This little hatchling has just broken through its shell and is calling for attention.

This week holds many firsts for Fox Hollow Farm

Dante Valvo, our summer intern, started today and hit the ground running. The farrier came to take Molly and Polly’s shoes off and trim their feet (they were not happy with the process). Today we also took the first batch of chickens to Pleasant Valley Poultry Processing. Taking birds to this business instead of butchering them ourselves will give us more options for when and where to sell them and hopefully save time.

Last, but definitely not least, today Molly and Polly pulled something other than a wagon for the first time. We got out our new Pioneer Homesteader with the cultivator attachment and practiced in preparation for weeding the potatoes. The process required learning and patience from everybody but by the end we were starting to get the hang of it. By the end of the summer we hope to be harvesting potatoes with the horses!

Trying Buckeye chickens

Hard to believe it’s the 2nd week of June already! The tomatoes, zucchini, and other vegetables are almost all in the ground and calving is well under way. Everything is bright green and the wildlife is out harvesting the grass along with the cattle and sheep.

To better harvest the bounty of our pastures in the future, we are trying a chicken experiment. The broiler meat chickens
we raise on pasture do eat some green stuff but on the whole they have too little of their natural instincts left to do more than scarf down feed and grow large breast meat. To try and move away from these chickens we are trying Buckeyes, a native Ohio breed (and created by a woman, an unfortunate rarity in the livestock breeding business). The Buckeyes are smart and nimble dual-purpose chickens, able to lay eggs and be meat chickens. They can forage for a large portion of their own food.

They will take longer to raise (16 weeks instead of 8) and they will have less white meat and more dark meat. However, they will be able to live happier, healthier lives, get more of their food from our great pastures, and we hope that the flavor will be excellent. Let us know what you think about the Buckeyes!