Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Friday, January 31, 2014

Rain and markets

Lovely rain happening at the moment - well lovely for us, because it's gentle and makes a lovely change from the heat we've been having! It's not so lovely closer to the coast after the cyclone crossed north of us this morning! Yeppoon is experiencing some pretty awful weather, so we have cancelled going there tomorrow morning. We will be at the Kern Arcade markets on Sunday.

Next week will find me travelling to Brisbane to deliver orders and then back on the following weekend to go to 1770 markets. Just a reminder to Gladstone customers that we won't be going to Calliope markets for a while, so if you want pork you will need to order it and I'll drop it on my way to or from 1770.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hot weather days on a pig farm.....

We have recently had some very hot weather! I think most of Queensland had a heat wave and now Southern Australia is getting it - I just hope it stays down there. It's cooler now, but still pretty warm, so I thought I'd talk a little about our pigs and how they (or more correctly we) manage it. Pigs can't control their temperature - they don't sweat. So to cool their body temperature, they need water. Some people use sprinklers, but we use wallows. The muddier the wallow the better. The pig lies and rolls in the mud, which cools them down, but a added advantage is that it supplies ongoing sun protection as well as insect protection. Sprinklers aren't any good to us, as they keep the pig clean and then they get sunburnt.

Our day starts fairly early, as I get up and milk the cows first thing. Then we start the feeding. This is mostly done by hand, with only one lot of pigs on self feeders. We have several mobs of pigs. We have three boars, so we have three separate breeder mobs - there's about 50 sows altogether. We just about always have some weaners. These are the piglets taken off mum and kept separate for about 2 weeks. They then get moved to our Slips paddock. We call them slips because they aren't weaners and they aren't really growers, they just slip somewhere in between the two! We then have two grower mobs and two finisher mobs. We have two of each of these, as we separate our gilts (girls) from the boars (boys). A gilt is a female that has yet to have piglets. Once they have piglets they are called a sow. We also have several smaller paddocks with wet sows - wet meaning that they still have piglets on them.

We hand feed for a few reasons. One is that the pigs tend to eat too much on the self feeders and the other reason is the cost of the feeders to begin with! While we are feeding them, we top up their wallows and make sure their troughs are all working.

Then we have smoko!

Then we go out and check the wallows again - turning off any taps that we've left running and generally checking everything again. We can't afford to miss a pig, as they really do get stressed very quickly if they don't have a wallow. We do manage to get a few other jobs done before lunch, and that's usually when Lucy gets some bookwork done. Kim has to stay outside in the heat! Then it's lunch time and we then have a break - Siesta time! I like that the best!

Then mid afternoon it's back outside again - to check wallows and waters and get a few more farm jobs done before knocking off about 6.30/7pm. I'm looking forward to winter, the days are much shorter!!!

The hot weather means more work, however the recent rain did give us some respite. (a) it has been cooler, and (b) while it was raining and for a couple of days afterwards, we didn't have to worry about water. It's Murphy's Law that when it's hot and dry, you always have water and pump problems, so we are constantly starting pumps and finding troughs that are faulty and drain all the water and all sorts of things like that.

But photos like this make it all worthwhile.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Market and Delivery Schedule

I have just updated the Markets Page so please go and have a look at what dates we are near you!

We won't be going to the Calliope Markets until after mid year, as they clash with the Rocky market dates. We will deliver orders to the Gladstone Region the Saturday before the 1770 market. Please get this order in 2 weeks ahead please.

Southern Queensland deliveries will be during the week - the first week in February. I will advise the those regular customers of times and drop off points at a later date. We are hoping to deliver south every second month.

Emerald and the Central Highlands will have a monthly delivery (provided we get enough support). We will take orders, as well as stop for road side selling in Emerald, Moranbah, Dysart and Middlemount.

Theodore, Biloela and Baralaba area, orders need to be in as soon as possible to make the delivery date of the 24th January. Sorry for the short notice, but I've only just worked it all out.

If you would like to get me to put aside anything at any of the markets please send and email or a text message before hand. If it's a larger order, please order at least a week ahead.

If you would like to order but not sure when to do it by, just send the order in and I'll fit it in with the next available delivery date.

If you use the online order form, please make sure you hit submit. If you don't hear from me within a few days, it's advisable to email me, as orders don't always go through. If it's all to confusing just send me an email and tell me what you want!


Oh.....and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!!!!