Polyface Farm Summer Internship: Week Ten

| 9/2/2014 10:56:00 AM

Monday, August 4th 

This week’s morning chore was to work with the rabbits. Polyface’s rabbits are housed in a few different spots; the Racken, which is the hoophouse where the older laying hens sanitize the rabbit droppings, the big barn and in Hare Pens, mobile rabbit shelters placed in different central spots on the farm. My duties entailed feeding and watering all the rabbits in the Hare Pens and in the barn. When those were done, I’d check in with Hannah, our apprentice in charge of the rabbits, who was usually in the Racken feeding, breeding various pairs, keeping records and checking on the new babies. Some days I’d need to fill the bulk feeders for the hens that live in the Racken and other days entailed gathering comfrey leaves to feed the rabbits who aren’t on pasture. I really liked working with the rabbits. They’re quiet and cute and a nice way to start the day.

After breakfast, Hannah and I went to pick up calves at a farm about an hour from Polyface. I was really excited to go partly because I am a big fan of Hannah, but I also wanted to check out another cattle operation. This particular farm had a really nice sorting and loading area all under roof and the calves very calmly loaded up onto the trailer. Originally, I had been a bit apprehensive about how it would be hauling twenty +/- 500lb calves over an hour on the freeway, but they were well behaved the entire way back. Once we returned to Polyface, we sorted out the heifers from the steers, weighed them and gave them a new ear tag. Since the calves were so calm, it was a good chance for me to learn how to remove the old tag and put a new one in through the existing ear tag hole. We then brought the steers up to join the Polyface herd while the heifers went to a different herd at one of the rental properties.

Tuesday, August 5th

Tuesday was a comfrey day for the rabbits. After giving them their feed, I would take two five gallon buckets and harvest comfrey from one of the several comfrey patches on the farm. I like giving the rabbits their greens. It gives me a chance to check on each one and get to see the new babies.

The rest of the day we spent chipping, stacking and unloading wood. I did notice we were messing around with some logs that had these peculiar looking vines on them which I believe lead to a rip snorting case of poison ivy that manifested a day or so later. Oh well, such is the life of someone with sensitive skin. It was a good day and we got a lot done, but I was definitely tired. And itchy.

Wednesday, August 6th

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