Wes Hunter

pollinator
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since Dec 04, 2013
Missouri Ozarks
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Recent posts by Wes Hunter

Marco Banks wrote:Joel Salatin's approach is to avoid pure-bred birds and go with a big mutt mix of a little bit of everything.  Down through the years, he's brought in a variety of different roosters to bring genetic diversity to his flock.  He grows thousands of meat birds a year, and as they pasture them, he keeps an eye out for birds that look good, gain weight quickly, and are healthy.  If a bird passes the eye test, he pulls it out and keeps it as a member of his breeding stock flock. 

His birds are loved for their flavor, size and health.  No antibiotics, no hormones, just goodness. 



Do you have a source for this?  I'm not entirely up to date on Salatin's methods, but I'm fairly sure his broiler program is almost entirely based on purchased Cornish-Cross.
1 week ago
Check JM Hatchery for their New Hampshire Reds and Delawares.  The breeding stock isn't pastured as far as I'm aware, but they have been selected for meat characteristics, which you will not find from any other commercial hatchery.
2 weeks ago
We also use egg flats, which I've found to be much more manageable than cartons.  Once one flat is filled, another is placed on top.  Regardless of how many flats are stacked, the one on the bottom is always the oldest.  So we'll remove the bottom flat, set it on the counter next to the stove, and eat from it.  When that one's empty, repeat.

We eat enough eggs that we don't worry about the order of individual eggs in the flat.  They'll all be used within a couple days, typically, so exact age is unimportant.

When we sell excess eggs, we'll work in reverse and draw from the top flat down, so we're always selling the best.
2 weeks ago
I can't stand t-shirts in hot, humid weather.  They stick too much, especially along my upper arms, and the closed neck keeps too much body heat in.  For me, it's a cotton button-down, usually long sleeved.  (I roll the sleeves to my elbows or higher 90% of the time, but long sleeves at least give the option of wearing them down.)  I'll keep at least the top two buttons undone for airflow.  A light weight cotton is preferred (Indian madras is fantastic if you can find it, but if you're paying retail it'll hurt), though even a relatively hefty Oxford cloth is usually fine.

For bottoms I'll typically wear canvas pants from the farm store.  Something lighter weight would be nice, but I make use of the pockets on the carpenter-style pants and those aren't, to my knowledge, readily available on lighter weight pants.  I'm also quite hard on pants, so a durable fabric is a plus.  Occasionally I'll wear shorts, but only if I know I'm only going to be working in the garden for the time being.

Silly as it may be, I prefer the look of a tucked in shirt, but they usually come untucked rather quickly, and untucked is certainly cooler.

Except for during morning chores, when I just throw on muck boots, my footwear consists of wool socks and leather boots.  I'm surprised how many people think cotton would be cooler, but wool wicks moisture, keeping one's feet dry and comfortable, and by whatever mystery of the universe doesn't make for hot feet.  I do tend to put on fresh socks midday for comfort.
1 month ago

John C Daley wrote:Wes, if the farmer has a low 'retail ' price, surely a competent restauranter would realise and accept that fact?



Not necessarily.  I expect there are a couple of issues at play here.  One is that the restaurateur expects to pay a price lower than that found at a market stand, regardless of what that market price is.  They're (at least planning on) buying in bulk and regularly, and they want a "discount" for doing so.  Not all have that mindset, but I'm sure plenty do.  Two is that certain farmers expect that they need a lower price to go into wholesale, and being unable or unwilling to take less than market price they never venture any further into selling through those other outlets.
2 months ago
My "wholesale" price is what I need to make to make it worth my while, period.  Direct costs, labor, and whatever else needs to be put in there.  "Retail," then, is wholesale plus whatever additional costs (such as commission or farmers market fees, mileage/delivery, etc.) are necessary for selling through that particular outlet.

Far too many people (farmers, at least) have a "retail" farmers market price, but then "can't sell to restaurants" because they can't afford to reduce their current price to "wholesale" levels.  This is going about it entirely backwards.
2 months ago
In my estimation, despite being "dual purpose" most Dexters you find will be of a beef type.  How many people even keep a family milk cow anymore?  And how many of those keep something other than a Jersey, Holstein, or Swiss?  Dexter dairy genetics are pretty few and far between.

Here in Southern Missouri, at least, it seems that everyone and their uncle raises Dexters.  They aren't as numerous as traditional beef breeds and their crosses, of course, but they're far from rare.  Don't make the mistake of automatically equating "heritage breed" with "rare."

As for traits, it all depends.  On the whole, Dexters are quite maternal, but there is also a certain amount of individual variation.  I've got one cow that's about as maternal as is possible, I think, and others that are less so.  I've never had one that I'd consider in any way inattentive.  As for how that works with your coyote population, that probably has as much to do with the coyotes as the cows.

Marbling of meat is partially breed-dependent, but probably more management-dependent.  You can take a steer with great genetic potential and graze it on poor, coarse forage, and it may not marble a dime, or take a steer whose genetic potential is moderate at best but graze him well and get beautiful beef.  And there is individual variation here, too.
2 months ago
I'd be inclined to fry it, though scrambled in butter would suffice.

This advice probably comes too late, but I'd think your odds of successfully hatching it would be pretty slim, whereas your odds of successfully eating it would be pret' near 100%.  (Of course, I'd suggest candling it first.)
4 months ago
This spring has been a terrible one for ticks here; our sheep were covered in them.  Looking through a book on organic veterinary treatment for dairy cattle, one oft-repeated treatment for external parasites (such as ticks and lice) was sublimed (powdered) sulfur.  I think we ended up feeding something like 1/4 tsp per head, mixed into alfalfa pellets and molasses, and it has done wonders with just a one-time treatment.  I think a topical treatment would work as well. 
As the dog owner, it is certainly your responsibility to keep your dogs contained, whether or not they have behaved aggressively toward stock.  There are plenty of supposedly mild-mannered dogs that, it turns out, are great secret stock worriers and/or killers.

As one with dogs and livestock, I see both sides.  I don't want to shoot any dog just because it's on my farm; I want to be sure it's dangerous before I make such a final decision.  (For instance, there is a small pack of beagles that roams the neighborhood.  As near as I can tell, all they do on my farm is tree squirrels.)  But if one of my dogs were on a neighboring farm and got shot, I wouldn't feel right to complain.  Even if they were innocent, I cannot really fault the livestock owner for protecting his animals.
4 months ago