I made a list of things I need to accomplish this month. I think I’m going to make a habit of setting goals every month instead of making one big list for the entire year.
Here’s what’s on the list this month:
- Finish the newsletter and sent it to the printer
- Order broiler chicks
- Order shrink bags for chickens
- Make seed starting schedule
- Build seedling shelves
- Research turkeys and try to order eggs or chicks
From where I stand our winter reprieve is over. I’m feeling the pressure to get things organized and planned before spring comes and the physical work begins. I HAVE to get this newsletter and order form put together this month. The holdup there is that I can’t very well take orders unless I know what we’re offering and when. That means figuring out the broilers, whether or not we’re offering turkeys, and the changes in packaging (if any).
I called JM Hatchery yesterday and placed my order for chicks. I put in for 3 batches of 100 birds each. We’ll get the first chicks around the end of March and have the last ones processed in early September. The plan right now is to rotate them all through one brooder and two pasture setups. They’ll stay in groups of 100 for their first couple weeks on pasture, then split in to two groups of 50 for their remaining time. We’ll have to build a second cattle panel shelter and purchase more electric netting. Here’s the schedule I’ve come up with:
Sorry I know it’s hard to read, if you can’t make it out and you’re interested let me know and I’ll get it to you in a better format.
I still need to figure out what we’re doing for turkeys. I missed out last year on some half grown heritage turkeys. We weren’t ready for them at that time but now I’m kicking myself. I’m thinking I could hatch some out myself now that we have the incubator. If I buy chicks I’d like to hold some back for breeding and not sell them all for eating. I also considered buying some of the traditional broad breasted whites for selling this year and hoping to add heritage birds next year. That could be a bad idea since the whites would be cheaper, customers might not go for the switch next year. I’m still not sure – thoughts and opinions would be appreciated! Also, I need to figure out the grow out periods on the heritage birds so I can plan ahead if I do buy some.
The seed starting plans have to be made soon… we aren’t selling any vegetables but we rely on the garden for so much of our own food now that I feel like I can’t relax until I have it all planned out. Actually, last year we got most of our produce from gleaning other people’s gardens. That makes me even more nervous because we might not have that option if we don’t have a great growing season. I’m going to build some shelves to get the seedlings out of our closet this year.
So, things are pretty busy around here anyway! On the plus side tonight is knit night at the yarn shop so I’m heading up there for good food and conversation. I haven’t knitted much lately so I’m looking forward to making progress on some projects. What’s taking up your time this spring? Are you raising animals or planning your garden? Knitting? Fill me in! 🙂
A few notes I want to add after rereading this: We’ll be processing the chickens at 10 and 12 weeks. Those ages worked good for us last year and gave us some medium and large birds. Also, if you want 3 different delivery dates through JM you have to make 3 different online orders or call them. The shipping is more than it would be to order 300 all at once. The nice part is that they don’t bill your credit/debit card until they ship.