Yea, I know, it's copywrited, but this is how food should be raised
(from pages 2121-212). This is just a little taste of the book, it's
really a fascinating read, I know many of you here who are concerned
with our food supply would like it, Michael Poulan's style writing is
very entertaining and informative:
Joel climbed onto the tractor, threw it into gear, and slowly towed
the rickety contraption fifty yards or so across the meadow to a
paddock the cattle had vacated three days earlier. It seems the
chickens eschew fresh manure, so he waits three or four days before
bringing them in - but not a day longer. That's because the fly
larvae in the manure are on a four-day cycle, he explained. "Three
days is ideal. That gives the grubs a chance to fatten up nicely, the
way the hens like them, but not quite long enough to hatch into
flies." The result is prodigious amounts of protein for the hens, the
insects supplying as much as a third of their total diet - and making
their eggs unusually rich and tasty. By means of this simple little
management trick, Joes is able to use his cattle's waste to '"grow"
large quantities of high-protein chicken feel for free; he says this
trains his cost of producing eggs by twenty-five cents per dozen.
(Very much his accountant father's son, Joel can tell you the exact
economic implications of every synergy on the farm.) The cows further
oblige the chickens by shearing the grass; chickens can't navigate in
grass more than about six inches tall.
After Joel had maneuvered the Eggmobile into position, he opened the
trapdoor, and an eager, gossipy procession of Barred Rocks, Rhode
Island Reds, and New Hampshire Whites filed down the little ramp,
fanning out across the pasture. The hens picked at the grasses,
especially the clover, but mainly they were all over the cowpats,
doing this frantic backward-stepping break-dance with their claws to
scratch apart the caked manure and expose the meaty morsels within.
Unfolding here before us, I realized, was a most impressive form of
alchemy: cowpatties in the process of being transformed into
exceptionally tasty eggs.
"I'm convinced an Eggmobile would be worth it even if the chickens
never laid a single egg. These birds do a more effective job of
sanitizing a pasture than anything human, mechanical, or chemical, and
the chickens love doing it" Because of the Eggmobile, Joes doesn't
have to run his cattle through a headgate to slather Ivomectrin, a
systemic paraciticide, on their hides or worm them with toxic
chemicals. This is what Joel means when he says the animals do the
real work around here. "I'm just the orchestra conductor, making sure
everyone's in the right place at the right time."
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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