Farm Life

Grazing Triticale

Our girls have been grazing off the field of Triticale we planted last fall. We've been happy with our results so far. When we first put them out there a week ago we were actually hoping for a bit more tonnage off of the field. Since then, we have gotten over an inch of rain and 80 degree weather. The Triticale sure did do a lot more growing after that.
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We have been giving the cows strips of Triticale every 24 hours. They do a good job of mowing if off entirely in that amount of time. With giving them strips of feed they waste very little of the forage out in the field.
Triticale

Here is what is looks like before we let the cows on to it.

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Here is 3 different paddocks. We put a back fence up so that the cows can not go onto the areas that have already been grazed. This gives the old paddocks a chance to re-grow.

Pastured Poultry Pen

In order to keep our poultry safe, while still getting the benefits of pasture, we built a pastured poultry pen. This is our 3rd prototype and every time we build one they get a little better in design. So far this pen is doing it's job well. It was very easy to put together too. pastured%20poultry%20penpastured%20poultry%20pen%202

We used 10' pieces 1 1/2" PVC pipe for the frame and Tuftex plastic panels for the closed in section. Then we used zip ties and attached all of the chicken wire. To attach the panels to the frame we used roofing screws that have the rubber washers.

One of the features that we added to this prototype was a door on hinges. This makes it much easier to access the birds for feeding and watering. PVC%20joints

To put the pen together we used 3 way joints and Slip T's. We had to order them from a greenhouse supply company. The Slip T's are great because you can use them to make hinges or put in extra supports without making extra cuts in your PVC pipes. IMG_1494.JPG

We like to get the kids involved in projects when ever we can. The kids gain a strong sense of acomplishment and they feel like they are an important part of the farm. This is very important to us.Bronze%20Turkeys

The last picture shows some of our Bronze turkeys enjoying their new home.

Nature's Simple Beauty

I just had to share the beautiful eggs that my little "Easter Egger" chickens are starting to lay. I won't even have to dye eggs for Easter! I'm getting gorgeous shades of blues, greens, and very dark browns. Some of the brown eggs are almost a brick red. These are from 15 hens that I bought as chicks last fall. I hatched some of my own eggs as well. I mostly ended up with roosters out of the eggs that I hatched but that is a whole different story. The hens that I bought/hatched just started to lay this month.
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Royal Palms

An opportunity presented itself to acquire a small flock of Royal Palms. A couple from a neighboring town were downsizing their flock and they were nice enough to give us these birds. We now have a two year old tom named Oscar and three one year old hens. Hopefully we will be able to hatch out some poults. This particular breed of turkey is on the ALBC's watch list. We are very happy to have our new additions to our farm.

Royal Palms are one of the smallest breeds of turkeys. Toms range from 16-22 pounds. Hens range from 10-12 pounds. They were originally bred for use as lawn ornaments and pest control. Because of their small size, many people that have small families or small farms are finding that Royal Palms work well for meat production as well. These turkeys are good foragers and do well fending for themselves.
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Spring

February was a very bleak month for Faye Farms. Very cold and wet. Not much extra work got done around the farm. We were also battling Bronchitis. It slowly worked its way through the family. This past week it looks like spring has finally sprung! Time for us to catch up on projects that the wet cold weather prevented us from doing. We have lots of cleaning and fence making to do. This week was exciting because we had a big litter of piglets born from our favorite sow Praline. So far everybody is doing great and Praline is a better mother than ever. Here she is with her 15 babies.
IMG_1363.JPG We also received our shipment of 200 pullets. We're hoping to have lots of eggs by the end of this summer. These chicks are lots of fun. They are very entertaining to just sit and watch.IMG_1361.JPG The black chicks are Black Australorps and the buff chicks are Red Stars. The Black Australorps are very beautiful when they are fully grown. They appear to be pure black at first but when the sun hits them in just the right way you can see shades of green and blue shimmering in their feathers. They are also very good egg layers, often laying well when other hens slack off because of stressful situations. The Red Stars will be red and cream colored when they are adults. They are a hybrid chicken breed that is known to mature fast and are good egg layers. When the chickens are adults we are hoping to be set up to rotate them through our cow pastures. The hens will benefit from the pasture bugs and forages to make awesome tasting eggs. The cows will benefit from the hens in the pasture because the hens will eat all the fly larvae and bugs that are irritating to the cows.

Cold Snap/Grazing Conference

The past week has forced us indoors. The mornings has been quite chilly with temps starting out in the low teens. Mark has been catching up on building maintenance and I have been making homemade soap.

Last Saturday I had a great opportunity to learn and meet some new people. I went to the Kansas Graziers Association winter meeting. It was very informative. I learned some new ways of extending our grazing season. I also learned about new species of forages that I was not familiar with. Here's a quick over view of some of the things I learned that I would like to try out here on the farm. For filling in the August slump I learned that Hybrid Pearl Millet is a good choice. It's a fast grower and thrives in high heat. For extending spring grazing, mixing Wheat and Triticale or Wheat and Rye is a good choice. Last fall we planted 30 acres to straight Triticale. This is a new forage for us to try so we are nervously awaiting how that will work for us. I learned that if we would of mixed in some Winter Wheat it would of extended the grazing window by 3 weeks. 2/3 Winter Wheat with 1/3 Triticale is the right mix for this. For filling in the August slump and extending fall grazing a mix of Corn and Turnips or Milo and Turnips works well. I really want to try this here in Kansas. In Wisconsin we have had good results by using turnips. I learned a strategy for getting 9 1/2 months of grazing off of one field. This is accomplished with a Crabgrass/Winter Cereal Combination. Wheat, Rye or Triticale can be used along with the Crabgrass. This can be done by planting a feild to Crabgrass (Red River variety is preferred) in late April to early May. When Crabgrass is 6" tall you can start grazing it. When September rolls around it is time to no-till drill in your Winter Cereal seed. When the cereal is establish you can put the cows out there to graze again. Continue to graze throughout the winter and have it grazed out by the end of April. To start this cycle all over again, around May 1st disk or field cultivate the Crabgrass 2-3 inches deep. Harrow, roll, or cultipeak field to give good seed, soil contact. If you don't do this last step the Crabgrass will grow in very irregular and it will take longer to get a complete stand. Another option for winter grazing it Brown Midrib Sorghum. This needs to be planted in mid May. For winter grazing protein will have to be supplemented. This can be done with Winter Wheat. Every third day of grazing let the herd in the Winter Wheat to meet their protein needs. As you can see lots of new things to try!

Busy Week

This week was a good week. The weather has been beautiful so we have been working on cleaning and organizing the shop. It was still a big mess from the move. Now we will actually be able to find our tools! We also had two of our Duroc gilts farrow this week. Mamas and babies are doing well.IMG_1247A.jpgIMG_1246A.jpgTo add to the week, we also sold two of our purebred Hereford gilts. One went to Sibley, MO and the other went to South Dakota. We know their new owners will love this beautiful breed.

Here's some pictures of our new babies. The mother is a Duroc and the babies are Duroc/Hereford crosses.

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