I’ve been spending time with Daniel and Danielle Hayden at Hayden Farms in KENTUCKY.
Daniel’s family’s farm raises cattle and broiler chickens. There were lots of exciting things happening around the farm when I arrived.
They told me it was calving season. Calving season happens two times a year on their farm — spring and fall. It’s the time of year when all the momma cows have babies. More babies were born each day I was there. When a new calf is born Daniel has to tag them. A tag is an information piece that goes in their ear like an earring. The tag identifies when they were born, their number and who their mom and dad are.
When I wasn’t in the feed truck taking care of cows, Daniel and I spent time in the farm’s four chicken houses. Hayden Farms raises broiler chickens. Broiler means the birds are raised for meat, so basically your chicken nuggets. Daniel and Danielle said the chickens arrive at the farm when they are only a couple hours old and stay until they are six weeks old. The chickens go from small, yellow fuzzy chicks to full-grown six pound birds with white feathers.
Each chicken house holds 23,500 chickens—so times four—that means their farm has 94,000 chickens on it! The houses the birds live in are HUGE. There is plenty of room for the chickens to run around and play. I noticed sometimes the birds like to jump on top of their water and feed lines just to hang out.
Which reminds me! I thought it was really neat all the chickens were fed and watered automatically. As they eat their food bowls automatically refill and their water is like a water fountain. The birds peck on a shiny silver button and drink. It would be really hard to feed and water 94,000 chickens by hand, so this way Daniel has one less thing to worry about doing in a day.
The chicken houses are full of sensors and alarms. Since Daniel can’t stay inside the chicken houses 24/7 if something starts to go wrong inside an alarm is sent to a computer and the computer calls his cell phone to let him know something is wrong.
One night, while I was there, one house had a water line leak, the water lines didn’t have sensors on them, so by the time someone found it in the morning 5,000 gallons of water had filled part of the chicken house. It took all day with five people shoveling to clean up the mess. Now, ALL the water lines have sensors on them so that something like that can never happen again.
I’m sure you all have heard about the terrible fires that happened in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Colorado. Daniel and Danielle wanted to do something to help with all the people who had lost their ranches in the fires so they started calling around to other local Kentucky farmers and their state cattlemen’s association. EVERYONE really wanted to help, so people came together to donate money towards fencing supplies and materials — even the trailer to donate the supplies. With the help of so many people, Daniel and Danielle were able to round up $6,000 worth of fencing supplies. I got to tag along on the road trip to Oklahoma.
It was a long drive. Because the trailer was so heavy it took 11 hours from their home in Kentucky to Vinita, Oklahoma. We met a nice rancher, who is a friend of Danielle’s, he volunteered to transport all the supplies out to western Oklahoma. He called while we were on our way back to Kentucky to tell us the supplies had been safely delivered to Buffalo, Okla.
When we returned, Daniel and Danielle got a call that a county cattlemen’s association had rounded up eight semi’s of hay and fencing supplies to send to Kansas and that they wanted us to be involved! So early one morning we traveling to Breckinridge County, Kentucky to be a part of the send off. The entire community, as well as, news stations from Louisville showed up to show their support. We followed the semis all the way to the Kentucky state line to get photos.
It was so neat to see everyone come together to try and help out other farmers in need. I heard Daniel said, “In the Ag Industry, we take care of our own.”
When it was time for me to leave, Daniel and Danielle said they wished I could’ve stayed longer because it’s almost time for the Kentucky Derby, which is a really famous horse race that happens every year in Louisville. The Queen of England even sometimes visits for the Derby. I’m sad I’m going to miss that, but it’s time for my next adventure!
Until next time!