “real” food vs. the poison that they fed them in those factory farms they may not be so disgusting, but why contribute to the science behind these birds?

I spend a good hour each morning researching, reading articles, looking for content, etc. for both the Rock House Farm FB page and Spellcast Farm.  I find really fascinating information.  One article I stumbled upon had some advertisement for coconut oil which reminded me that I wanted to start adding coconut oil to my coffee in the AM.  My skin and hair has been very dry lately.  Some of the goats’ udders are dry as well.  When I go out to milk them, I’m going to mix up some rice bran with hot water to add to their grain mixture.  The organic alfalfa pellets that I feed are very, very dusty and need to be moistened before feeding them.

Heavenly is still giving me trouble on the milk stand.  I didn’t put up with it this morning.  I’m not going to spend the time to hobble her.  The minute she lifts a foot, she gets put back in the pasture.  This morning, I may not even let her come in.  Life is too short to deal with kicking goats.  If she didn’t produce such nice doe kids, I would sell her.  We’ll think of her as a brood goat.

The chickens are starting to show more interest in the alfalfa pellets that I soak in milk.  Before, when they had the option to eat laying pellets, they ignored it.  Now, when I put it out for them, they go for it.  I’ve also seen them picking at the alfalfa pellets that Gwen spits out while I’m milking her.  I need to figure out a way to keep those from going to waste.

I’m still trying to get to the bottom of diarrhea in the young rabbits.  All summer we fed the rabbits that we purchased, they were young when we bought them, maybe eight to twelve weeks old, weeds and lots of kudzu.  Perhaps I need to limit feeding or not feed at all any green matter until they are over ten weeks old.  It’s so weird.  I know some people who are feeding greens to their rabbits, but neither of them will give me the answers that I need.  They ignore my e-mails.  I know the e-mails are good because if I ask them something else, they reply, i.e. if I’m offering them something that they want.  Perhaps this information is now classified and I need to figure it out for myself.  It’s a shame people won’t work together.  Oh well.  I am going to need to start to tattoo the rabbits so I can track which ones do better than others.  I’m still thinking though that the young rabbits that we have left were alive and consuming that bad batch of food and maybe their digestive systems were somehow damaged.

Time to go and milk and then get a shower and drive to Hickory again.  I’m going to go a bit later this morning.  I about froze to death yesterday morning with no heat in Yoda.

Until later …