This is a reprint so I have a record of what farm chores at The Wallow were like in April 2011 when Joshua wrote this. I also have a post of what my chores were like in October 2012.
Chores at The Wallow, April 2011
By Joshua Bardwell
originally posted at Jack-Booted Liberal
I thought it might be interesting to share the chores at The Wallow with you.
- Let the chickens out of their coop in the morning.
- Check the chickens’ food and water.
- Collect the eggs. The chickens usually lay one egg a day. They never lay more than one egg, and sometimes lay fewer.
- Toss a few handfuls of scratch grains in the chickens’ area. This keeps them interested and makes it less likely that they’ll get out during the day. They can get out at will, but they usually don’t. The electric fence is more about keeping dogs out than them in.
- Check on the pigs and the sheep. Nothing specific, just make sure that all is as it should be.
- Check on the chicks. Make sure they’re not out of food and water and lay down more straw if there’s a lot of manure. I’m doing deep bedding with them, so I don’t change their litter every day.
- Check on the seedlings and see if they need water.
- If it hasn’t rained in a week or so (which hasn’t been a problem yet this spring), turn on the soaker hoses.
- During the early summer, open the windows at night and close them in the morning. During the height of summer, they stay open all the time with fans going.
- If we start milking the sheep, that’ll be a daily chore, either morning or night.
All day, all the time
- Let the cats in and out as desired by Their Feline Highnesses.
- Feed the pigs. We’re only feeding them once a day, and keeping them on mildly short rations, to encourage them to forage more in the field. The more calories they get in the field, the fewer we have to buy for them.
- Check the pigs’ fence. Make sure all the posts are firmly in the ground and that dirt isn’t piled up on it, grounding it out and making the electricity not work. The pigs root right up to the fence, so they regularly pile dirt up onto it.
- The pigs have a 55-gallon drum with nipple waterers, so their water doesn’t need checking or refilling often.
- Most days, we work with the sheep on halter training. We’re trying to get the sheep used to being on a halter and being led by us, to make it easier to move them around the property. The details of this are a topic that is worthy of its own post.
Every 3-5 days
- Go out with a hoe and weed the garden beds. As long as I stay on top of this, it’s pretty quick and easy. Nothing gets well established; the seedlings scrape easily off the surface.
- Move the sheep to a new paddock. We set up one electric net fence adjacent to the one they’re in, then raise a section of fence and run them from one to the other.
- Check the sheep’s water. They get most of their fluid from the grass, so they don’t drink much water, although we provide it if they want it.
Every 10 days
- Move the pigs to a new area. Issa has them on a rotation where they move through about six different areas, ten days at a time. In between, she seeds each area with clover, rapeseed, a few grasses, and buckwheat, so that by the time the pigs come back, some new stuff has grown up for them to eat.
- Seed the pigs’ last area.
Every 6-10 weeks
- Mow, as needed, depending on how the sheep are keeping up with it.
Every few months
- Change the litter for the chickens. I’m doing deep bedding with them, so this doesn’t need to get done very often. The old litter goes into the compost.
- Turn the compost piles. Technically, you’re supposed to do this more often, but we’re lazy composters. It takes longer, but everything still seems to break down okay, and it’s much less work.