Our farm specializes in fresh, organic, pastured poultry on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are passionate about providing the community with a wholesome, local, fresh alternative to factory farmed supermarket chicken.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Research and Development

Baby chicks have got to be the cutest thing ever.  I really enjoy them, and love to just sit and watch them eating and drinking and performing all their funny chick antics.  Day old chicks act just like miniature chickens but they are twice as cute.

We got a batch of 16 chicks from Asagi Hatchery last week to do a feeding trial with the azolla.  I have been mixing it with their feed at about a 50:50 ratio and then letting it ferment for a day before feeding.  Since the azolla is wet already, I don't need to add any extra water and it comes out at just the right consistency.  They have been gobbling it up from Day 1 and I am going to keep track of their feed consumption to see how well they do.  The ultimate goal is always going to be replacing imported feed with as many locally produced alternatives as possible.

We set up an 8x10 azolla pond for our layer hens that has been working out really well, so I thought I'd give it a try with a small batch of broilers before we step it up to a much larger scale on the farm.

Azolla needs shade to grow well and the 30% shade cloth I was using is definitely not enough.  I'm going to go up to around 80% shade when we build the ponds on the farm.  There's lots of info on azolla online if you are interested.  It's high in protein and makes good animal feed.  I love that it's so small that you can feed it directly to chickens without any added effort of chopping.