Picking up chicks
June 2, 2011, 7:52 am
Filed under: June 2011

                                                                    June 2, 2011


     In the photo above you can see 25 meat chicks. These are broiler chicks that will be butchering size in six or seven weeks. We put them in this old water trough until they “feather out”. Once they have feathers, they go into an outside pen that can be moved each day to new grass. These are pasture raised poultry. In a word … YUM 😮

     The chicks need their feathers before moving outside because the down they have when first hatched, soaks up the morning dew and chills the small birds. It kills them. The heat light above does the job of keeping the chicks warm. They move around the trough based upon how warm they are, closer to the light when cold.

     We raise them in batches of 25 because everything works out better. They don’t pile up on each other and smother the ones on the bottom. I also find that 25 to butcher is enough for one day. It’s not a big job, but factor in cutting them up, packaging  and the clean up, it’s enough for one day.

     Being self-sufficient in our food production is our goal. We are not 100% there yet, but do raise much of our food. We still buy some fish and once in a while chicken, when I sell too many. We buy in season produce and fruit to supplement what we raise. We buy local from other growers. We feel good about where the food comes from, along with helping out another small farmer.

     I am sure that in my lifetime we will reach the 100% goal. I have the next generation trying for this same goal. The job will be easier when there are hands to do the work everyday. I will be one set. My hoes handle will be smooth, my hat stained with sweat, but my heart will be full. I will teach the little ones something other than video gaming and 3D TV. I hope to make it fun, teaching them how to work, where their food comes from and that pa-pa is a pretty cool guy 😮

     I have been blessed with the job of helping to raise many in our brood. I started being the teacher at a young age. I influenced my step children and helped to turn many babies into responsible adults along the way. Now that my own children have children, it’s no different except that I have a wealth of experience. I don’t like the word step children. These are my kids too, I chose them when I chose their mother. It has been a privilege getting them to adulthood and helping to raise their children, no, I say, it has been an honor.

     I taught all our children and grandchildren my outlook on life. I share with them my hopes and dreams. I find things on the farm to provide an illustration for a life lesson. Lets face it … in today’s world, picking up chicks, like the ones in the picture is much safer for young men.  It will work for a while anyway 😮

     Life lessons are best learned when young and looking forward, rather than having deep regret for something done wrong. People will get off track now and then, just be their rock. Forgive, show them the way and lead by example. Life really is good, embrace it …  and most of all …  share it!


3 Comments so far
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and that you did well

Comment by matt

I’ll have to set you up with some blueprints and pictures of my aquaponics when its done. Then you can be self sufficient with your fish consumption as well.

Comment by Jason Becker

I just love reading your blog Ralph! I’ve passed it on to so many people and I hope they are following you. It’s nice actually knowing someone who is supporting small farms and a farmer himself. Your kids and grandkids are very lucky to have you educating them about nature and where their food comes from. If I can support you in anyway please let me know, we love chicken 😉 and I have lots of friends who are looking for good beef, pork and chicken from a farm they can trust 🙂 Can’t wait to read more! ~Corrie

Comment by Corrie

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