May medley

Pig update:  The pigs are at 10 weeks.  Personality abounds, and speaking of bounding, I have been clearly labelled as the source of good things, ie food, as they come running with squeals of delight if they so much as catch a glimpse of me.  It’s funny while they’re small, but a little alarming to think that they might do this when they’re bigger, so we are adapting the feeding protocol accordingly.  Speaking of growing, that’s been happening in leaps and bounds as well.  Here’s the weekly pig pics:

field notes May, pigs 10 wks 015 field notes May, pigs 10 wks 018 field notes May, pigs 10 wks 023

Pasture:  I hestitate to call it pasture, since for the last 15 years it has been cut for hay and hasn’t been grazed by anything except broiler chickens, but I’m going to go with the title anyway, in the spirit of intentionality.  Chris over at Chism Heritage Farm does a more or less monthly photo essay of his pasture through the year, which seems like a great way to keep a record of changes, developments, seasons, etc.  Complete novice that I am, I don’t really know what I’m looking at in my pictures but I’m sure I’ll learn as I go along.  So here are the first pictures in what will hopefully be a long term record of the state of the pasture in my top field. (The grass is too tall right now to get to the bottom fields, so even though I’m fully aware of different conditions down there, and thus different growth, I’m wimping out – maybe I’ll start keeping track of them next year).

field notes May, pigs 10 wks 005 field notes May, pigs 10 wks 006 field notes May, pigs 10 wks 010

In the above three pictures, we are standing by the main gate to the top field. The first picture looks directly south, the grass heads are about 4 ft.  The picture of the pasture pen is to show scale (it’s a classic Salatin pen, up on bricks, so about 2 1/2 ft high).  The third picture was taken slightly left of the first picture to show where the broilers were on the field last year – completely different kind of growth.

field notes May, pigs 10 wks 011field notes May, pigs 10 wks 010field notes May, pigs 10 wks 014

In the above three pictures we are looking west.  First, down at my feet.  Then across the view – more broiler pasture evident.  Then about 10 paces west of the gate to one of the few patches of clover in the field that I’m aware of.  Why is it here and not elsewhere?

The Rooster:  I have this rule about the chickens.  They are not vet-worthy.  If they get injured or ill, they get some TLC in terms of segregation from their flock, and a comfortable place to convalesce, but the getting better part is basically up to them.  They either do or they don’t.  Which means that I look a little silly at this point, still mollycoddling our rooster.  Long story short, he lost a spur about 8 weeks ago, which shouldn’t have been a big deal, but the wound site got infected.  For about a month, I changed dressings, applied ointment, lanced the wound, fed him by hand, took him to shady spots for exercise and bugs, found him nice kale leaves, etc.  He should have been a goner weeks ago according to my own rules, but here he is, a month later still getting his leg wrapped once a week.  In my defence, the reason he’s now wearing the vet wrap is to keep the hens from pecking at the wound, otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing it, and he is back to living with the flock again, and no longer getting hand fed tasty morsels, I’m sure to his great disappointment.

field notes May, pigs 10 wks 001

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9 thoughts on “May medley

  1. Good pictures and good reminder that I’m overdue for a post on the pasture. Not only am I constantly amazed at the changes month by month, I’m amazed at the changes year over year. This time last year we were at least a month ahead in terms of growth but the rain had nearly stopped and it was HOT. Also, the species in the pasture have changed considerably. I have such dense growth now it’s hard to find the thistle until the cows pass through.

    I hope you can keep it up. It’s hard to stop working long enough to take pictures as I not only take pictures but develop a narrative in my head as I snap shots. Very distracting so some months I miss out.

    Enjoy your rooster with noodles, carrots, onion and celery. Now that he’s tame, he’ll heal up and start attacking you. Soup.

    • You’ve been talking to my husband about the rooster, haven’t you…

      I’ve been loving your pasture strolls – I think they’re a great way of keeping track. Trying to keep some kind of regular record is, as you say, the challenge though for sure.

  2. PetKid says:

    The pig names are cute, my mum just told me about them. The rooster is lucky to have you and he’s a nice handsome rooster like ours. They sometimes get annoying, don’t they. How do you even know what’s in your lower fields if you can’t get to them? Do you own a helicopter? 🙂

    • I have seen pictures of your roosters, and I think they’d win over Rusty in any handsome contests, but yes, I think my rooster is pretty lucky to have found an old softy like me.

      I realized after I’d published the post that it sounded a bit odd, saying that about the lower fields – trust your sharp mind to be inquisitive about it! Throughout most of the year, I walk the dog around the perimeter of all the fields a few times a week, and until the grass starts growing fast, we also cut across the middles sometimes, chasing geese. Once the grass starts to grow fast, we stick to the edges – our grass gets cut for hay, and I don’t want to walk on some horse’s dinner more than I need to :). This means that I see changes and growth developments down in the bottom fields for all about 2 months while the grass is this tall, and until it gets cut.

      Also, my dog is very elderly and she doesn’t like walking in tall grass anymore. When she was younger, she’d plow tunnels through it, looking for rabbits, but now, it just makes walking too much like hard work, and she sits down and looks up at me sadly. What I should do is walk down there without her to see what’s growing, but it seems like cheating to do a field walk without her.

      • PetKid says:

        Your dog sounds like Reggie, but older. He loves running through the tall grass and retrieving in our pond.

        I know how to stop you from stepping on the middle: every time you step on the field, you step on your food and then you eat it, like a horse would! That will remind you not to do it! It might be a little overkill, I think I’m joking, but still try not to do it. Do get a helicopter if you can!

        Thanks so much for telling me everything about it, it’s really interesting. :)!!!!!!!!!!

      • Maybe a remote control camera helicopter, then I could stand by the gate and manoeuvre my ‘copter over the field, zooming in low when I want to see a particular patch of clover!

  3. df says:

    I just want to say how much I’m enjoying learning more about the elements of your farm. The pigs are a delight, the attitude towards chickens is great food for thought for me (we haven’t had to experience illness yet, though I know it will come sooner or later), the rooster is a hoot, and so on. Looking forward to hearing more as the season’s moves on!

    • Thanks! I’m loving Petkid’s blog by the way – he has a great sense of humour. I always enjoy it when you find time to get a post of your own up, especially when you’ve included some of your wonderful photography.

      • df says:

        Well, thank you! PetKid is so thrilled to have a devoted follower like you; he’s a kid who loves grown-up conversation, so it means an awful lot to him.

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