Monday, August 26, 2013


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms:

Summer is back ... our nice weather is gone (for now).

We are still in the learning phase of our farming venture. We have now learned that turkey's are not easy animals to control, especially when you have chickens as well.

Our chickens are truly "free range" chickens. While they are in a pen, they are free to come and go, and come and go they do. They are now flying in and out of the pen and we essentially let them come and go as they please. This makes keeping turkeys a problem. They want to, and do, get out. Unfortunately, turkeys and chickens do not mix.

Every night we have several turkeys get out several times before they finally nest in the trees. And every morning, we have to conduct a turkey round-up, again, several times.

Chickens are doing great. We are getting over 20 eggs each day now. We are not selling them as we are not candling them so we cannot grade them. We have not decided if we will or not. We are comfortable knowing that they are not fertilized as they do not get near Red (he won't let them even if they wanted to, they are not his girls). Still waiting for the eggs to get to full sized, then we may start grading and selling them.

Sometime in the past several weeks we lost a chicken. We think she got down into the woods. We cannot count them at night as some are in the hen house and some are not. The one that got away probably did not get put to bed one night and was dinner for one of our wild neighbors, or a hawk or eagle got her.

We have a turkey in isolation. Tiny was either born with, or acquired a defect shortly after arrival, and her legs are deformed. She apparently injured a foot the other day and was being picked on by the other turkeys, so we have her isolated. She is in the pen but is in a separate cage where, hopefully, she will recover.

Donald brought more hay up for the chickens. Saturday he put two loads in the chicken pen and today we all went out and changed their nests. They are now keeping their nests clean so we probably will only add hay every couple of weeks rather than changing it out. He also gave the turkeys some of the old hay as well as some of the new hay. It is a distinct advantage being able to go down and cut hay when we need it (though it was still wet this time). Of course, the disadvantage is that it has to be manually raked, which is a chore.

We are still working on the future of the farm. It was suggested that we work on getting some fruit trees planted. This appears to be the next logical step. Donald has essentially decided that we will not be able to run a full farm operation next year due to a lack of manpower and work requirements; however, we will have a kitchen garden. This actually works well into our education process. It will give us an idea of what we can do with proper soil preparation and time planning, using time saving techniques as much as possible.

Still need to get the tiller repaired. We have not been able to bring it up from the production field due to the amount of water still on the field. Hopefully we can get the truck and trailer down there to get it picked up, otherwise we will strip it where it is and try to get the parts we need and repair it where it sits.

Nothing else new down on the farm. Things will be slow for the next month or so as Donald has several work deadlines he needs to meet.

Until next time, blessings from Baker Heritage Farms.

"A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops." Proverbs 28:3

Monday, August 19, 2013


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms,

Good morning to all of our friends and followers. It has been absolutely gorgeous here in eastern Oklahoma the past few days. Unusually cool weather has added to the vast differences in weather conditions we have experienced here this year.

Donald was down with a nasty cold this weekend so there was not much work done on the farm, other then daily and weekly maintenance of the chickens and turkeys. He did get the chance to get some mowing done. He mowed the property in town (the first time this year he was able to get to it before it got real bad) and finally got our yards mowed (they were beginning to look like hay fields). There were still some areas of both properties that he was unable to mow due to standing water from all of the rain.

As we continue our farm planning, we realize that we have actually learned a great deal since we started almost two years ago. Our first learning experience was with our test garden last year and our second, and most recent, learning experience was with our poultry operations this year. We are currently using what we have learned to establish revised short and long term farm plans. As we consider what we will do in 2014, it seems that the best idea is to use our original farm plan as a foundation, and rewrite our overall plan.

We have decided not to formally "sell" our eggs this year, though we will be asking for "donations" towards feed. We have calculated that production costs are approximately $3.50 to $4.00 per dozen eggs. We are currently generating between 18 and 20 eggs per day and going through a 50 pound bag of feed every three days. One 50-pound bag of feed runs approximately $16.00 (depending on where we buy it, which depends on their inventory). This does not include grit, water, or labor. It also does not account for the initial start-up capital.

Our turkeys are quickly growing up and the Tom's are starting to strut their stuff. They are quite enjoyable to watch, and will follow you around.

Every morning they are out of their pen, but are usually fairly easy to roundup.

Red, our rooster, is very good at keeping us informed of what his hens are doing (or even when the turkeys or other hens are not behaving).

And even the hens get out, but we generally let those that escape free range during the day.

All-in-all, the farm is doing well. Still a lot of catching up to do, but that is what winter is for.

Until next time, blessings from ...

Baker Heritage Farms

"Farm like you are going to live forever and live like you are going to die tomorrow." Unknown

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Greetings from Baker Heritage Farms;

Yes, as normal, we are running behind on our posts. Actually, we are just running behind. It has been a very busy two weeks around here, unfortunately, most of the busyness has been non-farm related.

Adam started working this past week. He is working at the OK Foods Heavener chicken processing plant. Not the most enjoyable job; however, he seems to enjoy it and we hope he can gain useful knowledge for the farm operation. He is working 10-hour days and is pretty worn out by the time he gets home.

Donald is currently working both a full-time job and a part-time job. He had originally set aside Friday's and Saturday's for farm work, however, he was offered an opportunity that he felt he had to take, and now he only has Saturday's for the farm.

School is starting back up so school shopping for the children took priority last weekend for everyone but Donald. The weather finally cooperated for a few days and Donald was able to finally get some of the work done that has been on hold due to weather.

A week ago this past Friday Donald was able to go into town in the afternoon and mow the grass on the property there. It was touch and go for the entire time, but he was able to get that job completed. Then Saturday the weather continued to hold and he was finally able to cut hay. He took the tractor down back and cut and raked hay. He was able to bring 5 full bucket loads up to the house for the chickens and turkeys, who were in need of some fresh hay.

After bringing up the hay, he spread it in the main chicken pen and the turkey pen. He also cleaned the hen house and put a combination of hay and pine chips in the nesting boxes and on the floor. The chickens like the hay a lot more than the pine chips so we will be converting them to all hay. That work took up most of the day.

This weekend was a loss due to other commitments; however, Donald did do some work in the office, though he is still way behind.

Debbie attended her last Beginning Farmers and Ranchers class and has now graduated.

Debbie's Graduation Certificate
It is an all-day affair to keep the Turkeys in their pen. They have moved up the trees to higher (and stronger) branches. Unfortunately, the branches stick out over the fence line and they fall out of the trees onto the wrong side of the fence. This past Saturday they were all out in the front yard, but sometimes they even get into one or both of the chicken pens. They are also flying out just to fly out. Rounding them up is fairly easy provided they feel like cooperating.

Look Ma - I am outside (and you guys are still inside)
The chickens continue to get out, but we generally allow them to roam the yard. We are not as concerned about them as we are the turkeys as they (the chickens) tend to stay close to the pen.

Hey guys, why are you in there?
We are now getting over 20 eggs per day (average) from the chickens. They are still small, but getting bigger.

Now all we need to do is get our yards mowed and start getting more hay for the chickens. With 20/20 hindsight, it is probably better that we stopped working on the production fields for awhile. Something would have to give.

Until next time, blessings to all from ...

Baker Heritage Farms

"He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son." Proverbs 10:5