Brooding On

Relocating a Farm

For those who feel like our decision to launch our egg production operation seems a little sudden, allow me to give you some backstory.  A few weeks ago, John was introduced through a mutual acquaintance to a family that had attempted to upstart a farm very similar in scope to the one we have envisioned.  Unfortunately, a series of accidents left the farm's primary caretaker unable to continue the farm.  This left them with some very nice equipment and animals that were only a few months old and only gently used. 

For essentially 1/2 of retail, they were trying to liquidate their farm.  So, while we were planning to construct our large chicken wagon in the spring, here stood a good-quality one, ready for use.  BUT, it couldn't be sold without the chickens it currently houses.  And, they are great, productive breeds that are just beginning to lay and have been raised free-range.  It was an offer just too good to pass up.

Additionally, we purchased from them a load of fencing, some feeders, a goat care/corral system, various other items, and Molly, a 7-month-old Great Pyrenees who has been serving as guardian to both sheep and chickens. (Yes, the kids are VERY excited!  More info on Molly later this week.)

The liquidating farm was two hours away in Yellville, Arkansas.  So, we caravanned there early Saturday morning and began the loading process.  There's really no conventional way to haul a chicken wagon this large, so the guys constructed this plan that got the job done!

A couple hours after arrival, we were all loaded up and ready to head back to our farm.  The whole load consisted of 3 trucks, 2 trailers, 1 chicken wagon, tons of equipment, 100+ chickens, 1 giant dog, 3 adults, and 3 children.
(Thank you to the best father-in-law ever for his great help with all this madness! If you ever need to haul a chicken wagon 2 hours along all kinds of road, he's your man!)
We were quite a spectacle.
As crazy as this day seemed, the real excitement came once we got home to the farm.  Sam backed the trailer carrying the chicken wagon into the temporary fencing we'd constructed for it.  Then, we just had to figure out how to get it off the trailer.  Unfortunately, we were on a little bit of a decline, too.  We decided that the three of us could probably control its weight and steer it off the wagon as its momentum brought it down.  We were wrong.  John and Sam were on each side of the back of the wagon, and I was in the middle, doing my best to steer it as it came down.  The sheer weight of the wagon coming off the trailer was more than we expected, and it just came barreling off the trailer pushing us back into the temporary fencing we'd erected.  In the madness, I got tripped up and was going to the ground.  Because I was between the other two fellas, I was headed under the out-of-control wagon.  That's when my amazing husband shoved and kicked me aside so that I rolled out of the wagon's path.  Though John and Sam were able to stop the wagon, John was unfortunately injured in the process.  The top of his foot is swollen pretty badly.  We thought yesterday that it might be broken, but he wanted to ice it and see how it felt the next morning.  Now, it's still pretty tender and swollen but is better than it was last night, so he's thinking it's not a break.
The whole incident shook us up pretty good.  And needless to say, the kids were pretty freaked out.  They each needed some extra attention last night, and we decided to treat ourselves to a family dinner out once we had everything  unloaded.  I don't really want to think about what might've happened, but I am surely thankful that we were protected from what could've been.
Seriously, there's never a dull moment around here!
Now, to clip the wings of 100+ chickens . . . .