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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

July 6, 2015
Hey blog readers, I hope summer has found you! The weather here has been cool and nice with very few hot,  humid days. The poults (baby turkeys) and Dominique chix are growing well and strong. The poults are flying now, getting into all sorts of trouble. The past two evenings, they, along with their Dominique siblings and momma are roosting in the Mulberry tree. I chase them out, they are objecting and flying. I have to "herd" them to their condo unit. I have been collecting Gypsy Moth pupae in a quart yogurt container twice a day and feeding the larvae to the little ones. The protein content and little fat is helping them grow! They love the pupae and eat them out of my hand. The process of collection is gross and very smelly, but the effort is worth every minute spent reducing the population of moths to hatch and is free food for the growing babies. The ducks have decided to chime in at feeding time but the other hens keep their distance since momma hen will chase them away from the food.

The Gypsy Moths are hatching, about 2 - 3 weeks earlier than usual this year. Today, the larvae were hatching in the yogurt cup as I collected. When I got back to the feeding area, there were many hatched moths when there were only larvae collected. I did capture some females, too. They hatched, moved about three inches, mated and were laying eggs, all within minutes! The males are flying around, aimlessly, searching for the scent of the females. Many pupae have rotted and and the fluid that comes out really STINKS badly. I have to scrub my hands several times with soap and scrub brush to remove the odor.

I have been nurturing some small areas of newly planted clovers and they are doing well. If the areas planted are not fenced off from the birds, they eat all the emerging sprouts, so I have fenced most areas. Some of the fence had openings large enough to admit the chix and poults, I can see the difference in what is growing vs. the areas with smaller openings that didn't admit the little, hungry beaks!

Sadly, most trees & flowers bloomed very ahead of schedule, so rather than have a steady stream of blooming plants & trees for the pollinators, there are gaps. I do have lots of milkweed blooming now and an invasion of Maple Spanworm Moths in my poultry yards. These little, white moths are very pretty and in evening, cover the milkweed blooms and circle on the milkweed leaves in a counter-clockwise direction. Hundreds, even thousands of them are fluttering around. The poults chase and sometimes catch one. The overall experience is quite enthralling, it is like reverse snow.

Well, I am procrastinating working on my DR brush mower. I need a new clutch cable and have to do the work. I hate working on machines! Especially this one, for this is a catch-22 situation. In order to see if the cable is properly adjusted, you have to start the motor. That takes gas. In order to make adjustments, you have to drain the gas. So, most time is spent draining and refilling the gas tank!

Enjoy the summer months, those of us who are not in the South West where it is unreasonably hot, or in the North West where new heat records are broken daily. Now, if we could just moderate the temps so we are not in extremes from one day to the next!

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.