Sharing our small farm stories and skills along our farming, gardening and homesteading journey. Visit the farm for an informative and sometimes irreverent tour through our garden, livestock pastures, chicken coop and greenhouse as we live - pasture to plate. Farming topics free range around pastured heritage pigs, broiler chickens and pastured eggs, heritage breed turkeys, an heirloom vegetable CSA and garden, high tunnel / hoop house / green houses, organic and traditional gardening, farm infrastructure, tractors, sustainable energy, permaculture, food preservation and even fence mending.

Farming stories and skills from our small farm, gardening and homesteading journey -

pasture to plate.

This weeks farming updates show that things are quickly picking up speed as spring marches on.  We started last week offering our pastured broilers up for sale and had them all accounted for in 2 days.  We also have been fixing some of our permanent fencing that winter was not kind to.  As part of the fencing work we opened a spring pasture for the pigs and will be moving them for farrowing in another week or so.  Updates include a quick stop in the vegetable garden section of the farm where we have been busy making soil blocks and starting seeds in the greenhouse.  Up next is actually getting peas planted in the garden!

The CoopCast Community this week is a rapid fire segment...  Where we discuss how "nice" it was that some of the Boston police brought a homeowner with children some milk...
http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageType=national&url=http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57580635/photograph-of-boston-police-officer-delivering-milk-to-family-during-lockdown-goes-viral/&feed_id=1&videoid=37&catid=57580635
We respond to a listener that asked about the new names the pork and beef producers are putting on meat.
#farmerandy riffs on customers who ask the question "is there soy in your feed".
Brent from CT is happy we aren't "worm worshipping hippies" and so are we.
And Jon pointed out that  taping farm cruelty is now a crime here in NY.

Our final segment is a Rumination on balancing transparency with privacy.  Where do you draw the line when you farm is also your home?  It's a more difficult question than you might think.

Direct download: CoopCast_067.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

This weeks farming updates include a lot of rain and finally a little warmth.  We were about to get the snow fence down and watch the pastures start to turn a little green.  We started allowing customers to pre-order pastured chickens this week and we are almost already sold out.  We found a dead chicken in the coop...  looks like a heart attack.  In the green house we have been potting up tomatoes and making soil blocks.

The Farmers Choice segment this week answers the question we posed in CoopCast 065 about how do manage a sick pig. In the segment we:
Follow up on pig illness
Share some of the thoughts our listeners had like call vet, ask Walter, check poop
Share what the farmers did which included emailed Walter, posted on boards, called who we bought from, talked to large animal vet
We found that the Pigsite and Merck vet manual were quite helpful
Penicillin and tetracycline - when antibiotics and the farm work together.

In a Farm U segment we talk about the notion out there that you can "breed resistance" to disease into your animals and how that's not really accurate.
Resistance to disease/ building a better herd has a role in breeding but genetics isn't the whole story.  The stauts of host- Nutrition, stress, normal flora, etc all impact the likelihood of an animal getting sick when exposed to the pathogen.  In most cases it's less about genetics and "resistance" and more about infectious dose of the organism.

Direct download: CoopCast_066.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:50pm EDT

Our farming updates this week suggest that maybe just a little Spring is on the way here at Chicken Thistle Farm. We took some time to clean out the chick wagon. We have also spent some time cleaning up the asparagus patch and getting the greenhouse ready for some seedlings. Then there's an update on the pigs and their gestation progress.

We then move to the Veggie Patch and talk a little vegetable gardening as the seasons slowly turn. We talk seedlings, seed starting and soil blocks. Getting things ready in the greenhouse is a challenge as it seems to have been taken over by rodents following the cold winter. We also answer a few questions about starting peas in the springtime garden and discuss our seed starting worksheet in our project library on the chickenthistlefarm.com website.

Our last segment is The Farmers Choice where this week we share part of the story of when one of our pigs went down sick and ask you, the aspiring farmer, what would YOU do?

Direct download: CoopCast_065.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:46pm EDT

Our farming updates this week include several things.  Like the new animal on the farm, our new Border Terrier puppy Cricket.  The Brother to Watson. (get it?).  Kelli shares her adventures from last week while Andy was away on business and the "while traveling" farm emergency she had to manage.  We complain about the fact it's early April and there's still snow on the ground.  We also have a discussion around pricing your products (pastured meats and other naturally farmed goods) and making sure you ask what you should be getting.  A little farm marketing advice about how discounting your brand isn't a good idea.

If you haven't check us out on Facebook, Twitter or our web site...  the fact is we are NOT raising Ostriches or Gators...  that was an April Fools joke.

The "In the News" segment we talk about the big uproar in the media about the fact that dairy producers want to add sweeteners to their milk and be held to the same labeling standards as the rest of the beverage industry (gasp).  Then we turn our attention to the "Monsanto Protection Act" and not so much about how it will impact food safety but rather from a bigger picture of how government behaving like this isn't necessarily in the best interest of it's citizens.

 "Monsanto Protection Act" primer - http://investorplace.com/investorpolitics/the-monsanto-protection-act-only-in-america/

Direct download: CoopCast_064.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:29pm EDT

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