On the farm the warmer weather is welcomed because our tasks and chores are much easier than in the cold weather, however there is a bit of apprehension as we ramp up to our summer outdoor production. There just seems to be so much to do. We first must let the land dry out, let the snow melt out of the chicken shelters, move the shelters and start cleaning and preparing them to receive our outdoor flocks. We use electric netting for predator control, so we have to check the netting for holes and make repairs. The water pipeline from our dugout that waters all the livestock needs checking, cleaning and repairing. This is kilometers of water pipe and hundreds of valves. Fixing and repairing fences, buildings and different infrastructure all need to be done. With this years late spring there are so many things to do in a very short time.
In the spring the layers are the first to placed outdoors in their shelters. We try to have them move out of their winter home by the middle of May weather permitting. That we are flexible when we put them outside is important when raising birds outside in Alberta. In the 20+ years that we have been raising chickens outdoors we have had several large snowstorms in the spring interrupt our plans to put the birds out and have had to postpone moving them outside for a week or so. The broilers are moved out next and our target for them to be in their chicken shelters is the end of May. The broilers are fully feathered by the time we move them out of their brooding houses, but the nights can still be very cold late May, so we watch the forecast to make sure that the nights aren’t too cold for the small chickens. The pigs are raised outdoors year-round, but we will move them to their moveable shelters once their water lines have been checked and shelters repaired from any winter damage. It is so exciting to see the pigs race around their shelters enjoying the fresh new grass. We will start grazing our cattle on the new grass in a few weeks when the new grass has had a chance to establish itself. We have to be mindful not to hurt the topsoil or to overgraze the early grass because we want our grass to be lush for a whole season.
We have farmed for over 20 years now and have found that the weather is different every year. It isn’t sunny, 20 C with a slight breeze every day so with our experience hopefully we can anticipate any weather-related issues that may arise. The weather forecasting is much better now, so this can help us be proactive and prepared for cold snaps and warm weather.
Now that the warm weather is here It is full speed ahead to get ready for summer and hopefully we will be blessed with an “average” summer. Working with the weather and mother nature is just part of what we do to provide clean pure food for your you and your families.