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How a Vietnamese Picnic Ties to Agriculture

This weekend I went to a Vietnamese picnic- all in the name of agriculture, of course!

Agriculture in Viet Nam

My Ag Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) class focuses mainly on the agriculture of Missouri, but in the global world we live in it’s really not that simple!  Every class takes a trip to DC, as well as one overseas trip at the end of the program.  My husband when to China; next year I’ll be visiting VietNam!

To prep for the trip the Vietnamese Student Association at MU put together a presentation and picnic for us!  We heard from professors, PhD candidates, and a post-doc student about the agriculture in VietNam, as well as subjects closely related, like geography and finance.  (But truly, between the accent and the topic, I have no idea what the nice professor of international finance was talking about…)

Agriculture in Viet Nam

VietNam has gone from a third world country to a developing nation in a rather short amount of time.  They still have many challenges, which is why many of the students we met were post-grad.  The country is looking for highly educated people to help move the nation forward– and ag tech is going to be huge for them.

Agriculture in Viet Nam

This was my favorite slide of the day.  These are pictures of their “new” technology.  Top left is a “harvester,” not even a combine.  In the pic on the top right the pole in-between the two workers is actually a tree limb.  Still, even with their ag looking like this, they are anxious for the advantages of genetically modified crops.

Agriculture in VietNam

And since food, of course, is what we’re working for in agriculture, it was an important part of our education to eat some!

Agriculture in Viet Nam

I’ll admit to being worried, but actually I loved it!  It’s not spicy like Tai food, and not as… similar as all Chinese dishes seem to me.  There were many flavors, lots of them fresh veggies with herbs like mint.  I din’t quite understand how the dishes were supposed to go together- the noodles went in a sauce which made it like soup which was for dipping the little rolls in the bottom right corner, as well as adding to the veggies in the top pic? But I loved all of it, and even braved the dessert (very center pic) which was like tapioca with coconut milk along with boiled peanuts, corn, and mushrooms.  Confession, one of my mushrooms was julienned so long and thin it looked like a worm.  I did not eat it.

Our trip is scheduled for July of 2016, so I’ve got a year to add to my Pinterest board of Vietnamese culture.  And if you want to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (both @daddystractor) I promise I’ll post lots while we’re there!

I can’t wait!

Categories: Farming | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Oh My Goodness, It’s Working!

I’m so excited!  Knock on wood, so far my newest experiment in backyard farming is WORKING!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should, @daddystractor) you’ll already know we received an unusual-looking package in the mail yesterday containing baby chicks!  When they arrived we took them downstairs to the brooder and settled them all in with drinks of water and some chick feed.

How I got my broody hens to accept mail-order chicks.

They come in the mail– how crazy is that!

But then last night I got a little crazy. 😉

How I got my broody hens to accept mail-order chicks.

We use this cattle feeder as a brooder. It works for the first few weeks anyway!

We ordered 40 chicks this time around.  25 are “pan-fry” chickens I plan to raise to feed my family.  The other 15 are assorted bantams, destined to be pets for the kiddos.  I said yes to this idea because if you think baby chicks are adorable, well, you have to see a bantam chick.  They are a third the size of a regular chick.  Need I say more?

How I got my broody hen to accept mail-order chicks

They are all so cute, but why is it tiny things are even cuter!!

These bitsy chickens will someday lay tiny eggs, which we don’t really need since my other 28 chickens are laying hens and we currently get almost 2 dozen eggs a day.  So they are basically useless as far as livestock go.  (But again.  So. cute.)

Really they are just here to eat expensive food and take up time and energy.

So I came up with a plan to cut down on the time and energy, if not food.

Two of my laying hens have gone “broody.”  This means they keep setting on eggs, trying to hatch chicks.  Broody hens aren’t great on a farm because they tend to be more likely to peck and they stop laying new eggs in their attempt to hatch the ones they’re sitting on.  Conventional wisdom is to keep a broody hen away from the nesting boxes until she gives up on the idea, OR… get her some chicks to raise!

An experienced mama hen is a pretty amazing animal.  She will sit on her eggs for 21 straight days, getting up just once a day to eat and drink for a few minutes.

However, my hens are not experienced mamas.

Actually… they’re not all that bright either.

I gave a mama hen some eggs to see if she could hatch her own (how fun would that be?!) and she couldn’t keep track of which box was hers.  She’s been sitting on different eggs for almost 4 weeks.

How I got my broody hen to accept mail-order chicks!

The nesting boxes are a busy place!

Which makes my plan of putting bantams under these two chickens unreliable at best.

Last night Brett and I slipped the banties under the two hens–you can handle chickens more easily after they’ve gone to bed.  This morning I got up early to be out there just after the sun popped up and both mamas were sitting on 15 very quiet chicks.

I created a separate space for the new families in the part of the coop designed for storage, giving each mama a milk crate and straw nest on the floor.  (The nesting boxes are on the wall and the babies won’t be able to get in and out to get to food or water.)  I was really nervous about having to move everyone so soon after the introductions, but oh my goodness, it’s working!  As soon as they saw the chicks in the new nests both mamas moved right in and took charge of their little broods.

How I got my broody hens to accept mail-order chicks!

So far, so good! Yay!!

Quick, knock on wood!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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