I know that I said I would talk turkey on poultry farming, but my farming week has led me on other paths including holistic grazing plans, Intrepid Landcarers and garlic crop preparation. My foray into Holistic Management resulted in a day spent contemplating and developing a grazing management plan that includes not only sheep but meat chickens, geese and turkeys. On our small village farm we raise a couple of sheep from weaners to hogget. We usually raise 3 Dorper / Damara cross breeds at one time. They come as 4 month olds from a local farm. We usually kill one a just under 12 months (lamb) and keep they other two to grow out to hogget. We have grown very fond of them as a breed, they are reasonably intelligent as sheep go and generally can be tamed relatively easily, for handling.
In the course of the two years we run our sheep we also have pasture raised meat poultry, a small breeding flock of geese and from September through to December a small flock of turkeys for Christmas dinner. As our grazing space is limited and we need to run our poultry after the sheep, the concept of understanding the number of grazing days our small farm provides for each animal sparked keen interest. Yes, it is clear that we need more grazing days than we actually have but fortunately we acknowledge the need for supplementary feeding and factor this into our costs. Working through this process also helped me to understand the recovery time needed between ruminant grazing of our paddocks and the breakdown rate of manure etc. from our poultry flocks.
Definitely an interesting meander on our small farm journey, which then leads us onto garlic planting preparation and Intrepid Landcare.
This Landcare movement provides a common space to inspire, connect and empower young people to join local environmental initiatives in their communities. We have a branch connected with Canberra University who have offered time in our region. This week we finalised arrangements for a group to help with our garlic planting. We provide accommodation and meals for the weekend; an overview of our farming enterprise, our philosophy and approach and they will lend a hand in our garlic endeavours. The weekend will finish up with a bush walk guided by our LandCare officer. We are excited by the opportunity to share and exchange with this wonderful young group.
So yes another meander, this one through the bush, but an exciting opportunity for us all.
Hopefully this week will not see me led astray and talking turkey will proceed.
The weather is stunning! Happy farming days.