Amy is a writer, waldorf-inspired teacher, baker, wannabe homestead organic farmer, and mother of two children. She enjoys living in the mountains of New Hampshire with her husband and family, but misses the rolling waves of the sea. Her writing is often inspired by the little moments caught in between big memories and things rustling in the treetops. Recently, she has transformed her kitchen into a homestead kitchen providing gluten free and decadent pastries to the community at Ashera Fine Baking.
Brian loves working on the homestead with his hands. The grass is cut with a manual reel mower, the driveway is shoveled, and the trees are felled by ax. He also enjoys amateur woodworking and figuring out how to fix the family car himself.
Together we cook, write, grow and raise our own food, and hope to guide our children into the world with a strong connection to nature, art, and home.
2 thoughts on “About Us”
Hello from Davenport, Iowa! I have just spent 2 hours reading your wonderful narratives, and I look forward to continuing, to reading them again, and to following your processes. I have a couple of questions regarding the raising of Cornish cross birds. I plan to follow your 30 minutes, twice a day, feeding. I have lush pasture with lots of play areas, fenced against air and ground predators, and mature layers + 2 roosters to entertain them, outside of their own space. 1) Do you feed the same meat bird feed, start to finish? 2) With this method, how many weeks until processing? 3) Would you recommend spring to mid-summer (right now) or late summer to fall for the comfort of these birds? I must work around the end of July’s vacation. THANK YOU!!! Ann
Hello Ann! Thanks for checking us out! It sounds like you have a great setup for raising some healthy birds! Your questions come at an absolutely perfect time, because we got our first flock of chicks of 2018 TODAY! We’ll definitely post some pics or videos of them to Instagram later on.
Here are answers to your questions:
1. We start our broilers off with organic chick “starter” feed, and give that to them for about 2 weeks while they are brooding. When the bags of starter feed start to run out we mix in organic “grower” feed, and feed that to them until the day before processing. On processing day we make sure they are on fresh, green pasture and they get plenty of water. Also, starting at around 4 weeks will give them light vegetable scraps to peck at in between feedings, such as lettuce ends.
2. We typically process our broilers in two batches to divide up the work, at 7 weeks and 8 weeks. This is mainly due to preference for the size of bird we put in our freezer or sell. In our experience, at 7 weeks we end up with birds that weigh around 4-5+ lbs when fully processed, and at 8 weeks we see them anywhere from 5-7 lbs fully processed. One year we waited until about 9.5 weeks and some of the birds were simply huge, over 9 lbs!
3. This is a tough one, since I think both options have their trade offs. We usually raise our birds from the spring into summer. I think this is a psychological thing we do so we can get the labor out of the way as soon as the weather permits! We haven’t had many issues with heat affecting the birds negatively–it is key to make sure they ALWAYS have access to clean water on the hot days, and we make sure to cover the tractors with a tarp to give them shade, but leave the sides uncovered for free flowing air.
However, I think if you really want to do the best you can to ensure the comfort of the birds, it might be ideal to go for late summer into fall, since you would be brooding on the hottest days of the year, and they need to be warmer when brooding anyway, and then when they are outside the weather is cooler and they can be more comfortable. And once birds have their feathers, the cold doesn’t cause too many problems, as long as they stay dry (wet, cold birds are not happy healthy birds!). Also–I don’t have any data or research to support this, but I suspect that broilers put on more fat in the colder weather, which can be good or bad depending on your culinary preference. If you do decide to go for last summer into fall, keep in mind that the later you wait to start, the colder your processing day could be! One year we were processing in early November here in NH and it was very cold!
If you have any more questions let us know, we’re happy to offer advice! Best wishes and enjoy your food to the fullest!