Sunday night is gear-up night. We’ve found that picking up chickens at night makes the job a lot easier. Chickens (and other fowl) don’t move at night. That makes them easy prey for nocturnal hunters, including chicken farmers. The guys go out after dark, simply lift the chicken tractors off the sleeping birds, and begin filling transport cages. That solves the problem of climbing into a two foot high tractor to catch highly activated birds. It also helps reduce stress on the birds because they do stay sedentary instead of becoming highly activated. Night is a quiet time for a bird, so picking them up for the next day’s processing works out well. This week we began the summer routine, meaning late nights for us, but fresh pastured poultry for you!

On another note, our Jersey dairy cow finally had her calf. He is getting a slow start, so we’ve had to milk her and bottle him. Today Mark got the vacuum operated milking machine working. What a wonderful thing! It took him 5 minutes to milk the cow tonight, where I spent 30 minutes this morning and had a stiff back when I got done. The other bonus to a milking machine is that the mechanically minded men are happy to do the chore! Rosie actually didn’t like Joe helping me hand milk, which wasn’t encouraging. But to do that tedious job with a machine means I can make supper and get kids through the bath before bed. Plus, we are looking forward to fresh butter, cheese, and milk. The goats provided drinking milk, but we didn’t care for the hard cheeses and butter is nearly impossible. So our large family now has a cow to milk and enjoy!