Saturday May 18, 2013
Training dogs on the farm requires a large investment of time and energy. You must be devoted to teaching your dogs commands, generalizing to different settings, and maintaining them by working them regularly. There are many uses for dogs on the farm: they can serve as livestock guardians, herd sheep or other animals, or simply provide personal protection from unwanted intruders. Many farmers also hunt and use dogs to retrieve waterfowl or flush game birds.
Training can take many forms. Electronic collars, when used correctly and judiciously, can be a positive addition to the toolbox. We have had great success working with our rather dominant dog with an e-collar and a professional trainer. The Sportdog 1225 is what we've used, and I've written a thorough review of it.
Tuesday May 14, 2013
Baby salad greens are a great addition to your small farm. They're very popular with CSA shareholders, as salads are a staple in many households, and more tender and easier to prepare than entire heads of lettuce. As a farmer, you can use the cut-and-come-again method to have a continuous harvest from the same seed for much of the season.
Growing and washing baby salad greens can be a little challenging, as they require some special handling, but once you've got the infrastructure in place, they can be a great seller.
Tuesday May 7, 2013
If you just got baby chicks this spring, they may be ready to branch out beyond the chick starter that you've been feeding them. There are lots of "extras" that chickens enjoy and some that even enhance their health. And you can feed them kitchen scraps -- they are like live compost machines! But be careful because some kitchen foods are not good for them, or can give their eggs an off taste. Learn about what's good and what's not, and whether you should supplement with grit, oyster shell, or cracked corn.
Sunday April 28, 2013
Finances, business licenses, business plans -- if you're starting a farm business, you might be wondering where to begin. And if you're starting the farm itself at the same time, you've got animals, crops, and equipment to think about. Or perhaps you need to start at ground zero: buying or leasing the right farm.
It can seem overwhelming. And spring is already well under way. I've assembled a couple of overviews for you, with links to deeper, more detailed information on each topic. Sometimes the big picture is what you need, and sometimes the details are where you need to focus. Enjoy!