Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I didn't forget about the blog, I promise!  We've been pretty busy working when we can to get ready for the winter lay-off (Keith says "pretty busy" is a VAST understatement--which is super true).  This is just a quick update and I'll try to get some recipes posted when I get a little more time!

The days are getting cloudier and cooler, and the nights are getting MUCH colder!  Our greens are suffering a little bit with the lack of sunshine to spur on good green growth, but they're still trudging along.  Our lettuce is growing slowly (mostly because of a series of mishaps that allowed the chickens to ravage it with scratching and digging), the pak choi is gone, the spinach has temporarily stalled but will grow more with this weekend's warmer weather, and even the kale and arugula has began to slow down.

Tomorrow we are being inspected to get licensed to sell our chickens to retail!  We have a handful of interested restaurants that I'm really excited about partnering with--one of which is known for extremely high-quality foods.  Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well for us!

As for the meat birds, we're not 100% on when they'll be processed, but it will be soon.  We've decided that we're shooting ourselves in the foot trying to get them to grow out in this cold weather.  The colder it gets, the more stress they're put under, and the more stress they're under leads to extreme inefficiencies in feed conversion.  They'll be small, but still delicious!  Unfortunately, due to a), my number crunching and b), higher feed costs, we will have to charge more per pound for them in order to keep our pastured poultry endeavour feasible.  Currently, we are going through 60lbs. of feed per day--or about 25$/day in feed.  You can see how the costs quickly blow up!  We're researching ways to decrease our feed costs for next spring, but it looks like they're about as low as they're going to be just because we're raising heritage breed birds and not grain-guzzling, explosive growth spurt fat machines.

 Our layers are slowing waaaay down--eight eggs a day (on a good day!) from thirty birds.  Our baby hens will start laying in mid-December, which will help a lot!  Costs for eggs will stay the same ($3.00/dozen).

We're also looking at equipment (GOF is all growed up!) that will help us increase our yields and decrease our labour next year.  The only thing that's really tying us up is how to efficiently deliver water to our entire three acres.  What a headache that will be!

See you next week (or post--whichever comes first)!

- Keith & Sierra
     (and gimpy Dexter and Oliver!)