Chicken butchering day

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The littlest farmer helps by filling up the scalding tank!
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We are thankful for Sarah who is an invaluable part of our butchering process. This is where the magic happens.
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Schroeder is also good at dunking the birds too!
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What we’ve been up to in 2014

The lack of posts is not indicative of lack of activity on the farm. From making hay to birthing livestock to processing poultry, it’s been a busy spring. For those interested in antibiotic-free, pastured meat chickens, we are doing our last round of butchering until fall this Saturday, so be sure to get your order in before then so we can add you to our list. They keep well in the freezer and provide 1-3 meals for your family, depending on size. We like to roast it and eat it with mashed potatoes the first day, then make either chicken noodles, casseroles, or chicken salad the next days. But I digress…back to the new babies…

We had four lambs this spring. Two ewes and two rams. We’ll save one of the rams for breeding and raise one for meat. Lucy will get to show one of the ewe lambs at the fair this fall since this is her first year in 4-H. Here’s some nice pictures of momma after giving birth…lambs stand up pretty soon, with some gentle cleaning and nudging from their mom.

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And soon get busy having their first meal.

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After keeping each mom with her baby(ies) for 24 hours or so, they can all go back in the flock together.

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We even did some milking this spring and Andy loved the taste of it. We stored some up in the freezer in case we’d need to bottle feed at some point.

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We had to buy new bees this spring as we lost all but one hive. Andy’s dad came over to help him as he is going to start keeping bees this year too.

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Piglets! Much to my shock we ended up with pigs on the farm again (thank you craigslist). We bred this sow to the neighbor’s boar and ended up with a litter of 12 (after 2 died). They are super cute, and momma is super protective.

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I do love how she seems to be smiling here.

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We also had kittens on the farm this spring, and their momma is an excellent mouser/ratter. We had one loose in the house and we coaxed her in (she is a stray and must’ve been a house cat before us). She found it within minutes and then we coaxed her back out so she could feed her babies.

 

And one parting shot of the sheep out on pasture. The lambs are so cute to watch as the bounce around.

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Again, we’ll have fresh chicken this weekend and currently have freezer lamb and rabbit, and eggs for sale. We’re also taking orders for Thanksgiving turkeys now, as we’ll only raise the number ordered. Feel free to stop on Sundays for farm visits.

Lamb for sale this fall

Our four spring lambs are due to be processed this fall and we are currently taking orders. They are Tunis sheep (part of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste and a very old breed) and have been grass-fed. The meat is very mild tasting (as denoted in this neat article) and low in fat.

Prices are $165/half and $300/whole plus there is a $60 processing fee per lamb. The buyer is able to chose the cuts they desire. We *might* have individual cuts available but prices will vary.

Feel free to contact us here or via email for more information!

Happy New Year!

Wow, I am just now realizing how long it has been since I’ve blogged here! I’ll try to catch you up on our farm happenings. November was a crazy month at the farm. We had to get the place ready to host Andy’s family of over two dozen, and we also butchered the meat chickens and fifteen Thanksgiving turkeys. The turkeys were done the weekend before Thanksgiving and we learned that many of our customers loved having a fresh bird to prepare. The best part of farm life is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, while showing people how their food is raised and processed.

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The turkeys almost ready to eat!

We also had two litters of rabbits born. A mix of New Zealand and Chinchilla.

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Baby rabbits and momma

In December we moved the chickens and rabbits into the chicken house, the sheep into the barn, and butchered the a small batch of turkeys for Christmas. Chore time is a little easier now, thankfully, because we are learning that this is going to be a snowy Ohio winter.

The new year brings new goals, ideas, and challenges for our farm. We hope to expand our operation and meet some new friends and customers by selling at local farmers markets. On-farm sales will continue as well. We feel blessed to be able to be have this opportunity and look forward to serving your local food needs in the coming years.

The Life of a Meat Chicken, Week 8

No, your math isn’t off…we skipped a week in blogging as we were on vacation. A rarity in the farming world, this was made possible by the generous help from some new friends, family, and neighbors. The chickens grow rapidly during the final two weeks of their life and you can tell a big difference in them compared to two weeks ago. We will be butchering again soon so place your order now.

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Too much turkey!

What were you doing the Thursday before Christmas? Baking, shopping or prepping for your holiday meal? We were doing the latter here at Wrightway farm. We had 8 turkeys to butcher and although I would’ve rather been sleeping on that gloomy day with the forecast for rain, I sucked it up and went out to help. I will say from the start that Andy and I successfully butchered eight turkeys. It took us a while to figure out our system…which was helped by the delivery of the turkey restraining cone at 10:30 via the FedEx truck. Andy fixed it to a board and put the wheelbarrow underneath to catch the blood. We borrowed the neighbor’s turkey fryer base (which, by the way, we are looking for a great deal on our own turkey fryer) and used the metal trash can for scalding. Then we set up the processing table with the big cutting board. With the first bird, I tried to do the scalding part, but quickly learned that the birds were just too heavy for me. Also key to a good scald is just the right amount of dish soap to break the surface tension and allow the feathers to loosen.

Here are the turkeys fully grown.

Like I was saying, we started on the first bird…and then the rain came. So, thinking quickly, we moved the processing station up to the front porch where we put it on a slope so that I could wash it down easily. And after quickly reading the chapter on processing in Andy’s Christmas present, I got to work. I became the processer, and Andy did the killing, scalding and plucking. After four birds were done, two of our customers arrived to pick up their birds. One of our customers, Karen, is a photographer and took some pictures which I hope to show you here. I am quickly learning that the best part of being on a farm is sharing what we have learned and visiting with new and old friends.

Andy prepping the cooloers for chilling.

After they left we went to work on the remaining four birds and finished up about 6pm. Later that night I think I had a little bit of post traumatic stress as I kept thinking about what I had done. But again, like the chickens, I saw how we had raised the birds and I saw how we killed the birds, and how little stress was truly involved in their lives.

On Christmas day we had a feast with one of our birds and some fabulous gravy (made by boiling the neck with veggies and using that as the base). We will probably raise turkeys again next year, but for Thanksgiving, as this December weather was not fun for processing.

We hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and we will you all the best for a great 2012!

Turkey for sale

We’re going to be processing turkeys for the holidays later this week. We probably have 5 to sell. Let me know if you’d like to buy one for your celebrations. We’re hoping to save a couple for ourselves, saving the meat in sections to make for easier prep, and learning how to make ground turkey!