This week, we got our second batch of chickens in. This means that the 160 or so chickens we got in our first batch are now two weeks old. Time to move them from the warm brooder pictured below ...
... to their own chicken tractor. Since we had about 100 broilers (meat birds) and 60 layers, they each got their own chicken tractor. You can see the broilers in the front chicken tractor and the new birds in the back chicken tractor ...
JB and our intern Dan built these chicken tractors. JB built the first one with Dan's assistance. Dan built the second one with JB's assistance. And, being as he is here to learn, Dan will build the third one on his own. (Speaking of Dan ... we really like him. What a cool guy and what a hard worker. We fear he has ruined any future interns from joining us forever without us comparing them to Dan!)
These chicken tractors will allow the birds to be on fresh grass every day. Each morning you move the tractor just a few feet and, viola!, they have clean fresh grass to eat on. That, coupled with organic feed, makes these a hot commodity to those of us who have seen how traditional chickens are raised.
Our new birds, about 100 of them, moved into the brooder. Here they are, thoroughly enjoying their new home:
As Dan was moving the chicken tractor this morning, I looked out the window to see him looking a bit perplexed. JB was running errands so I asked him if he needed help.
While moving the tractor, a few birds got out. This was not surprising and was in fact, expected.
But what wasn't expected was that a few of the little ladies would escape through the fence behind the tractors and out into our 100 or so acres of "real farm."
Dan needed to go retrieve them, but it's a decent walk to the gate that lets him out to the field. He asked me to stand on the other side of the fence so he could hand me the six escape artists as he caught them. I could also watch them so I could give Dan directions to find them when he returned.
(I did a great job.)
In fact, three of them returned back through the fence to my side, and I started playing defense again -- managing to catch each of them and return them to their home.
I flashed back to the many times I have helped JB move the geese or ducks. A certain amount of corralling is necessary, and I remember, as I once attempted to corral them solo, that I had finally found a use for the years and years and years of athletics.
I was playing defense!
Dan actually complimented me on my skills, and I sarcastically replied, "Well, I didn't get paid to go to college for nothing."
But ... seriously?
Former college basketball player now a ... farmer's wife?
I cannot tell you how many times I am doing something out on the farm, and I think to myself: Is this really my life?
Yesterday it was shooing some cows on their way so Joni and I could take a walk through the pasture.
And this morning, I found myself not even squealing a little bit as a mouse ran past me while I worked to fill up a bucket of feed for the geese.
I complained to JB that I didn't like not being able to leave the front gate open because the guinea fowl might get loose.
Did I just say that?
And I actually sent him a text explaining the reason I thought a certain UTV wasn't the right purchase for our farm.
His response was, "Who are you? And what did you do with my wife?"
It is absolutely crazy to me that I live here now.
And even crazier that I like it.