We have Chicken!... And Turkeys soon too!

Chicken is available for pick up or delivery!  
Birds are between 1.5 and 4 kgs at $7.50/kg.  Which means the total cost is between $12 and $30.  Buy a big bird, buy a small bird, buy a few of each.  First come = first served.  

In related news: Turkeys will be available on October 2.  Reserve your bird(s) to make sure you have delicious, locally grown Turkey for you family feast! Turkeys are $8.50/kg pickup at the farm and delivery will be available.

Get in touch to reserve your birds!
Contact Emily @ shapiroe(at)gmail.com

Pigs in the hayloft

Violet was due on Tuesday.  For sows, due dates are very accurate. Three months, three weeks, three days. One hundred and fourteen.  One hundred and sixteen max.  We have been watching her get bigger and bigger and bigger.  The final sign came yesterday morning.  I gave her front teat a little squeeze and milk squirted out.  Twenty-four hours. 

Last night we pulled in the driveway to find Violet roaming the yard.  It should be noted that this is a sow who is loath to roam.  John put her back in her crate and we went to bed.  A midnight check found her in the yard again.  John used a mix of carpentry and knot-tying to keep her in, but this morning she was not in her crate.  Houdini.  I found her in the hay loft gathering straw in her mouth and placing it messily somewhere else then picking up the same straw with her snout and shoving it back where she found it.  Laying down.  Turning around.  Laying back down.  Labour.

I have to admit, I wasn't looking forward to this farrowing or to writing this post.  I was worried about the pictures of Violet in a farrowing crate and all the angry people who would write nasty things or who would decide not to buy our meat because of the way our sows are farrowed.  I was going to explain, that farrowing crates can be used humanely.  Apoligist.  I was going to explain how horrible it was last year finding dead piglets in Violet's stall that she had either ravaged or crushed, both because she farrowed in an open stall and because she suffered from 'hysteria' (it is still a thing in sows).

At two o'clock, the first piglet was born.   John caught it and set it under the heat lamp.  I stayed in the hayloft the rest of the day catching piglets, wiping placenta off their noses and helping them find a teat.  The first four hours were magical.  The next four hours were long and tiring.  It is ten o'clock and we have ten piglets.  We put Violet back in the crate for the night.  She lay down and the pigs came in to suckle.  We'll check again in an hour. 

I hate the farrowing crate. Violet, clearly hates the farrowing crate.  I hate burying dead piglets in the manure pile even more.  Some of the piglets are big and chunky and some are only as big as my hand (I have small hands).  Violet is easily 500 pounds and can’t move fast enough to get herself off a piglet she accidentally lays on.  The crate makes it so that even the weak pigs have a chance to get out of her way before she lies down.  Last year, as well as attacking her piglets, she also bit me and charged and cornered John.  Any other farm would have turned her into sausage, but John gave her another chance and now she's my best girl. More on the lovely qualities of Violet/Violent another time.

Viloet will stay in the crate for a week.  I’ll let you know how many pigs we have seven days from now.  If we still have ten (fourteen), we’ll call the crate a success.

UPDATE: Six o'clock am we have fourteen live healthy pigs.  No still births, no unhealthy babies, no emergencies.  Violet has sixteen teats so fourteen pigs mean big healthy babies. 

Turkeys are here!... and chicks too of course.


The fluffy yellow chicks that arrive the day after they hatch out of their eggs, fresh and new, are most everyone’s favourite, followed closely by piglets, and calves.  For me, though it’s the turkeys.  They’re not fluffy and they’re not adorable in that baby animal way. They are gangly and slow moving and sort of ugly. I love them.  I have never experience the troubles other (small-scale) turkey farmers tell me about.  I find them sweet and silly and gentle, but not stupid or stubborn or aggressive.  They always come back to the coop at night, they’re mostly nice to each other and they’re calm when the other birds are dramatically alarmist.  I’ll film them later in the season when they are free ranging and you'll see.  I just love the way they run all knock-kneed and long-necked and I adore their little trill.  

All of this to say, since I love the turkeys so much, John agreed to fix up the chicken coop for them instead of tearing it down.  Last winter during a storm the north wall fell off and the walls shifted.  We thought it was a goner, but John worked tirelessly for a week and now it is fixed!  It is spacious and clean, it gives a person the opportunity to stand for hours giggling at the silliness and allows a person to cuddle a turkey or three in relative comfort.  The turkeys adore it and so do I.

Thanks John,

Love Emily (and the Turkeys)!


Yesterday we said goodbye to our Shiva (Homeridge Imperial Beaconess).  Winter was hard on everyone and Big Seev was 17 years old.  She took life and being a cow very seriously.  She worked the hardest of any cow in our herd, she was a good momma to her babies and she kept everyone else in line.
We'll miss this big girl.

The First Baby of 2015


On a frigid morning in mid January a tiny (80 pound) Jersey bull was born out in the deep straw in the loafing pen... And then brought into the house to lounge by the fire.  He was fine, but wet and frosty so I put him in a wheelbarrow and dragged him in the house to warm up. His mother, Shiva, our sassiest and oldest cow, is 15 and has only ever given us bulls, but she gives lots of milk and we love her.


This little one, as cute as he is now, will be veal come June.  We haven't named him, although we do name most of our critters.  For now he's cuddling up with the older calves and drinking as much milk as he can get.