Essex Farm Note

Week 13, 2017

Birds birds birds. I hit the avian wall this week, with 180 chicks and 8 goslings brooding in the house. Too much dust, noise, and odor, even for a family that is not exactly new to those things. One night I dreamed I was sleeping in a pet store. The next day I sent an SOS text to the team, asking (begging) for help in getting a non-domestic space ready for the next batch of chicks. There were a lot of other big projects on the docket this week, but they heard my desperation and made it happen. The new chicks are in the garage, where they are not quite as cozy as the house chicks were, but I’m a happier person. Thanks, team.

            The weather this week went from too cold to too muddy. So it is at the end of March. We had a few small runs in the sugarbush, and we see the end of the season approaching. Speaking of sugaring, we are welcoming a new farmer this week. Joseph grew up driving teams of draft horses as well as buggy horses and while he has not driven for ten years, it’s not a skill one tends to forget. He piloted Jake and Abby through the muddy sugarbush like the pro he is. He will also be picking up a bunch of milking shifts, and doing other general work here. Welcome, Joseph, we’re so glad you’re here.

            We hit a bump in the broiler chicks this year. The chicks were not growing well, and did not feather out as expected. Broilers grow fast, which makes their nutrition extremely important. We mix our own feed here, and a nutrient analysis showed that we were off on our protein content. It was a combination of mistakes in measurement, in moisture levels, and, probably, in improper roasting of the soy that we used, which made the protein that should have been in it unavailable. We ordered a ton of commercial organic chick starter, and have watched them take off like little rockets.

            In other news, the brassicas in the greenhouse are growing like crazy. The hoop house is seeded to greens, hooray. We are struggling with the mud but it wouldn’t be the north country without a few weeks of mud season. And that is the short note from Essex Farm for this nearly-April 13th week of 2017. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on instagram, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball