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Chicken shell game

…in which the Cornish get a bigger shelter, the rangers go free, and the turkeys are more or less indifferent to their improved accommodations.

The dog was eager to lend a paw to the process.

A scheduling snafu meant that our turkeys and rangers were in concurrent need of brooder space. Today, the rangers hit the open mowed and made way for the turkeys to get properly settled. The rangers get a covered kennel as home base. They get a couple days to get their bearings, then the door gets swung wide and the chickens roam free.

I was looking for a good solution to a different problem, and found a solution to so many problems I didn’t even know I had yet! If you want to build a something-or-other, check out for connectors designed to work with 3/4″ EMT, or 1/2″ with adapters. Our latest chicken tractor is a 10’x10’x3′ EMT box made with those connectors. Some hardware cloth and a tarp make for dry and secure accommodations.

These guys get put on a fresh patch twice a day, and that equates to about a zillion wild strawberries per bird. That feeder support is drooping, but improvements are being cooked up.

Mark my words, they won’t stay this cute.

These turkeys will be calling the brooder home for a few weeks. They’ve got a really obscene amount of room to spread their tiny wings in that time.

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Greener pastures

On rare occasions, just the right amount of thought goes into a thing, and it goes just like you’d hope it would go. And believe it or not, this was one of those times. When the “welcome home” pen got built, we hinged one side of a hog panel, and pinned the opposite ends to the sides of the shelter with t-posts. Attaching yellow poly wire to the permanent fence on each end lets us partition our larger pasture and expand the pigs’ play space. Pulling the t-posts, and sweeping the panels out the way instantly expanded the pasture area tenfold, and let us keep the shelter and feed/water infrastructure in place. For now.

If my room had looked like this pigsty, my mom probably would’ve let me slide.
That compost isn’t ready for rooting through, sorry mister.
“This was worth venturing from the mud”

We’ll see how long it takes them to find all the wild strawberries – they’re growing like gangbusters all over this year – and we’ll move them onto the next temporary partition when the soil looks turned up enough to scatter ground cover seeds in preparation for grazers and such.

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Happier than a pig in… Berkshire.

We. Have. Pigs!
You don’t have to be Einswine to know that happy animals make for tastier dinners, so our mission is hog heaven.

“Day one. They do not yet accept us as their own. More to follow.”
Grandparents may be reading this, so here’s a baby.
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It’s easy to find help when the chicks are still cute.

Welcoming the year’s first batch of meat chickens to the Wormstead. Next week, our layer flock grows fourfold! More meat chickens after that, then PIGS and TURKEYS! I don’t know if they’re small steps, or huge strides, but it feels good.

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Riposte hole digger

No… YOU’RE a fence post!

Six corner braces and one sweeping arc comprise our first – and the most complicated to place – dedicated pasture. Future expansion will be much easier, as we won’t be circumnavigating a pre-existing patch of woods that sits askew to everything else on the property.

The posts will get cut down to about 4′ which should easily accommodate pigs and sheep. It was just more economical in our case to buy longer posts locally than have shorter ones trucked to us. Line post holes are dug, and posts sit in them, listing every way but plumb. They’re next. All it takes is time.

Local horse ranchers hay our fields, and it’s about that time. Thanks to the Warners for keeping the place presentable! First cutting should be any day now (weather permitting), and that’ll make one appealing pasture for the ever nearing pigs (and some Timothy hay for their horses). We’re so appreciative for their help – we don’t have the mechanized or masticating means to keep the grass down yet, so without them, this place would be permanently out of hand.

It’s been a learning experience, and not just because of the hours it affords one to listen to history podcasts. If I had it to plan again, I’d still go about it in the same way, but I still lust after those ($tens-of-thousands) hydraulic post drivers. I’ve pulled out 30-pound rocks in the course of augering holes though, so I can’t say I have a convincing argument for thinking that would be any less painstaking work. Luckily, there is much satisfaction the hard-earned victories.

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Best place in Berkshire to pick up chicks?


This year’s first batch of Cornish Cross chicks has arrived, and the new Wormstead denizens are settling in comfortably.

“Every time you buy Economy seats, we never get to sit together.”

Their brooder has been moved to a spot that will let us acclimate them to outdoor temperatures in-place, and put them on grass immediately outside when they’re ready.

Poor Tiberius being taunted. And this, after a “Bob’s Assorted Rodents” truck overturned last week. That shallow tub will be a dust bath by the end of tomorrow.

We really dig raising chickens. We’ll care for them, keep them comfy and well-fed, and we promise they’ll only ever have one bad day. The best part of supporting our efforts is the delicious, conscientiously raised pastured poultry that you’ll get to share with your family and friends. You can pre-order from our shop or check back after 8/21 for retail offerings.

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Getting augervated

Another three corner post holes dug out after work today. On one hand, it would be nice to have more hours in the day, but on t’other, who knows how long the work could carry on without waning daylight as an excuse. Hopefully, switching to a smaller auger will quicken the pace when digging for line posts tomorrow. If anyone’s got tips for augering in rocky soil that isn’t sticktoitiveness, and costs less than the hydraulic post pounder we’re coveting, lay it on us please.

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Ground’s broke, screw’s loose

Committed to the layout for the first section of permanent high-tensile fencing. Big shift in planning moves the pigs out back instead of across the road. Watering, feeding, and keeping and eye on pigs gets a whole lot easier this way. Mowed a fence line, picked a corner, and fired up the auger. Got a couple rocks busted up with what-I-will-forever-incorrectly-call a spud bar, and resumed digging. The keyway shaft grub screw decided to back out on me and the auger fell right off the machine. Stupid, no good, low down, dirty, lack of proper planning! I need a helper – it’s getting old without someone else to lay the blame on! It’s after dinner anyway – I’m packed in ’til morning. There’s always time for work before the work day.

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This day keeps wagon on

New dump wagon came, scaled right for conning / Tom Sawyering / strong-arming enlisting the kids in moving rocks and mulch. Also got new wheels for the soon-to-be-more-useful teeny trailer. The plan is to make a post-toting, portable net hauling, former lawn ornament out of it.

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Ya’ herb?

Ultimately, broilers will all come with handfuls of our poultry mix herbs – fresh or dried, depending on the season. The sage and thyme will be fresh and tender for those who pre-order broilers for August’s processing, but the rosemary won’t be established yet. They’re all in flats under lights in the mini greenhouse, so a full poultry mix should be available to accompany retail sales in the very near future.