Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week Seven.. Chicken Move Out

Wow time is flying by, it is week seven already of my internship. We started out by moving the broiler birds out of the barn and onto the pasture.  We found these chickens running to the new patch of pasture and it makes moving them more enjoyable because they have such a positive reaction.  This breed of broilers is a very aggressive forager and we find ourselves moving the chicken tractor multiple times a day.  We ordered another 50 meat birds and should be picking them up this week.  This time we ordered Cornish giants.  I placed another set of eggs (41 to be exact) in the incubator on 7/19. Hopefully we have a better success rate with this batch.  Greg and I built a permanent brooder so that no predators can go after the newly hatched chicks and we started building the second chicken tractor for the Cornish giants.
      When I returned this week, two more calves had a slight fever due to a naval infection.  This week Greg taught me how to draw medicine with a syringe and how to properly inject the calf by checking to make sure you don't pierce a vein before injecting the medication.  On one of the days we where giving the calves shots I had to hold one calve by myself as Greg ran to the medicine cabinet to grab something he had forgotten.  As Greg came back the calf was startled and tried to ran away as I was holding it.  The calf managed to knock me onto the ground causing me to land in a pile of cow manure, but I didn't let go and held onto it until Greg finished giving it a needle. All we could do was laugh.  I showed him who was boss.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 6

This is week six of my internship and the weather was a little cooler this week. The meat birds are ready to be moved out of their brooder and onto the pasture but because of the rain storm, we have to delay this until next week. 18 of the eggs in the incubator hatched and 15 of them were moved into the brooder. With this batch we had a bad hatch rate. This could have happened due to the fluctuating temperatures inside the incubator and the number of eggs that were fertile. Unfortunately I received a phone call last night with bad news that an animal had found it's way into the brooder area and ate all 15 baby chicks. Luckily, the 51 broilers where unharmed. I guess this is something you need to be prepared for while living on a farm.

     On the bright side, the few calves that had the infection are doing better and we are now up to a total of 7 calves. We are still waiting on 3 more heifers to calve. I was able to help bottle feed a calf this week that was looking a little "runt-like" and what a challenge that was. First I had to help Jeanmarie catch the calf as she bottle fed it. Two week old calves are a lot stronger then you think. After multiple tries I finally was able to catch and hold on to it.

Greg and I unloaded 2 hay wagons and 1 straw wagon this week and I finished the rest of the week out visiting the Stockton farmers market.

 Meat Birds at 3 weeks

New Chicks

Week Four & Five-To Hot to Handle

I will start by letting you know that I have combined my last two weeks into one blog post. Due to the temperatures in New Jersey continuing to stay in the upper 90's and as high as the low 100's, there have been no new projects started at the farm. However, we were able to get the chicken project up and running this week. We purchased our first batch of 51 Red Broilers from Moyer's Hatchery located in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The farm also has a new part time worker name Lily. She had visited the farm through a Girl Scout trip and she became interested in the chickens. Lily and I are working together to tend to the chickens, which includes feeding and supplying water for both the meat birds and the egg layers as well as collecting eggs. She also is helping to set up the brooder for the Red Broiler chicks.
     The first cutting of hay is done and all that is left to do is unload the remaining hay wagons. We unloaded the last two hay wagons this week. With the heat wave, the cows are spending most of their time in the barn so we are now going through a lot more straw then normal, which is used for the bedding. We managed to purchase three wagons of straw from a local farmer so that we have enough to make it through the summer. On the adventurous side, I learned how to drive an ATV this week. I had to spray week killer along the fence lines and the sprayer is attached to the ATV. It was pretty cool.
     So far we have had five calves born. A few of them have had temperatures as high as 105 degrees. After consulting with the vet, we found out that the fever was caused by a naval infection. They decided to give them shots of penicillin, but after a few days the temperature was not dropping. So Jeanmarie and Greg had to try a different medication. They will be administering the new medication for the next few days.

Day Old Chicks

With temps. in the upper 90's the cows sit in the shade most of the day

Chicks at a week old