Monday, September 30, 2013

A Day at Polyface Farm

For months we have been watching videos of Joel and Daniel Salatin and reading their books.   Chad is halfway through You Can Farm and I finished Folks, This Ain't Normal a while ago.   We have been dying to visit their farm, Polyface in Swoope, VA and finally just made it happen for our anniversary.  On the way we realized that Monticello wasn't far so we decided to do that on Sunday.   Here are some pics from our day at Polyface.   As we walked to farm we were able to linger with all of the animals and take in the breathtaking views.   It's truly a beautiful place.   It was neat to be able to see how Joel's principles of farming are put into practice.   You could see where the animals had been and then see them enjoying their new piece of land with fresh food for them.   We're so thankful they allow people to come and learn and full access to their farm.  

The holder for the "killing cones".

Whizbang Plucker

The brooder house is so spacious.  The chicks had plenty of room to run around. 

The place was heated by these gas heaters.

Love the watering system for the chicks!  There are so many smart innovations on the farm that make for less work and mess!

We saw Daniel's kids playing here.   They were apparently engaged in a very fierce battle. :)  

LOVED the pigs!   They had so much personality!  I am embarassed to admit that I was scared of them.   They are so big and were crowding around us, butting us with their snouts and biting our feet and legs.  It didn't hurt but was intimidating.   I hope no one saw me scream and run from them! 

The place where I was standing when I took this picture is obviously where they had been previously.  They had cleared it out really well.  You can see how they have tons of fresh greens now!   They were very clean and didn't smell at all.  

The Racken.   I have to admit that I'm not really impressed with the Racken.   It is a big metal building with a very thick bedding on the ground.   There are rabbits in raised cages.   Then there are laying hens and a rooster in there that take care of the rabbit manure.   It didn't smell much at all...that was surprising.  But, I just felt like there were too many chickens in there and they can't free range at all.   Some of the hens didn't look good at all.   I'm not sure if it's mites or if they're molting and then getting pecked.  It wasn't terrible...just didn't seem ideal to me.  But, I'm not the most experienced so I'm probably missing something.  

The rabbits are absolutely beautiful.

It was so cool to see these cows with mouthfuls of grass!  They truly are grass-fed.

Part of the reason we didn't get to ask too many questions was because everyone was busy building this.   

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the old farmhouse!

Broilers.  We just got our first batch of broilers and we ordered cornish-cross because that's all we could find available.   After seeing the ones here, we will never order them again.   They can hardly walk at all!   It just seems so inhumane.   I know that Joel doesn't like to sell them but, that's what people want.   Just another reason that people really need to SEE what they are eating!

Here are some layers scratching through the cow patties.   

It was great day!   We are inspired and actually felt more hopeful and empowered after leaving.