12 More Hens and Microgreens!

Why 12 more hens? More Eggs is the answer. So we bought 12 Rhode Island Reds at laying age so we can have eggs and i need to get 20 more. Why do i need so many eggs? Good question and to quote a movie in the theaters currently "when i was a boy i ate 5 dozen eggs....." Thats not why though :). We will no doubt share in the eggs but they are primarily for our pigs which are on the way and slightly delayed. We will not be using any commercial hog feed due to the cost and the fact that all we can get here in Hawaii is GMO and non organic feed. So our pigs will be enjoying the pasture and rooting around for things. They will also be given produce from the garden such as pumpkins and radish's. With all this great food the pigs still need lysine so we can use eggs from our free range chickens to supply that. Hence the need for so many hens! We will boil the eggs which doubles the protein availability and feed them to the pigs in the shell. We can also use dairy for this such as from a milk goat or cow. We are working on that option but for now this is an easy way to get Lysine. The chickens scratch around for bugs and eat the grass and we don't use a layer feed for them either but rather give them the occasional treat of an organic scratch. So this keeps our cost down and allows us to control the quality of the feed much better. To add to that we are planting seed including, Mesclun Mix, Arugula, Tomatillos, Jalepenos, more tomatoes, and herbs ect... We are also starting our first microgreens. Sunflower Shoots, Pea Shoots, and a few others. If you look at the pictures below you will see the boots used for weight on the microgreens. Microgreens were studied by the University of Maryland College of Agriculture (https://agnr.umd.edu/news/mighty-microgreens) and showed to have up to 40 times the nutrients of fully grown vegetables. The amazing thing is you can grow them in 11-15 days depending on what variety. We also put down black plastic to prepare a 50x10 foot area for planting using a minimal to no-till approach which helps with keeping the soil biology healthy and active. So we covered it and now the earthworms which are numerous in our soil will do their work for the next 2-3 weeks. I will post some pictures as the seedlings make their debut. 

-Darrell

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2 Puppies, 10 Chickens, a Ram and and Pigs on the way....

This blog is documenting the journey of my wife Rebekah and I learning how to farm one day at a time and enjoying every minute. We will both be writing about our experiences as we learn how to run a farm here in Hawaii. We have been reading the books and studying for about 7 years on various aspects of farming and we now have a chance thanks to the Good Lord to put it into practice and it should be interesting. So far we have a year old ram, 10 Chickens, and two puppies with 10 baby piglets on the way and we are jumping in with both feet. When i went to pick up the ram with my father in law Tim it was interesting to say the least. I had no plan of how to get him home except thinking somehow i will put him in the back of my truck and tie him up. When we got there i realized this fella isn't just going to jump in at my command. So i proceeded to try and pick him up which went better than expected considering i figured based on youtube of course he may give me a few good kicks and a head but. Thankfully Holstein is a civilized ram and was nice and easy on this newbie. He rode home in the back of the truck like a king and enjoyed his untouched new pasture at the farm. He did leave me a few goodies in the back of the truck but i figured that was fair. Next we took the chicks from the brooder since they were good to be on pasture and put them in with Holstein. So far they are amicable and he occasionally reminds them he is boss of the pasture and moves them over with his head when he wants to get to something they are in the way of. The kids from church have named one of the chickens the only black one Heyhey and he seems to be a favorite. Next in a week or so the 10 pigs come which literally means I "Darrell" have to go find away to pick up 10 piglets an hour away and keep them in the back of the truck the whole way home so i arrive home with 10. Still working on that plan but thats how you learn right! I will post some pictures and the story with it. 

-Darrell