In the summer we spent most of it finishing up fences and getting ready for the SHEEP, and they arrived last count you had was 8 ewes and a ram. So 9 or so. Well we purchased a whether and he made 10, then we purchased another ewe from Sand Mountain so we have 11. Well, in January, whether has an appointment to go to freezer camp so we will be back down to 10. So how does that factor into our new year goal of 12 or more..... WELL, our ram, Hank, did such a GREAT JOB, we have received our first blessing as a single birth from Brownie she gave us, Sugar. Sugar will remain on our farm, she will be given a new boyfriend in the Spring. Bambi gave us our very first set of twins, Belle and Prince. Belle will be retained on our farm and will share the same boyfriend as Sugar. Prince, his fate is unknown at present. If he is worthy of breed-stock he will sold to another farm. I hope he is, he is awfully handsome. And his grandmother is #2 on the NSIP Elite Dams list. So maybe his future is bright. So we are up to our goal!! We have 13 sheep!
|Prince (brown) and Belle (white) our first set of twins|
|Sugar, our first born|
The girls (hens) started laying eggs and we have been very blessed with the amount of eggs we gather daily. Since the time change our production has decreased, but not terribly noticeable, we still gather between 10-15 eggs a day or every other day. We have noticed if we rearrange the coop or make any changes within the coop such as moving waterers or feeders, they seem to get mad and not give us as many eggs. We had installed an automatic waterer system as to not fill the buckets so often. They liked it, but one day during the drought they knocked off the end piece and it drained the water tote dry. It was bad enough we were collecting water from work, the park and every other place we could get water. But then to lose an entire 55 gallon tote, we were pretty devastated by this loss. We have since gotten rain!! And changed our water system to the good old fashioned bucket and they have gotten a 275 gallon tote to collect rain water from. It works well and they seem to be pleased with it. We would have never come up with this idea, it wasn't until the steer was moved into the "small pasture" that we noticed all the "big girls" were going over there and drinking his water. So why not simply again. DONE!
|Junior, the Steer, who thinks he may be a sheep after all?|
So what is this steer you are referring to??? You have a sheep/ chicken/ rabbit operation.... We purchased a steer for our own personal consumption. He was purchased from a commercial dairy, where we used to buy our grass fed beef. So why buy it, we would rather raise it! So now we have "Junior", they had already named him before we picked him up, and boy was that an adventure- so while I am here, I will tell it. We had recently purchased a used truck for "farm" purposes. So we set out for Lawrenceburg in the truck and trailer, truck starts acting crazy like its the transmission. We stop put fluid in it. Nope. Not doing any better, come home get Camry with trailer, head back out. Now, we have agreed to meet at a certain time frame and the time sensitive individual I am- was worried sick about messing up someone else's day. Get there, LATE...and well he was ALOT bigger than we bargained for. We had put some cattle panels up on the trailer to keep him in. IN MOMENTS, he jumped out, bent the panel and was loose on the farm. I screamed, why I am not sure. And of course the guys were running around trying to corral him back into the barn. You can envision this calf (not really) running around loose. I seen $$$ flying out the window. So he finally got caught again, to me, seemed like forever. We tied him to the trailer, in hopes of a decent ride home. After 1 mile up the road- he kicked and thrashed about so bad he was rocking the trailer and Camry from side to side. He had to be hog tied, lying down, to the trailer. the farm we purchased him from swore there would be a YOU- Tube video out soon of this said shenanigan. If one showed up, I would just have to chuckle with the world. Junior, did make the hour long journey home pretty good. We ended finishing the small pasture fence by the truck and car headlights that night.
|A peek in the rabbitat- looking through you can see the meat chicks|
|A bunny having a snack in the food bowl|
So we thought we would wind down the season and get ready to slide into fall nice and easy. NO WAY, we ended up having to cull one of our breedstock mama rabbits, Ginger had a litter and she was urinating on them and they all died as a result. First we tried to save one, two and at some point I had four in the house trying to feed them. Not one survived. So we visited another farm to get away from that breed Californians. We decided we liked what we had read and heard about Rex's, so we were able to find a breeder in the area that shares our same beliefs in GMO's. So after a visit to their farm- we were enlightened in the colony living and how it benefited them. We had to have a "rabbitat". Did I say we were planning to slow down for the fall? YEAH, ok right. So, the hubby set out to build our rabbitat, but wait we are planning on "meat chickens" in the next year? So why not get them on sale for the end of season "fryer special".... Sure, lets do that, it will butt up next to the rabbitat and Molly will help us take care of them, and it will help train her??!!! Well, the training is another story- Standby!
So we spent several weekends working on this rabbitat, we received the meat chickens and bought 2 Rex does in the process- getting ready! (to rest)... Not quiet....
So as I set here and update the blog- I receive dings from facebook messenger for the next adventure. We have placed a deposit for another guardian dog she is a different breed than Molly- she is Akbash x Kangel, where Molly is Anatolian x Great Pyrenees. After reading about dogs and the different breeds each one brings forth a different style in which they manage the herd. We want the best of both worlds. We have been training Molly now for 6 months and we have really only began, as these dogs can take up to 18 months before they are fully trained. She has really tried our patience and I have no doubt we have tried hers. That is where the 54 meat chickens come in. As we started with 54 and at present have 43. We have lost all 11 to Molly and her antics. She hasn't killed them for the sake of eating them, more so she likes to play with them and throw them in the air and when they stop squeaking she is all done. So we had to purchase a shock collar in order to help her remember to not play with the chickens. After about 3 solid weekends we have made progress! As lambing season was fast approaching, we would rather her kill chickens vs lambs. So we have opted to put the lambs and mamas up for a week at a time in order for the lambs to get their legs good before we turn them out with the herd. I touched on lambs born earlier- I could talk all night about cute little lambs but instead I will post pics.
|Zena, the newest member to be added to the herd in Febuary|
The guineas, we had hoped for great things with these wonderful creatures as they are bullies and known to be just that. We had to give it a shot, but after one of the girls had some feathers missing and a guinea lost all of his tail feathers and they refused to let our Beta Rooster, Mr Peabody eat.... They met their demise and went to freezer camp early. I wasn't convinced that an all dark meat bird would be very tasty, but quickly changed my mind. And like I have heard usually the meanest are the best tasting- they made me a believer!
Stay tuned for more farm updates... we are expecting snow for the New Year, lets hope I can get some updates sooner vs later. Enjoy!