Thursday, September 11, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm

Welcome back! I'm so glad you came back to visit!

Here are the three turkeys on our farm. They all look the same, don't they! Their names are Tender, Juicy, and Drumstick.

We think their heads are ugly! But they do have bright colors, don't they! Did you get the feathers I sent? They all come from a turkey and they are so different!

Someone wanted to see a picture of they boy that takes care of the animals. We both work together because it's a lot of work for one person. This is Matt, he loves goats! These are two of his favorite goats. Do you remember their names?

Someone asked for a photo of our steer. This is what he looks like. His name is Arby's. He is a nice steer, and he is really big! He thinks he is a big dog and likes to play with people, but he weighs almost as much as a small car, so that's much too big to let him play with people!
He has a very big tongue that he likes to lick people with! YUCK!!
Almost every barn has a cat. Our barn has a cat named Midnight. She isn't always friendly to people. She has one responsibility.... she keeps the mice away. She does a great job because we don't have very many mice in our barn. Mice get into the hay and make a mess. They eat the grain and other food that we buy for the farm animals. We don't want mice in our barn!
I thought you might like to see a hen that is laying an egg. Hens like to share nests. This hen is the last one to lay an egg in this nest this morning. Can you see the different color eggs underneath her?

Here are the eggs I collected this morning. There are brown and green eggs. Sometimes we collect a blue egg. One of the brown hens lays blue eggs!
Do you see the giant egg towards the front of the basket? That is a duck egg! We love duck eggs!
Here is the hen and her chicks. There are five chicks in the grass. Can you see them? There are two grey chicks, two yellow chicks, and one that is black and brown.
Next week I'll send a photo of Matt's dog and some photos of our ducks.

Have a nice week!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm

I started a new project with my daughter who teaches First Grade. It's called Friday Photo from the Farm.

Each week I send a few photos from the farm with a few words about the animals or whatever I decided to take a photo of that week.

Here is a link to the standards I am following. Scroll to the bottom of the page for Standard 4.

I'll be posting on Thursday for anyone who would like to follow along and prep for Friday.

Here is what I sent the First Graders today!

Here are the dairy goats waiting to come in for breakfast. The white ones get milked each morning, but the brown one is ‘dry’. Dry means that she isn’t giving milk right now. She still gets some grain and vitamins for breakfast, just like the other three. Their names (from left to right) are Misty, Annie, Clover, and Sandy. Sandy is a goofball!

This is Penny. She is Sandy’s ‘kid’. A kid is a baby goat. She is about 4 months old. She doesn't look very much like her mother, does she? I think the only thing that looks the same are the shape of their ears. What do you think looks the same or different? Penny's sire (dad) was brown, just like Penny! Penny's grand-dam (grandmother) is Clover.

This is Izzy. She was named after our neighbor’s daughter. Izzy is Misty’s kid. Izzy and Misty look almost like twins! Izzy's sire (dad) is white and has a curly coat.
Penny and Izzy sleep in a stall away from their dams (their mamas) so that we can have milk in the morning.

This is what milk looks like in the bucket right after I milk the goats in the morning. Annie filled up the bucket for me today! The white bucket behind the steel bucket has milk from Misty. I haven’t milked Sandy, yet. She gives about half a bucket full of milk.

What would you do with 2 gallons of milk every morning?

Next week I’ll send you pictures of the turkeys, and another picture of how the chicks are growing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Friday Photos from the Farm

These chicks were born Sunday (8/24), Monday (8/25), and Tuesday (8/26). Most chicks are hatched in the spring. This hen decided that fall would be a good time to hatch eggs.

This photo shows the hen teaching her chicks to drink from a puddle. She has a special cluck that tells them to come take a drink. If she finds something good to eat she pecks it into tiny pieces and calls her chicks to come and eat.

These chicks were not paying attention and wandered away from their mother hen. They got too cold and had to be warmed up with a special light. After a few hours they were feeling much better and went back out with the rest of their brothers and sisters.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

New Chicks 2014

We got chicks again this year. The older hens are 3 or more years old. They didn't lay through the winter so we got rid of most of them. A few were processed and many went to a woman who brings them to ranchers in the spring. Apparently there are ranchers and hobby farms that want older hens and ducks in their pastures to eat the bugs. They don't want to feed them much, they don't want to pay much for them, and they don't care if they get eggs.

We got new chicks on February 21. I wanted some cochins because they are so gentle and easy-going. They aren't great layers, but I'm not interested in having White Leghorns unless someone gives them to us. They are too excitable!

Our little flock includes 4 Buff Cochins, 4 Plymouth Rocks (or Barred Rocks), 4 Amerucaunas, and 3 Blue Silkies. There were 4 Silkies, but one died.

We've still got our Roo that's a mix of Arucana and I don't know what else, and 4 older hens that started laying now that spring is here. One is an Arucana so we get blue eggs, one is a mixed Arucana and she lays an olive colored egg, one Buff Orpington, and one Rhode Island Red.

Our Buff Cochins. Vet2Be said he likes this bird because they are so calm and easy to catch and put into the coop. We usually find them under the coop at bed-time instead of inside the coop.

One of the Barred Rocks. She's a pretty bird!
When they all start laying this fall we will have enough eggs to feed our little family, plus Blondie and her husband; and Spunky, her husband, and their son.

I turned into an 'egg snob' after having chickens. I have a hard time eating store bought eggs now. The fresh ones that have been raised on pasture taste so much better!

Just a side note on what free-range means:

In the United States, USDA free range regulations currently apply only to poultry and indicate that the animal has been allowed access to the outside. The USDA regulations do not specify the quality or size of the outside range nor the duration of time an animal must have access to the outside.

The term "free range" is mainly used as a marketing term rather than a husbandry term, meaning something on the order of, "low stocking density," "pasture-raised," "grass-fed," "old-fashioned," "humanely raised," etc.

There have been proposals to regulate by the USDA the labeling of products as free range within the United States. As of now what constitutes raising an animal free range is entirely decided by the producer of that product. (Wikipedia)

When you buy 'free-range' chicken eggs in the store, you may not be getting what you think you are getting.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kidding 2014

We only bred two goats out of four this year, Annie and Sandy.

Clover is at least 12, so we didn't want to chance loosing her. It would be hard on her to have kids this late in life.

Misty was so sick from mastitis last year that we wanted to give her a year break before we bred her again. We'll breed her this fall. She only has half an udder, so she only gives about 3 lbs (1 1/2 quarts) of milk each day.

Annie kidded on April 8 this year. She had a beautiful buckling that is healthy and strong. She also had a still-born doeling. We have no idea what happened. There was no decay, so it hadn't been dead long.

He was disbudded on April 14th so he's not as cute now as he was right after he was born.
Annie is giving almost a gallon a day. She's healthy and strong and doing well, as always. She's been one of our most reliable goats.

Sandy should kid out the end of May. We're not sure exactly what date she was bred, so we're just guessing by how she looks. Not very good animal husbandry on our part, but sometimes other things get in the way of writing things down when we should.

If you have any name suggestions for the buckling, please leave it in the comments section!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bees 2014

We lost our bees in late February or early March. Our fault, we didn't realize we needed to feed them this year.

He installed a new hive and Queen on Saturday (4/26). It was cold and rainy so we are hoping all goes well with them.

Hubby is planning on feeding the new hive starting in October or November to make sure they can make it through the winter.

You can see the feeder on the front. It was cold when I took the photo so all the bees are inside the hive staying warm, I hope!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cleaning Stalls and Other Spring Things

Friday we cleaned one stall. Since we've reduced the herd by almost half we could leave the stall empty and let it dry out for a day, but with all the rain I doubt we will be able to. We'll probably have to let the buck and the steer in for the night.

We also cleaned out the turkey brooder. We bought 5 turkeys on March 22. They are growing well. We started them on Game Bird Starter and they are now on 20% lay pellets. When the weather warms up a bit they will go out with the chickens.

We picked up and packed away the feed empty bags that were taking over the barn. They are great for when we are weeding and need to send the noxious weeds to the dump. They hold a lot and are much sturdier than the lawn and leaf bags we can buy at the store. Plus, these are free.... sort of. We had to pay for the feed, but we consider it recycling. The best kind of recycling because it doesn't use any resources to break down a finished product to turn it into something new.

Here's the little lamb we brought home from Lamb and Wool Festival on April 12th. He was about 3 weeks old in this picture.

The lamb (Vet2Be named him "Stew") is doing well and doesn't mind hanging out with the steer, Dinner. We keep him in a nice stall most of the time because he's so small he fits through all the fencing!