We’re Raising Chickens!

Hi Folks!

In the year elapsed since we last checked in with this blog, Brian and I have both graduated college, spent the summer traveling in Europe, and moved to Burlington, VT. (Or, back to Burlington, for Brian). For both of us, the final year in school was filled with rich learning and time with dear friends, but, whew!, we sure are glad to be done with school! Over the summer, we vacationed in Spain, worked on 3 farms in Italy, and then vacationed in beautiful Sweden.

Brian's graduation from The University of Vermont in May

Brian’s graduation from The University of Vermont in May

We loved tapas and infinitely walkable cities in Spain, but more than anything, the living history in the streets of Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, and Barcelona.

1st century Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

1st century Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

tapas in Barcelona

tapas in Barcelona

The first farm we worked at in Italy was a sheep dairy in the Alpine Foothills, with stunning views and unbelievably good food every single day.

sheep on the hillside in Murazzano, Italy

sheep on the hillside in Murazzano, Italy

The second farm in Italy was on the coast of Tuscany, had 300 dairy sheep, and confirmed that we have no desire to milk sheep ever again. Don’t get me wrong, we love sheep, but milking them is an inefficiency so vast it can only be justified by a centuries-old local market for their cheese.

shepherding down the road in Tuscany

shepherding down the road in Tuscany

The third farm was further up into the mountains of Tuscany, where our host processed fruits and grains into macrobiotic products such as miso sauce.

Brian with Luna the dog, who we fell in love with in Tuscany

Brian with Luna the dog, who we fell in love with in Tuscany

To finish off the trip, we spent 2 weeks in Sweden staying with and old friend of my mom near Stockholm and then camping in the county of Dalarna in central Sweden. The clean, cold, lakes; abundant blueberries; and near-utopian society absolutely won our hearts. If we ever get the chance to go traveling again I would love to visit other parts of Scandinavia.

sunset in Orsa, Sweden

sunset in Orsa, Sweden

sunset in Rättvik, Sweden

sunset in Rättvik, Sweden

Now that Brian and I are settled back in Vermont, we are proud to announce that our very first independent farm project is under way. We are raising meat chickens, and are lucky enough to have the use of Jean and Briana’s (Brian’s parents) new farm in Hinesburg, Vermont for this endeavor. We got to Vermont on a Thursday night, Brian started his job at Pomykala Farm the next morning, over the weekend we built a brooding pen, and on Wednesday, August 31st, 59 baby chicks arrived in the mail.

new arrivals

new arrivals

Since then they have been eating Green Mountain Feeds organic chick starter mash and growing astonishingly fast. They were fuzzy and adorable for the first few days, and then they began the ugly process of becoming chickens.

eating eating eating!!!

eating eating eating!!!

getting feathers

getting feathers

Soon they will be ready to venture out to the pasture! This past weekend, Brian and I started construction on their pasture shelters, which will be simple 8’x8’x2.5′ wood frames wrapped in chicken wire with a tarp for shade and rain shelter.

first pasture coop framed

first pasture coop framed

We chose the most common commercial breed, which are a hybrid called Cornish Cross. This breed is by far the fastest-growing broiler chicken available, so they will be ready to slaughter and eat by their 7th week of life. We hope to provide them with comfortable lives full of organic feed, sunlight, and lush Vermont grass before they go on to give life and nourishment to our neighbors and friends (and us!) throughout the winter.

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