Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March Chicken CSA Newsletter 2009

Hi everyone who signed up for a Chicken CSA for Spring 2009!

Your first batch of birds are a couple days over 4 weeks old, out on the pasture and doing very well, surviving the cold nights in the winter that doesn't seem to want to end. I'm trying to schedule a processing date with our processor, Chaudhry Halal Meats, for the 2nd to last week in April, and as soon as I confirm I'll let you all know when your first pickup date will be.

I attached a few pictures of your birds in the pasture I just took a few minutes ago. They are picking the sunny side of the pens as it's only in the 50s today. They're also staying close to each other for warmth (kinda like penguins do). These guys are on brand new pasture that has never seen a chicken. We always wait a year before re-running chickens on the same pasture, that way any diseases that form in the manure have a chance to run their course and die before another batch of birds goes on there. One of the main advantages to having chickens on pasture, and especially keeping them in moveable pens is they always get a clean spot each day. Most chicken diseases are picked up through the manure, so having them on clean ground daily eliminates the need for us to give them antibiotics like most of the housed operations have to.

Your second batch of birds arrived in the mail on Monday and you can see a picture of them - they are still in the brooder and still afraid of me so they're huddling a little. Once they figure out I'm the guy with the feed they come toward me instead of run away. The silvery stuff behind them is aluminum foil woven into bubble wrap called reflectex, an insulation that reflects 90% of the heat. I made a little cube of reflectex in each of our brooders so I only need one heat lamp per brooder and only need to run it for the first week and a half or so, depending on how cold it gets. Then the reflectex works to keep them warm on its own, so we ultimately use less electricity.

Thanks and let us know if you have any questions!

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