Home of Apple Cider Molasses
Posted by Carolyn Loveland :: Saturday, July 19 :: 11:27am
It's been a zillion years since I've posted to the website... Join us on Allens Hill Farm Facebook Page for current news or even sending us messages. We respond pretty quick!!
So what's new? Our rabbits are breeding, well, like rabbits. So we had to build a bigger home! Official move in date? Let's just say we are hoping by the end of August.
Our fodder machine (aka John soaking seeds and spreading them in the troughs) is producing like crazy. Just not enough of it! In our new barn we are expanding our fodder production by 5x the amount we currently produce. Our bunnies, chickens and ducks just gobble it up. What's not to like? It's twice as healthy as eating dried grasses (aka hay) and has so many active enzymes and other good stuff in it that it makes our livestock a lot healthier (and happier!). Shown below is 7 day's growth and what the root mat looks like. Some of the animals eat all of it and others just eat the green stuff. There is something for everyone!
And how are our Indian Game Hens? Doing terrific. We harvested our first batch at the end of June. They are excellent foragers and eat very little "chicken" food. Instead they are out on grass and bugs and their meat tastes divine. There is almost no fat and it is a fine to medium stranded meat without the "gamey" taste to it. Once I tasted this it's going to be tough to purchase a grocery store chicken any time soon. We have 50 hens and held back 4 roosters. The hens should start laying in October. Since this is the first year we've had this heritage chicken we are taking it day by day.
One of our future projects is expanding into microgreens. We are in the testing phase and if all goes well we should be rolling these out next spring (or late winter) depending on weather conditions.
There are a lot of other "smaller" projects, like our haskap trial patch, strawberry patch development, and I'm still working on building a greenhouse. Thank goodness we didn't build last year . With the energy costs over the winter time it might have put us permanently out of business to try and keep a building like that going. So we're still researching alternative energy sources (solar, wind , and geothermal are not options... sorry... already looked into those) but have a couple of other super cool ideas that are already being done elsewhere with minimal costs. More on that later!
That's the latest ! Hope all is well with you and your families! Thanks for reading and hope to see you soon!
Posted by Carolyn Loveland :: Monday, March 10 :: 6:14pm
University of Rochester has started a farmer's markets for its employees to learn how to eat and live better. It is part of the program called Well U . An educational experience about wellness, the farmer's market is just one facet. Congratulations University of Rochester for promoting a healthier lifestyle and promoting local foods and farmers! Like Well U on Facebook!
Posted by Carolyn Loveland :: Tuesday, February 11 :: 4:09pm
We tried meat chickens two years ago using Cornish Crosses. Crosses are used in the poultry industry because they grow to harvest weight in about 8 weeks. Wow! Two months and I can harvest a chicken? Quick turnaround time, minimal expense, what could be better? And in fairness to other chicken farmers this was our first attempt.
It was a disaster. They grew so fast they couldn't support their weight and had to sit down; The sitting causes respiratory distress (can't breathe) and also creates raw spots on their breasts so they have no protection from heat or cold. It was a horror movie come to real life.
In my chicken ignorance (having not thoroughly researched the breed)I thought "Well , maybe they will outgrow it." And grow they did. We harvested most of them way too late. The rest ended up becoming fox food or succumbing to diseases. I swore off eating chicken for about 6 months after that..
John & and I remember those tasty Cornish Game Hens that we had for Thanksgiving dinner when we were kids. One hen was the perfect serving for two people or one really hungry teenager. I researched Cornish Game Hens only to find the modern day version is my ill fated Cornish Crosses harvested at 4 weeks of age. I called three different breeders and they all told me the same thing. Cornish Game Hens are Cornish Crosses harvested young. Yuck.
We kept looking and found the chicken of our dreams; the Original Cornish Game Hen aka Dark Cornish aka Indian Game hen. Loves to free range, can actually reproduce (the crosses can not), great mothers, and very protective of their flock. Bingo!
It's grow out period is little longer than the Cornish Cross but I don't have to cringe in horror watching sores, bare spots, and chickens that aren't ambulatory enough to get up and even take a drink. I want healthy, happy chickens. These guys look like the answers to my prayers.
Indian Game Hen aka Cornish Hen aka Dark Cornish
Currently we buy leftover produce and anything green we can get our hands on to feed our chickens. But being winter we still have to supplement with pelleted feed.
But! We are about two weeks away from ditching traditional pelleted feed and converting over to a fodder system supplemented with organic chicken feed. I can't tell you how ecstatic I am! John is putting together the framework this week, planting next week, and we'll be getting new crops every 6 days. The nutritional level of fodder versus grain is almost double. Protein of most fodder is around the 15% mark. Not to mention those great minerals and nutrients that are absorbed naturally by the chicken rather trying to force their digestive system to break down pellets.
Indian Game Hens raised predominantly on fodder? So hoping our "test batch" exceeds my expectations Coming soon to our farm! Stay tuned.