The past week has been amazing. Spring is really starting to show itself, with blue skies and warm weather. Our pastures have really come to life recently, with some of the grasses growing almost a foot in just a week's time. It's amazing how quickly plants will respond to nice weather.
The hogs and chickens have certainly taken notice of the weather as well. The chickens have setup a couple great dust bathing spots in the sun and are eagerly searching for the many bugs that are now showing themselves. The pigs are starting to shift back into grazing mode.
For most of the winter, the hogs were sustained on produce that was brought onto the farm. However, with fresh, lush grass all around them, they're favoring the pasture over the produce. I sat with them for a while today and observed their curious behavior. They would stoll around looking for the greenest, most dense clump of pasture they could find and would tear into it whole heartedly. And when it was time for a break, they'd stroll over to their pile of tomatoes and plop down right in the middle, ready for a little siesta.
Spring is also the time for animal reproduction, and it's evident by the behavior we're seeing. The hog who is furthest along with her pregnancy is getting large and slow. She'll still come trotting across the pasture for a belly rub when she sees me, but her gait is slower and more deliberate. We also ended up with a very broody hen this week. She claimed stake to a nest and wouldn't budge. To keep the rest of the hens laying consistently, we moved Ms. Broody to a private pen with a nest full of fertilized chicken and duck eggs. The incubation period for chicken and duck eggs are almost a week different, but figured this would be a fun experiment nonetheless.
With spring in the air and our first batch of chickens back from the butcher, it's time to fire up the grill and enjoy a pasture raised chicken. There's a lot of great things coming this year and we're excited to share them with you!