This past month, we’ve been very excited to produce enough eggs to sell a few dozen per week to friends and coworkers, as we get about 12-14 per day from our 17 hens. (I am convinced they lay more somewhere else.) There has been a bit of education on why our hens are not vegetarian fed (their primary diet being bugs) and the benefits of soy-free, pastured, organically fed eggs. The feedback has been wonderful so far and we are so happy to help nourish other families along with our own.
So last week, Judah & I picked up 23 more 19 week old red sex link pullets, our favorite for laying huge brown eggs while being very active foragers. The sun was out, it was fairly warm, and he was quite helpful as I was transferring them alone. He closed the carrier each time I loaded one, and all went smoothly until bird 23 when he left it open and I almost lost them all! Thankfully, they were all a bit shell shocked from the transfer and didn’t rush out faster than I could close the carrier door, but those three year old assistants always keep you on your toes! We are very hopeful the new hens will start to lay soon so we can keep up with egg orders, and give these amazing orange yolks to all who desire them!
We recently acquired the mama sow of our other Guinea hogs along with four of her remaining piglets from the same litter. We picked them up during our recent cold snap post-snow and it was quite an adventure! The farmer who sold them to us decided raising pigs was not for him, as he had become too attached to eat them. It’s definitely not an easy thing to wrap your mind around; it is not comfortable for us either, but it is definitely something we feel compelled to be a part of if we are going to eat meat, and is a significant part of why we have chosen to start our small farm, to feel a connection to the lives that are given to sustain our own.
The farmer, Ken, rounded up his friends to help and we used two cattle panels tied together to walk the pigs up to our truck. There we had boosted their previous pig house as a ramp using hay bales with a strip of burlap for traction, and had a cattle panel inside in a teardrop shape to secure the pigs. Convincing them to “walk the plank” as I called it was not too easy, other than the little runt Ken called Froggy for her funny voice. She clearly loved him and was a people pig from the time we met her when we picked up our first set of piglets from him. She walked right up for scratches the first time, even as we were grabbing her squealing siblings to put in animal carriers, and this time was no different. Once Ken was up in the truck bed with some food, she walked up to him without fear. One or two siblings joined in though the rest took more cajoling. Eventually everyone was up munching in the hay, we secured and covered the cattle panel with a tarp and off we went for home. Unloading went fairly well using a pallet for a ramp since the ground level was higher than our driveway. They are now settled in, enjoying the pile of wood chips to root in and sunning this past week when we had a couple spring-like days. We can’t wait for more days working outside together as a family to develop this piece of land!