The fridge of chickens has been sorted. Neatly trussed, put into plastic bags and frozen, remembering that presentation is so important in food the better they look the keener we are to eat them. We have eaten a couple already and they are very nice, excellent flavour and good texture. So many chickens that we buy are almost a pastey texture when cooked, this is so much better without being tough.
We have been off blogging while we worked flat out on building another shed. My brother came to help us assemble it and we have devoted ourselves to the task. The more good ideas we have the more space we need. The big space with clean open concrete is full of possibilities. The existing farm sheds are more organic in construction and while they have served us well it was time for an upgrade.
Thankfully, the chicken project is finished. When I was at work on Wednesday, Martin and his friend Bill (paid in chicken) slaughtered them. The chickens were 9 weeks old and most were reasonably well grown. These chickens are bred to be processed at 6 weeks and grow fast, they also need to eat a huge amount to sustain that type of growth. I raised them on grass, moving their pen twice a day giving them access to a bit of green pick and sunshine. I had more chickens die than I expected, which may have been because of the cold or something not right with my management. If I did it again I would use a different hatchery for the day old chicks, and raise a smaller group. That said, none of the chicken had any sign of disease when killed, with healthy livers and good carcasses. The total cost per chicken was $12.50 to raise. Now I'm looking forward to the taste test for the effort.
The sheep graziers alerts have started rolling in this week and I am pleased to report that we have finished our sheep jobs. The last mob has been drenched and checked. They are all in fat condition which is pleasing given how dry it is going into the cold months. Now, other than monitoring for any sign of worms we should not need to muster them till the end of July. In July we will give the booster 6 in 1, check worm burdens, making sure they are all in good shape for lambing in August. Now we can concentrate on getting ready for our family gathering in June, nothing like an event at home to get things done around the house and yard. Should have one every year.
Some years ago my youngest son Richard, gave me a pizza stone, every time he comes to visit asks "where is the pizza oven you were going to build?"
Well, all inspired, Bodgie Bros have commenced construction. ( we are having our family Christmas on the 22nd June, so it needs to be ready).
I am not really sure what we are doing but here is a picture of stage 1.
After three or four frosts, it is time to treat the sheep that have been grazing the wet areas over summer, for liver fluke. At the same time we will give all sheep a final drench before winter. We do this when we take the Rams out of the breeding ewes, they will have had two oestrus cycles, ( 34 days ), any sheep not in lamb after this will be culled. Fertility is the most important economic trait in any breeding enterprise.
We had five breeding groups this year, will put them together , and after two weeks a cleanup ram will go in to join the culls.( as above)