2020 CSA Update

Wow, what a month February was.  It’s been a little over a month since we kicked off the 2020 CSA season and our CSA slots are almost full.   A huge thank you is in order for everyone who’s supporting us by ordering.

If your considering a CSA order, we have a couple slots open so let us know what you want.

Thanks again for getting 2020 off to a great start.

 

2020 season kickoff

 

Our off-season hiatus is over and the 2020 season is officially kicking off.  We’ve been reviewing, planning, and scheduling so we could get the 2020 info out to you.

And here it is.

 

Now taking orders for our CSA.

We’re now taking orders for our CSA.  Please consider ordering a CSA to get our best pricing and guarantee your spot in line for chicken in case we sell out early again.

Your support through our CSA support it is the heart of our operation. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to provide produce our quality chicken for you.

This year we have to increase our prices for the first time.  To help compensate, you’ll notice we’ve increased the CSA discounts.  It makes even more sense than ever to purchase a CSA.

Check out our CSA Page for full details and to order.

 

2019 Season End

Thanks to everyone who supported us this year.  Our freezers are empty. You guys were great and surpassed our expectations helping us sell out of chicken earlier than expected.     THANK YOU.

If you were still hoping to get more chicken this year, we’re sorry to disappoint you.  However now is the time to be thinking about our CSA for next year.  Not only is it our best pricing, it’s also a guaranteed way to get the chicken you want.

Our CSA really is the life line of our operation.  Without it we couldn’t keep selling quality chicken.  So keep a look out towards the beginning of the year for more information on our 2020 CSA packages.

Now’s also the time to like us on Facebook and/or join our mailing list so you don’t miss out.

We, mostly Jason, also try to do a monthly post on the blog here at our website, in addition to posting important update.

 

Brothers M. Mondays in May – Market Fun

Brothers M. Mondays in May is back – A new post each Monday in May 2019.

We enjoy seeing everyone at the Farmers Market.  Come visit and say hi.  Feel free to ask questions about what, why, and how we do what we do.

We always try to have fun at the markets and thought we’d share some of the experiences from our side of the booth.

Sometimes we maker our own fun.  Like participating in the monthly library crafts.

 

Or moving around to stay in the shade of our tent on a hot day.

 

Sometimes others bring the entertainment to us.

 

Even when it’s cold and wet we do our best.

And sometimes it’s just what we hear.

Regular patron buying chicken:  “I came to the farmers market and all I got was chicken and eggs.  By the way, the eggs came first.”

So come see us this year and help keep us smiling.

Brothers M. Mondays in May – Work days

Brothers M. Mondays in May is back – A new post each Monday in May 2019.

Taking care of the chickens can be fun and entertaining, but it’s still a lot of work.

The bulk of the work is in the daily feeding, watering, and moving of the chickens.  Multiple daily trips to the pasture are required to properly care for the birds.  We take pride in the care we give to raise quality chicken, even when it’s raining.

Besides the daily care, there are several other days that require extra amounts of labor.  Over 200 chickens are handled once when we receive them.  Handled two times when moving from the brooder to pasture and three times during processing. There are also maintenance days such as working on the chicken tractors and cleaning the brooders and equipment.

 

 

 

 

But, my favorite are the days we get the feed.  Helping the kids lug around 50lb bags of feed makes a person feel good.

Usually we load a lawn trailer to carry the bags down the hill.  This year we had mechanical issues half way through so Matthew got to strut his stuff by doubling up.

 

 

Chicken Tractor – for layers and broilers

As I’ve mentioned in my Chicken Tractor Guide, you can use the chicken tractor design for layers.  So this summer and fall we’ve used our idle chicken tractors to house the new flock of layers while the old layers are in the A-frame coop and being phasing out.

Layer Boxes

Since this was temporary, I did not fasten the layer box to the back wall, but you could easily make a light weight set of 2-3 boxes to hang off the back wall.  Instead we used a double box I made out of scrap 2x wood for another project.  It’s heavy but works good.

 

Tractoring

Optimal moving depends on the stocking density.  For our 8 birds I’d say about every 3-5 days.  We’ve gone as longer during busy spells, leaving the ground looking like a post-apocalyptic movie scene.  I reconciled staying in one place so long with the fact that using good feed and the pasture has plenty of time to recover before next year.

Their foraging area is much smaller than the A-frame; however, that can be mitigated with more frequent moving.  Also, I’ve already experienced that this lighter breed can fly over the chicken wire fence we use for the A-frame.

A final note. This ISA Brown flock really dug into the soil much more than my previous breeds leaving many deep holes when we removed the tractor.  I say deep, but the deepest was about 4-5 inches.  They seem to digging shallower holes as time passed, which may be a factor of us moving them more frequently or just age.

 

Supplemental roofing for the tractor

 

Since we have roosting poles already in our tractors, we only had one real issue, the tarps.  The tarps are medium duty and will typically last until the fall, sometimes longer, unless you have birds resting on them as we do.  Last year it was the crows that tore up the tarps.  This year it’s our flock of Guinea fowl.  Check out what a week of roosting can do to a tarp.

 

Fortunately I had an old piece of roofing laying around that I could attach to the top.  The boys just held some scrap pieces of wood on the inside of the coop that I fasten the roof to with screws.  This will protect the tarp and ensure a dry area underneath for the food dispensers.

 

Winter

October came and I decided not to move the chickens to the A-frame.  A chicken escaped the tractor during feeding and we caught her that night perched on the fence that keeps my Rainbow flock contained around the A-frame.  It’s really nice having them in the tractor, not needing to open and shut the coop each day and not worrying about them flying over the fence or aerial predation.

The cold of winter is my biggest concern.  I would want some better protection than the tarp and windbreak.  These are hearty birds and I’m think I could design a suitable shelter area in the tractor; however, snow is problematic for moving and requires some more thought.

 

The future of the layer flock

This experiment got me thinking about building a new chicken coup on a trailer frame and incorporating the best feathers of the A-frame, chicken tractor, and more.   Something very portable, versatile, and low maintenance.

Keep an eye out for the results of my new coop idea.  I’ll add a link to the new post here when it’s ready.  Until then, here’s a teaser.

-Jason