The mild winter (2013-14) certainly helped make life easier on Hall Farm this year – for us and our freerange chickens!
The warmer weather has meant we’ve been able to have the chickens out in the fields and mobile sheds for the majority of the winter, which helps keep the feeding costs down.
If the winter weather is bad our chickens can’t go out – and chickens kept indoors tend to eat more!
We also avoided a dreaded problem of the cold – pipes freezing up.
If the pipes supplying water to our sheds freeze, we have to go out with a water tanker every day topping up the chicken’s water trays, which adds to the daily workload.
Will the mild winter to cause any problems later on?
There’s no such thing as a free lunc (even for a farmer), a mild winter can sometimes mean you get issues with the Turkeys.
If we get a warm spring, turkeys tend not to lays as well as usual – the heat puts the birds off laying (although at the time of writing it looks as though we may be in for a late April cold snap!).
This can obviously affect the supply of Christmas Turkeys we have available later in the year – which is a big part of our business and reputation.
With the growing period just round the corner in June, when the turkey poults (baby turkeys) will be coming in – a dip in egg-laying could be a problem!
This, however, is a minor concern and in general winter and springtime has been good for us here on the farm this year.
What jobs have to be done during the spring months?
April is a good time to get the general maintenance of the sheds and fields in order. Generally, getting the upkeep of the farmyard in shape ready for May.
During this time we are mainly clearing the turkey and chicken fields of muck as it has had time to dry out.
We move the mobile chicken and poultry sheds on rotation and re-seed the areas where they have been with fresh grass.
In May we will be preparing for the Turkeys to arrive, setting the brooding sheds up and getting ready for the coming season.
Summer just round the corner and I’m thinking about Xmas
By the time we get to June we’re already thinking about Christmas Turkeys -This is the month that our baby turkeys (poults) will arrive!
When they come in as day old poults, they have to be checked 3-4 times every day for the first 10 days just to make sure they get off to a good start.
A lot of our time is taken up in the brooding sheds keeping an eye on them, ensuring their well being before they are large enough to be move onto the fields in the following months.
Let’s just hope that mild winter won’t affect the laying too much!
Do you have any rural Norfolk stories or photos to share?
Life in the countryside is always changing and we don’t always get time to enjoy all it’s aspects working on the farm.
If you have any favourite Norfolk locations or food producers why not share them (or better still, photos of them!) on our Facebook Page!