Taking a life

I killed a chicken before breakfast this morning.

We where on morning chores and our group was on moving cows and looking after the broiler chickens which are in the brooder. They are on their eighth day at the farm and get fed five times a day.
While our group was in the brooder the group that was on laying hens came back with a weak hen which had a paralysis on one side of its body and could not move. Gustavo and Richard hat noticed it not moving on the days before and Richard said the two options where to kill it or to keep it in quarantine. The group decided on killing it given the slim chances of recovery and having killed a few chickens before I spontaneously volunteered for showing the others.


Getting settled in

This morning I got to help Gustavo with the chicken and cow moves. We drove up to the eggmobiles at 06:30 and let out the hens of one egg mobile and had to move the other one onto fresh pasture. The hens move around every two days following the cows over the pasture. That way they get to pick out the maggots and spread the manure from the cows evenly to fertilize the soil.
We took down the electric fence that surrounds the egg mobile, moved it over and set it up again after moving the egg mobile with the rhino (a powerful quad). Then after we let the hens out. It is important to let them out after moving because otherwise they wont find back into the egg mobile in the evening.

Then we moved the cows onto fresh grass and it was incredible to se the difference of just one day of cow mow machine action. They have four cows here at ridgedale and there will be a bull coming later in the season so they have four calves this year. They are kept for pastured beef.

After chores we got breakfast wich included some incredibly intense smoked ham from last years pigs.

For the rest of the morning I was in the market garden with Gordon and Rob. This year is the first year that they have the paperpot transplanter system which is a machine that is pulled over the beds and transplants into the bed directly. The plants are started in a paper chain which allows for them to unravel quickly.
Since the system is new there where still some things to figure out in order to get efficient and quick with it. There where some rows where the transplants did not sit in the soil properly after transplanting and we had to go back and bury them by hand.
So I helped with that and moving netting from the peas and I got to test the transplanter aswell.
Since it was still arriving day for all people from the Permaculture Design course and the internship I decided to spend the rest of the time with bringing out woodchips in between the raised beds. That way Rob and Gordon didn’t have to explain everything to me and then later again and I felt like I could be helpful.

After lunch Richard arrived with a batch of 500 day-old chickens around the same time most of the people from the PDC and Internship arrived aswell. So we got to watch how Richard settles in the chicks and he explained some key points.
The essentials are clean, good quality water access, a heat source with temperatures around 32°C and food.
To encurage the chicks to get active and run around, the heat lamps are seperate from the water and food, which will force them out from the heat lamp to scavange for food and water.

With the others arriving we spread tha woodchips way faster now and spent some time in the gardens together before dinner. After dinner we gathered in the training Yurt to get to know eachothers names and for Richard to give an overview of the organisational stuff. Everyone also said three things that they where most interested in and it was fascinating to see so many different intersts. I am really excited to learn about all the different projects people have going on.

To end the day there was sauna which really is one of the best ways to end a day here on the farm.