Monday, July 23, 2012

More Water Please! Drought & Cattle

Our main job on the farm over the last two months has been to keep the animals watered and shaded.  Everything else is just details!  The drought has been very hard on our pasture land and the heat has not helped either.  Hereford cattle are thankfully very hardy and have fared okay in the heat and drought.  We run about 1/4 mile of hoses to their tank to keep them well watered and they receive shade from some large trees in the pasture.

Many pastures and crops around us have been completely killed by the conditions.  Some recent rain has saved our crops from total loss.  The rain also has revived our pasture just enough to not need to feed them valuable hay quite yet.  We need our hay for winter feed!  All in all it's been quite stressful.  My father-in-law whom we farm with has said "who needs gambling when you can farm?"

Riemer Family Farm is a sustainable multi-generational family farm in south central Wisconsin

Monday, July 9, 2012

Poultry on Pasture

Here are a couple pictures of our meat birds on pasture.  We have them in a 164 foot electric netting with a portable shelter that we moved every day last year.  The way we are raising them now is called a "day range" model of pastured poultry.  They come out during the day and spend the night in their shelter to stay protected from predators.  I like this model a lot better because it makes chore time easier and gives the chickens space to roam and keeps them cleaner!  They can nibble on the grass, but prefer their feed. Last year when we kept them in the portable shelter all the time, we had to move them 3 times a day the last two weeks of their lives.

The worst predator we have seen this summer has been the 100 plus heat for days on end.  We lost a few birds to heat exhaustion, but have been doing everything we can to keep them alive.  We have even had a sprinkler in their pen.  They are not fond of water, but it does keep things cooler when we run the sprinkler on mist setting. We also need to make sure they always have fresh water and shade.

We will butcher these chickens in about a week.  Nothing compares to the taste of pastured poultry!

Riemer Family Farm is a sustainable multi-generational family farm in south central Wisconsin