Since it is early February we have had to begin planning for the 2016 growing season CSA program that we have. We have updated the website page “Our CSA Program” so have a look at it. Not really too much changed but still, give it a read over. Please respond to us as soon as you can. We will have to make some significant purchases very soon. The season’s seeds, repairs to the team’s harness, machinery repairs, some new used equipment and other little things. This is when we really do rely on the CSA model to get us through. Thank you to all for supporting us in this way and to all who have been with us for several years now, thank you too for continuing with us. We must be doing something right.
The weather this week has again been very kind to us; quite warm, reasonably dry, not too windy and no new snow fall to contend with. It was, early on in the week, quite muddy and the laneway was impassable for most of the day for several days and we would come and go early in the morning while the ground was still frozen. Usually now the lane gets a bit too muddy on the surface when it warms above the freezing mark during the day so that driving forth and back to and from the road can move a good bit of mud around.
All the animals are doing quite well and of course they much appreciate the good weather. Hay consumption is down quite a bit, they are generally more comfortable except for the mud and do well soaking up the sunshine in a sheltered spot. The horses and cows are the hardest on the ground and they are out on the ground all the time. Their outdoor holding areas are still alright and neither horses nor cows are knee deep, nor even ankle deep in mud. They do not make any more than the usual dent in the ground with their hooves.
The chickens seem well enough though the Barred Rock breed is generally doing much poorer than the others and we have lost several as opposed to none of the others. I believe that this is a very poor variety of Barred Rocks as a result of poor habits on the part of the breeder Very little attention has been paid to selecting hatching eggs from good, vigorous, healthy hens. The Barred Rock, only just 20 years ago, was an excellent layer, but our experience with them now is that they are very poor winter layers. Probably the only way we’ll get good healthy egg laying Barred Rocks is to select hatching eggs for those traits on our own. We’ll see.
The overall lay rate for the whole flock has significantly increased over the last two weeks. We’ll have to sit down and calculate just what percentages are. So good news there and hopefully it will only get better. The coming cold weather, forecast for the end of this week, will no doubt slow or even somewhat temporarily reverse the increase, but the trend is for a overall continued increase until the spring warms and grass grows. Then our hens will be laying at their maximum once more!