Chicken tractors, planting, and weeding!

It's been a very busy month on the farm! The weather has finally warmed up, we're getting a good amount of rain (if not a little too much) and our new batch of layers have moved out of their brooder box to the outdoors.

The first couple photos in the gallery below are pictures of our home-built "chicken tractor." A chicken tractor is a mobile enclosure that we will use for our meat chickens permanent home when they are big enough to move outdoors. Chicken tractors allow us to keep our meat chickens in a controlled location but also allow them to forage and be outdoors. We will move the tractor daily so that our chickens always have access to fresh pasture. The enclosure also keeps would-be predators out. It's a win-win situation.

We've put our second batch of layers in our chicken tractor until they are big enough to integrate with our adult layers. This allows our adult chickens to "introduce" themselves to our new chickens without the risk of the new chickens being injured as they re-establish the pecking order. Yes, the pecking order is real thing; it's a social hierarchy of chickens that's established, sometimes by pecking, and each chicken has their own spot.

We were finally able to begin planting in early May - we started with our potatoes and onions and moved onto other early season crops like peas, lettuce and radish. As of this writing, we have planted potatoes, onions, peas, radish, lettuce, carrots, arugula, spinach, swiss chard, popcorn, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, and beets. We've also transplanted our cabbage, broccoli, thyme, oregano, and parsley from their indoor pots to their outdoor locations. It's been a busy couple of weeks!

The warm weather and rain has helped all of our plants germinate quickly (and, unfortunately, the weeds too) and everything we've planted is up. We've begun cultivating our produce to try to get a head start on the weeds. We're also planning on transplanting our tomatoes, peppers, and basil in the coming week.

It's a busy time on the farm and we're loving every minute of it! Check out the photos of our progress below: