Spring Hasn’t Sprung

I thought March was supposed to be in like a lion and out like a lamb, not the other way around? Yesterday was technically the first day of spring. I woke up this morning to a lovely dusting of snow covering everything. I realize I haven’t been here long, but today was coldest day yet. The wind didn’t help. New York taught me how to layer efficiently. You’d be amazed at what you can fit under your jeans and sweatshirt while still maintaining a relatively normal appearance.

Thankfully there was plenty to do so we kept moving and stayed warm enough. Not warm. But warm enough. Along with the normal chores, we moved the layers (chickens) to a new pasture and caught 4 steers for slaughter.  The chickens cooperated better today and most moved willingly into their new pen. We only had to chase 4 or 5. Though I can’t complain since it kept us warm!

The cows, on the other hand, did not want to be caught. We put a bale of hay in a small corral for them and once a good number of them – around 15 – entered it, we closed the gate. We had 15 trapped, but we only needed 4 so we had to identify the four largest steers and chase the rest out while not letting the four we wanted escape. I worked the gate and Steve herded the others. Then we had to get the lucky…unlucky?…four into the trailer. Also not an easy task. Ryan helped with this and between the three of us we got them all in and no one got kicked.

That was the main task of the day and took well over an hour from start to finish. I’m sure it will be even more complicated once we get them out to pasture and don’t have a nice corral where we can trap them.

Also, I have further proof that chickens are dumb. Last week 150 broiler chicks were delivered. We have two kinds of chickens here: broilers, for eating, and layers, for eggs. We don’t hatch broilers because we don’t have the capacity to produce enough (75/week). Instead we order them and the chicks are delivered every other week. When the first arrive, they go in the brooder, which is a kind of giant incubator that looks like this:

Newberry County, South Carolina. Battery brood...

Newberry County, South Carolina. Battery brooder used for starting poults immediately after they co . . . – NARA – 522698 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After two weeks, we moved them to the other side of the shed where they spend two more weeks before the are ready to go out to the pasture. Right now, the brooders are in one half of the shed and the baby lamb is in the other. The lamb is harmless and needed some company so we put the chicks in with her. This morning we found ten of them dead, drowned in the lamb’s water bowl. We worried this might happen and had checked to make sure the bowl was high enough that the chicks couldn’t get in it. However, it was back in a corner and they had squeezed themselves up against it and piled on top of one another until they could get over the rim. So much for that!

Now that the days are getting longer, I’ve been itching to go for a run, but I just can’t bring myself to face the cold. I know it’s not that cold and I’ve run in much worse, but it’s different when you are outside all day instead of sitting in an office. I come in to change with every intention of going back out, but once I’m in the warmth, I just can’t bring myself to go. I am at least glad that I want to and that I have the energy for it after a long day of farm work. Hopefully spring will arrive for real in the next week or two.

Also, my sister texted me this afternoon to tell me she’d found a Chick-Fil-A copycat recipe and that I’d have to bring a chicken home sometime so we could try it. I responded with this picture and the caption “Wyebrook chicken coming your way,” because I’m mean like that:

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3 thoughts on “Spring Hasn’t Sprung

  1. Those lambs and chicks are ADORABLE!!!
    If I had to kill my own meat, I’d have to be a vegetarian, I think. Will you be participating in that part too?

    • Thankfully, no. All of the animals are sent to a local abattoir (slaughter house), except for the chickens. They are killed on site, but a local man comes out once a week and handles that. It’s really time consuming and we don’t have enough people to do it cost-effectively.

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