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So What is Spring Like on the Farm?

Posted 6/17/2011 6:44pm by Renae Schlatter.

Here it is the middle of June and I'm just now doing a post on Spring activities! The days just go by so quickly. Early Spring brought some beautiful flowers; such bright and cheery colors.

spring flowers


We had a very wet spring here this year. We did let the cows out to pasture towards the end of March. They were so excited to get out into the pastures and the fresh green grass. I have some video footage of them coming down the lane for the first time this year but my limited technology skills haven't figured out how to load it here. It will come, eventually.

A common sight this spring was rain in the barnyard.

rain in the valley

high water

The rain was good to get the grasses growing, and grow it did! But we were quite saturated for a while. It was a challenge because we had already put the cows out and didn't have any hay left to feed, so they had to stay out on the pastures. We didn't want them to trample the pastures too much because then it would damage the roots and we would have had to replant some pastures. So, we didn't let them stay in any pasture for too long. They moved across the farm pretty quickly. We have very flat land and heavy clay soil, so most of the fields are tiled and we have a lot of ditches that take the runoff water to the creeks and rivers. One time when the fields and pastures were pretty well saturated and we had a lot of rain that day the ditch on the West side of the farm showed this view.

water difference in ditch

This was taken where the tile from one of our pastures comes into a ditch with runoff from a neighbor's field. At the top of the picture the water is clear and you can see to the bottom of the ditch, and the bottom part is muddy. The clear water is only possible because of the deep root systems of the grasses that go deep and hold the topsoil in place.

One day I drove up the road and saw that some of the cattle were put out to utilize the grass in the ditchbanks!

grazing the ditches

Another exciting aspect of spring is the arrival of the first chicks and then putting them out to pasture when they are between 2-3 weeks old. With the wet weather we had to wait a little longer than we like to put them out. It was better to keep them up where we knew they were dry than to have to take straw out to the pasture to keep them above the standing water.

This is the first batch loaded and ready to go out to their pens in the pasture.

loaded and ready

Chickens are pretty dusty and dirty animals so it is nice when they are outside and can keep the mess there!

unloading chicks

exploring their new pen

We did get in a batch of 300 new pullet hens, which are about 21 weeks old and just starting to lay. Our 'eggmobile' that we originally built had been flipped by the wind one to many times and was no longer available to use. We had a makeshift one built for last year, but it was not easy to move. So this spring Ralph built a new eggmobile. It rides low to the ground, so hopefully it will not tip as easy in the wind. We put the new hens out in the pasture when they came. The egg layers are really good at foraging and it is always neat to watch them go after bugs. Just know that chickens really aren't vegetarians, no matter what it says on any egg carton! They may only be fed grains but any kind of bugs that they can find they will eat.

new eggmobile

It has been an eventful spring and now we are in the middle of making first cutting hay. It is always a big task to the get first cutting done as it usually yields the most.

We are thankful for the support our customers give to our small family farm.