Polyface Farm Summer Internship: Week Five


| 8/1/2014 10:43:00 AM


Tags: Kristen Kilfoyle, Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm, internship, New Hampshire,

Hi everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable 4th of July! This week was a bit abbreviated simply because of the holiday, but there was still a lot of firsts for me. 

Monday, June 30th

poultry houseThis week, my morning chore was to work with Joel Salatin and assist in the moving of the Egg Mobile (the movable chicken coop that houses the free range laying hens) and other assorted farm tasks that need attention. The Eggmobile is moved using a tractor every other day, but did not need to be moved that morning. On days where the Eggmobile does not need to be moved, our responsibilities are to open the nest boxes, which are kept closed at night so the layers won’t sleep in them/mess them up, and check to make sure the birds are all set with food and water. After we did this, we went to one of the fence lines where the neighbor’s cows had gotten through and cut back the brush and plants that had grown up around the area to give the cows better visibility of the barrier. This is good to do even if the neighbors cows aren’t giving you trouble, as branches and such touching the wire can weaken the charge of the fence.

The rest of the day was spent building another Gobbledego. A Gobbledego is a mobile shade structure used for the turkeys and we built our maiden one last week. We will need to build two more shade structures for the pigs, which will be slightly simpler since they won’t need the roosting bars notched in. I anticipate we will be building those within the next few weeks. Since we had built a Gobbledego last week, we were able to build most of it between four interns, but we needed more hands on deck once it came time to lift the two halves and screw them together.

Tuesday, July 1st

Tuesday morning, the Eggmobile needed to be moved. Moving is a pretty straightforward process. The night before, the doors are closed on the coops while the chickens are inside sleeping. We attach the Egg Mobile to the tractor, move it to its desired location, detach it from the tractor, open the doors and then open the nest boxes. The birds are also fed using a bulk feeder, which needs to be filled every few days, so we also took care of that. After we finished with the laying hens, we went and checked on the fence line we had cleared yesterday to make sure nothing had gotten through. (Nothing had.) After breakfast, one of my roommates, Alicia, and I worked with Joel to clear another fence line on the farm. This was more intensive than yesterday’s fence line, as we were clearing saplings, low branches from trees, thickets of tangled thorny plants and all kinds of brush. It was hard work, as Joel is pretty handy with the chainsaw and there was lots of brush coming our way. One bonus was that we hacked down some raspberry plants so I got to trash pick some of the berries before they went in the pile.




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