Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cell grazing

Our next-door-neighbor's dad came over for a drink the other night. He told me all about cell grazing. And we are going to try and adapt it to our property. Although we only have 1.5 acres, we also have the use of Gilbert's land next door, which is probably another acre. And we could also probably use some of Harry's 100 acre block across the road.

From what I can gather the key principle is constant rotation of stock through small paddocks.
It's based on the idea that livestock will eat the best pasture first. And they will eat it right back- this destroys hummus in the soil.

By keeping the livestock on the move, their impact on the environment is reduced because they graze more evenly across all paddocks.

It also reduces parasites because the host is removed before parasites have a chance to hatch- oh, and the other thing is you don't just go from one paddock to the next. You must move several paddocks away- to reduce the possibility of parasites finding the host.

In big properties the cells are set out like a wagon wheel, with the water supply in the middle.

The livestock are moved ever day.

Here we will only have three paddocks and I will move them weekly.

And now to the vegetable patch, we have around 60 pumpkins. The children have made a little stall in the cream shed selling our 'sun-cured chemical free' pumpkins for $2 each! So far we have made six dollars.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Chook update

The chook survived the dog attack and she has started laying again.

The dynamics in the chook shed has really changed since we lost two of the girls. The two chooks killed in the dog attack were the new ones that arrived with the rooster. Now that they have passed (as John Edwards would say) the other chooks have accepted the rooster.

The rooster hasn't started to crow yet.

The cows are doing well. Now that we have two, does that mean we have cattle?

As for the vegie patch- it is a little neglected. I picked the last cucumber last week and apart from that, the only thing coming out of there at the moment is marigolds.

I made some yogurt last night, but haven't baked a loaf of bread for weeks. I have been pretty busy with my job and business. I am also doing some post-grad study- I so wish I had not thrown myself into that- thank god for my house-dad.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dogs Kill Chooks

On Sunday we got home late, after sunset. The chooks had not been locked up. Two dogs came onto our property and killed two of the m.

A third chook has been seriously injured. She has spent the past few days just sitting in the chook shed. Yesterday she ventured out, but is just sitting down next to out water tank. The rooster is cuddling up to her - poor thing.

The two dogs traveled from the valley next to us, about 7kms.

The children were pretty upset about it- but at the same time they are learning valuable lessons about the life cycle.

Bill felt very guilty that he had not locked them up for the night- it was the very first time we had left the chook shed open after dark.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mayhem in the chookshed

The old chooks don't like the new chooks; the rooster is terrified and one of the new chooks is dead.

I didn't really understand, fully, what 'the pecking order' meant - but now I am witnessing it in my own chook shed. Since bringing home three new chooks and a rooster our old chooks have been very mean and are actually pecking the new chooks.

Hopefully it will sort itself out soon.