Cow 38 is nearly all black, except for the ash dusting up her belly and her white horns tipped in black. Her beautiful belly shrank a little yesterday when she produced a perfect little heifer calf. It is the tiniest, cutest thing ever: red with white spots and making buddies already with the bigger kids.
Astrid popped! After untold hours building her nest at the top of a little hill from most of an enormous hay bale, last night she settled her fat, speckled self in the middle of it and delivered 11 little wigglies. Astrid is the daughter of our best sow, but this was her first time so we kept a close eye on her and it appears she has lived up to her vaulted lineage. For their part, her herdmates (the 3 other expectant sows and their brother) are keeping a respectful distance from the new family while keeping a keen eye out for danger. She has quite the guard crew, and has already gotten her little family off to a great start.
After some of the failings of the last batch of chicks we decided to finally make all of the brooder upgrades we've long discussed, but have not given top priority. Over a couple weeks, Travis built a new field pen that can brood chicks pretty much anywhere and then transition them gently to pasture rotation. We've been raising our chickens like this for about a year now, but with a lot of rough edges to the system and the new pen is a real step up. We couldn't have brooder without chicks, so this week we put 250 peepers in there to test it out, and y'all, it's awesome!