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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.