Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time to Begin the Recovery - Project 1

The season doesn't stop because things got turned topsy turvy on our farm.  The following gives you an idea as to our current plan(s) of action.

Problem 1: Birds in a contaminated pasture.

the Northwest pastures were hit most by the spray - with multiple passes crossing the boundary and a NNW wind moving it in.  We can still smell the chemicals if we brush against some of the bigger plants back there.  This is where our day range hens and turkeys reside.  If we wish to help them "detox" we have to move them away from there.  The sooner this happens, the sooner we should be able to begin selling eggs again.  Also, the sooner this happens, the more likely the turkeys will be able to grow up and become Thanksgiving dinner guests.  We'll decide what to do with the northwest pasture later.

Action Plan
Short term has Tammy and I moving the electric fence for the hens eastward.  The birds will still exit the north of the Poultry Pavillion, but we'll try to get them towards areas with less spray impact.  Obviously, the birds will go where they will within the fence, we can't MAKE them leave the area next to the building, so more will need to be done.
The turkeys will require a stepwise movement of the fence and their portable shelter north and then east until they are relatively close to our production field that has sunflowers, pumpkins and sweet corn.  We think we can execute both of these over 1 or 2 days.

Long term - the portable building was supposed to be temporary while we finished the room in the Pavillion.  But, now that we have to remove them from the pasture they would have used, we are looking to construct a better shelter for the turkeys that would reside East of the barn (yes, the barn that is slowly coming down).  To do this we must clean up that pasture east of the barn, identify a building site then build the shelter for the birds.  Fencing will need to be repaired or replaced.
Long term for the hens includes finishing the new hen room and working a southward opening.  We are more confident that our yard area south of the pavillion will be clean enough - especially if we run an overhead irrigation line for a while to help leach anything out that might be there.  To do this, we have to finish the new room, work on a ramp or exit over the old hog pit, remove tall ragweed and set up a new fence area - making sure to leave driving lines for the tractor and equipment AND leave a set back for the high tunnel area.

What kind of help could you provide?
Cleaning up the pasture and/or the area south of the poultry pavillion are both tasks that do not require a special skill set other than you should not be horribly allergic to ragweed!  Cutting down the tall weeds and removing them to compost would be helpful.  It also requires little oversight on our part - so if this job sounds like something for you, arrange with us to come at a time that is mutually agreeable and we can get you started.  It would be best if a few people did this at one time so it doesn't seem too overwhelming (many hands...).

If there are builders among you who are anxious for a project....
1. a building for the turkeys could be helpful to us.  It could be a semi permanent shelter - we are not currently married to any particular ideas.

2. help adapting the poultry pavillion to use the new exit plan
3. deconstruction and repair of the portable duck building could free us up to work on one of these other things.  This is a low key construction project that is also low risk and temporary.  It could be as simple as being the person who takes it apart most of the way so Rob can repair.
4. Fencing repair, replacement, etc.  We're not sure yet what this will entail.  We may try to get buy with buying more electric poultry netting.  But if there is someone who loves to do fence work, we can consider doing things differently. 

And finally - if we can get an area ready for the turkeys, we may need to do an old fashioned turkey wrangling to move them....

If interested in helping with any of this project over the next 10 days, please contact us at gff at genuinefauxfarm dot com.

Rob & Tammy

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