This year's turkey chicks arrived in the middle of the night last Thursday. The day-old chicks are loaded into what look like big pizza boxes with four compartments and a special green goo in a little cardboard trough down the centre.
With each box holding 100 chicks, and each chick costing about a fiver, there was a lot of money tied up in the four boxes that arrived in the gate at 3am.
They had been loaded onto trucks in Essex the previous afternoon, but only landed off the ferry at midnight, and had to do a few stops before they got to east Meath.
In theory, the chicks could have been left in the boxes until first thing in the morning, but with nearly €2,000 on the line, I was happy enough to forfeit some of my beauty sleep to ensure these guys got off to a flying start.
I have almost doubled my numbers again this year in an effort to build a critical mass into the operation, but it may well turn out to be a silly decision, given that nobody knows if Covid is going to ruin Christmas as well as the possibility of a spontaneous pint any time in the near future.
But there's an element of speculation with every decision in farming so there's no point in agonising too much over it.
For now, we'll focus on keeping the chicks warm under lamps and hope that as few as possible try to drown or starve themselves over the coming fortnight.
In my experience, it's the first two weeks when the mortality rate is at its highest, and there seems to be little that can be done to save the little critters if they take a turn for the worse.
All we can do is keep the water clean and fresh, the feed topped up, and the bedding bone-dry.
The eight heat lamps are using about a fiver a day in electricity, and we'll probably need to keep them on for the next three weeks until the birds have hardened up enough to go without the additional heat.
Fingers crossed that we don't have a power-outage in the interim.
Then there's another three to four weeks before the flock is ready for the great outdoors, which has suddenly greened up again after a week of regular rain.
It came just before things got serious for the dairy herd, which was scanned twice in the last week.
This was the first year that Joe tried a 'why wait?' system of injecting a lot of the herd with estrumate to bring them into heat a week earlier than normal.
While it will further intensify the calving season into a few manic weeks, it also helps make the breeding season more manageable, and should increase the average days in milk for the herd by about five to seven days.
An extra six days in milk would be worth over €30 per cow, which more than covers the synchronisation programme costs of a few euro per cow along with the extra heat detection and tail-painting.
With 87pc of the herd inseminated in the first 14 days and a whopping 93pc submission rate within three weeks, it's no surprise that the scans showed that 50pc of the herd went in calf in the first two weeks, proving that the system does what it says on the tin.
It has also prompted a fairly urgent review of calving facilities, with a decision now to nearly double the area. While this will cost a pretty penny, it was an investment that was on the cards anyway due to a requirement for additional calf-rearing space to reduce the disease pressure on calves in the spring.
The genotyping programme that was started on the herd last autumn has shown that the EBI of the cows ranks in the top 1pc nationally, so there's more incentive than ever to reduce mortality in the calves.
Indeed, one of the bull calves this spring has tested with an EBI of €375. If he makes it all the way through the AI station screening programme he should be worth north of €10,000.
However, the farm has been down this road a couple of times over the last number years, and more often than not, the calves fall at one of the hurdles. We'll keep our fingers crossed but, much like with horses, we won't be pre-booking the pub for any big parties anytime soon - Covid or no Covid!