Points of Interest on the Salatin Family Farm


| 4/7/2020 1:57:00 PM


Eggmobiles 

Although the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR team is currently “hunkered down” in response to stay-at-home guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still planning to host the FAIR at Polyface Farm in July! One of the things we are most excited about for this unique event is the opportunity to highlight in-person several special facets that are critical to the successful operation of the farm. We are calling these areas “Points of Interest.” They will be on display ongoing throughout the two days, and we will schedule special gathering times around each one so that a Polyface representative can discuss how they are important to the fabric of the entire operation.

Points of Interest

Management-Intensive Grazing
At Polyface Farm, farmers move cows to a new paddock every day. That requires portable water, portable fencing, and portable shade. Those are the tools of the trade. The art is knowing how much area to allot, computing cow days, and giving adequate rest periods. On most farms, moving cows is a bit of an ordeal; at Polyface, a simple call brings them running. The result of this system is increased fertility, increased production, and a vegetative mosaic that stimulates pollinators and wildlife.

Hoop Houses
Most hoop houses are built for vegetable production, but at Polyface, hoop houses provide comfortable winter housing for poultry, rabbits, and pigs. The other 250 days of the year, the hoop houses shelter vegetables or — as will be obvious during the FAIR — serve as great staging areas for events and seminars! Built for both plants and animals, these dual-purpose structures are relatively cheap housing alternatives that can generate cash year-round from widely different enterprises. Plus, diverse enterprises help reduce pathogens and encourage cash flow throughout the year.

Brooder
Starting chicks is both science and art. In both stationary and portable brooders, you’ll see techniques for comfort and hygiene to get both chickens and turkeys off to a good start. Bedding, temperature, water, grit, feed, and ventilation all come into play with these simple home-built structures. Anyone who sees these functional brooders will realize that scaling up is doable.



The ‘Raken’ House
Multifunctional infrastructure is a theme across the Polyface landscape. This combination rabbit-chicken (“raken”) house uses the permaculture stacking concept to enjoy cubic footage rather than just linear floor footage. Rabbits in hutches at eye level and chickens on the floor provide symbiosis. Chickens aerate the rabbit bedding to stimulate composting, and rabbits enjoy an ammonia-free living environment. In winter, pigs practice deep tillage and ready the structure for spring cleaning.





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