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2004 Season

Hello Friends,

Welcome to Full Quiver Farm's first official newsletter! Our first season on Full Quiver Farm (2003) has been full of many joys and blessings, as well as some disappointments. Through it all, we continue to trust in our Provider for His direction and mercy.

Our goal this year was learning… learning about the soil fertility and the land, learning about management of larger flocks of poultry, learning about the impact of weather on the soil and animals, and learning to live in a more self-sufficient manner. We'd like to tell you about some of what we've learned and give you an idea of what's around the corner for next season at Full Quiver Farm.

Raising healthy meat
This year we raised about 150 broiler chickens in two separate batches. The birds spend the day ranging in electric fence netting paddocks which are moved every few days to fresh ground. This keeps the pathogen cycle in check and gives the birds a new and exciting "salad bar" to graze. At night we close the birds in a pen to protect them from predators. It was a real blessing that hurricane Isabelle decided to show up after we had finished processing the broilers. As it turned out, I didn't build their pen up to hurricane code standards. I'm afraid we would have been looking for them in North Carolina!

Current project: Turkeys
Right now we are raising our first set of Turkeys. What a hoot! No wonder there are so many animal analogies in the Bible. God really did give them distinct personalities. We started with 15 chicks (or poults as they're called). When the birds were still very small, we kept them in our chicken brooder and let them range in a small penned area during the day. At nightfall, we would lock them in the brooder for protection from predators. Out here in the country, we do have our fair share of opossums, foxes, raccoons, stray dogs and stray cats, and all of them like chicken and turkey. One night we were visiting family in Virginia Beach and didn't make it back to the farm before nightfall. I believe it was about 11 PM. It was a sad sight to find 4 little dead turkey poults and one missing. We learned that lesson the hard way. Always pen the animals if you're not getting back before dark! We still have 10 healthy Turkeys that we now let free range around the farm during the day.

Turkeys are very social creatures. They like to follow you around as you do chores and "gobble" at you. If you gobble back, they'll carry on a lengthy conversation with you! The males (Toms) try to out strut each other and impress the females with impressive displays of fluffy feather stretches. They still have to be penned at night for safety. Although they can fly, they freeze when frightened. They are also night blind, so they are extremely vulnerable to night predation. That's why most wild turkeys roost at night in trees.


What about the children getting attached to the animals?
We believe it is important for children to know where their food comes from, including how it was raised and how it got to the dinner table. Most children today believe that chicken comes in fillets packaged in Styrofoam shrink-wrap from the grocery store or in mechanically separated and then reconstituted nugget form in little cardboard boxes from McDonalds. They should realize that a creature had to give its life for our nourishment. We have researched what the life of a conventional factory raised chicken is like and emphasize the difference between that and our humane old fashioned animal husbandry methods. We talk with the children about the differences between the lives that our birds lived and that of the factory birds.

We try not to give names to animals that will be processed. We don't want to turn them into pets. Some animals inevitably wind up as personality icons. They have risen to "pet" status, and are safe. There's King Louis the oldest rooster we inherited from the previous owners of the farm. He is the king of the bunch… but there's a new rival at hand… Samson, the big Black Austrolorpe rooster. He's close to twice King Louis' size. They've only been together once, and it got pretty fierce. We keep them in separate locations. There is another inherited rooster we call Alfred. Alfred is no match for any of the other roosters… so he is usually the last one to get to the feeder and the last one to be around any hens. Poor Alfred, the outcast. You'll usually find him lingering around a pen of small to medium sized chicks… strutting, crowing and trying to impress them with his roosterness… waiting, wishing, hoping to have his own flock someday.

Some of our goals for our family:
1. Begin to build a family business where all children from the young to the old can be involved in real, meaningful work. Give children more access to the outdoors and large open spaces for plenty of exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.
2. Eat healthier and more responsibly by growing most of our own food. Raise our own vegetables and meat in a natural and environmentally-friendly way.
3. Provide fresh meat and vegetables to health conscious consumers, who are looking for a locally and naturally grown alternative to the conventional fair found at the grocery store.

 Getting in touch...
Scott and Alison Wilson
Full Quiver Farm
2801 Manning Road
Suffolk, VA 23434
(757) 539-5324
or email...
Scott Wilson

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