Chipping and Bedding Cows
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Even though things slow down here at Polyface in the winter we still stay busy.  There are still chickens, pigs, and cows to feed and bed, eggs to collect everyday, firewood to pickup, and an assortment of other things that got put off during the summer to be done in the winter when we have a little more time.

One of the things that we did this week was chip wood.  It is amazing how many branches it takes to make a full load of wood chips!  We also get dump truck loads of wood chips from the highway crews so we don’t have to chip all of our own bedding material.

Chipping into the speader

After filling up the spreader we herded the cows out of the barn into a holding pen so we could spread the new layer of chips.

Ready for cows again

What winter projects/chores are you working on?

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About Leanna Hale

Leanna Barth, born and raised in NC, first came to Polyface in July 2010 to attend one of the Intensive Discovery Seminars. She loved it so much that she applied for an internship position and was accepted for the 2011 season, after which she took the inventory/gardener position. Before coming to Polyface, she sold produce from her family’s market garden, along with homemade baked goods. This venture was mostly inspired by having read “You Can Farm” by Joel Salatin. Having always loved the outdoors, animals, and gardening Leanna is excited about this coming year, all that she will learn, and how the Lord will use this job later on in her life.
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10 Responses to Chipping and Bedding Cows

  1. I like this picture of the paddock. After reading ALL of Joel’s books it is good to see things ‘up close’ to get a better idea of what he is talking about.

  2. I am constantly impressed with the methods that Polyface uses to achieve better results. Do you pay attention to species of tree for chipping for bedding? Also, are you overly concerned about how wet the branches are before using them? I’m thinking probably not…as once they’re chipped up and spread, they will be “wet” soon enough anyways…albeit not with tree sap….

    • Leanna Hale says:

      We don’t pay attention to the species, we just chip. 🙂 Preferably, we want the chips dry when we use them. They absorb a lot more which means we have to use less chips for bedding.

  3. Melissa Gray says:

    im getting ready for lambs, so cleaning out jugs, and bedding down the pens the moms will give birth in, have to make sure my lamb survival kit is on hand, towels, and betadine to dip navels into..as well as a pulling rope, gloves and blackstrap molasses for mommas. Im putting manure around my fruit trees, and spreading calcium lime on my pastures. we dont have as much land as you do , so we have to help our grass out with a few simple nutrients, plus like your place , this one had been leached of everything beneficial over many years of farming it before we got it , so once a year, usually in feb, we spread out some lime to help the soil in our area.

  4. We’re planning our garden, hounding local coffee shops for grounds for compost, sourcing fresh eggs (signs are popping up everywhere), considering/studying about adding our own chickens, rabbits, and bees and anxiously awaiting spring!

  5. Joe B says:

    That is awesome! Just like Alyson said, it’s great to see Joel’s ideas up close and persona. How often do you have to spread bedding in those winter hay barns? Thanks for sharing!

    • Leanna Hale says:

      We spread chips at least once a week. It all depends on how dry the chips are when we spread them.

  6. PeterPansDad says:

    I could copy and paste Alyson’s comment. This was a great post. Simple and to the point. Your chick post last week was great too.

    I need a bigger wood chipper. Sigh.

  7. Beth Rogers says:

    This is quite a coincidence—my husband and I were kist discussing chipping up a humongous pine he cut down a few weeks ago and using the chippings for our two new calves in their run in shed/corral. We had just bought a whole bunch of pine bedding chips and decided we could make our own from now on.
    Blessings on your great work, spreading the know-how on your farming methods. We love your books and are hoping to visit your farm soon!

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