Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Fall to You All!

Hi everyone.  Since the weather is getting cooler and I am spending more time inside, I thought I would write an update on our farm.  About two months back, I sold all our young turkeys to a couple down the road, as they were just eating too much.  Then we butchered our 2 broad breasted turkeys about a month ago.  George was 32 lbs dressed and Rosanna was 18 lbs!  50 pounds of meat for winter!  George will be cooked up for Thanksgiving and leftovers made into home canned chicken noodle soup!  I will definitely be raising some more of these next year.  They were easy to care for, did eat a fair bit, but gave us a good return in meat.  Below is a pic of the smaller Oregon Gray poults when they were young.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get pics of George and Rosanna.

A couple of months ago I got some more birds from a friend of mine who had to sell all of hers.  I bought 13 muscovy ducks, 7 buckeye chickens (these guys are mousers and ratters!), and a few misc. chickens, about 50 birds in all.  So I have a total of 15 muscovies now.  I will save the 2 adult hens, my adult drake and all the teen girls.  I will butcher the extra teen drakes in the next month or so.  Funny enough, muscovies are so heavy that I thought they could not fly.  None of mine had ever tried.  So two days ago I look out the window and there is a young scovie hen on top of my chicken coop!  This is like a 12 foot tall roof!  It was funny to see!  So apparently they can fly if they want to.  These ducks are mild-mannered, quiet, don't take much care and lay huge eggs!  I think this breed of duck is a win-win.

When I got these new ducks, I added them to the meat animal side of the pasture.  (One side of my pasture is for my pet birds and one side is for the meat animals.)  Well I kept putting food out and they kept emptying the bowl and acting hungry.  I couldn't figure out how they were eating so much.  Then one day I filled the bowls and watched as the sheep ran up and ate it all!  I tried chasing them off, but they would come right back.  I tried spraying them with the hose, same...  It got so frustrating, along with the fact that the sheep were not growing very quickly, that I sold them!  I ended up making a little money since they were bigger than when I bought them, so I was happy.

Remember the cute "pregnant" goats we had on loan?  Well after a month of being late, I called a new friend that is very knowledgeable about goats and she came to look at them.  She told us that they were just fat and not pregnant!  So I talked with my friend, who owns the goats.  She offered that I could keep them and breed them again for next spring.  I had a lot going on and decided not to take her offer.  So we packed them up and took them back to her house.  They were sweet pets, like dogs, but they didn't work out for what we wanted them for.  It was a good learning experience though. 

One of the reasons I decided not to keep more responsibilities at that time, was because I had just learned that I have type two diabetes.  I had been feeling terribly ill for the last month (end of June and beginning of July) and I finally got into the doctor.  They told me I had diabetes and that my blood sugar, which should stay around 110, was at 412!  So I had a huge learning curve to find out how to manage this and get healthy.  I am now healthy and off the insulin shots and exercising more and feeling great!  I now eat gluten, dairy and sugar free. 

Since I have stopped hatching, I have less income from the animals.  I had bred the rabbits and had many teens to sell, but none were selling.  Maybe it is due to the time of year.  Since our family wasn't comfortable eating the rabbits and that is why I was raising them, I decided it was best to sell them.  They were going through a 50 lb bag of feed in less than a week.  The feed has gone up to $16 a a bag recently too!  So I ended up selling all 24 rabbits to a guy (who also raises birds) for $100.  It is a very low price since I also gave him all my cages, water bottles, feeders, the rest of the feed, baby boxes, and everything we had for them.  But it was the best I could find and they we are not having to feed them anymore.  Shyanne will miss them as she fed and watered them every day as well as spending time with them.  You know girls and cute, cuddly animals. =}

Speaking of cute, cuddly animals, I had bought the kids each a chinchilla last spring for Easter.  They were becoming a lot of work for the kids and they were not getting much attention.  So we all decided to sell them.  We found a 17 year old girl who was very excited to buy and spend time with them.  She will give them a good home.

I also ended up selling my flock of Giant Cochins.  For some reason I lost both of my roosters within 1 month of each other, this summer.  Also, being big birds, they eat a fair bit and are kinda poor layers.  They often take breaks and their eggs are medium sized too.  So even though I love their temperament, I decided to try a different mild-mannered breed that laid better.  They are buff Brahmas.  They are technically David's birds.  He bought them when they were chicks, with his own money.  I mostly take care of them, but he helps.  He has already sold his first dozen of hatching eggs!  They are very sweet birds and are reported to lay huge eggs.  (ours are still pullet sized so far)

Izzie (the gosling I hatched this spring), who is generally called Goosie, is doing well.  She is now part of the adult group of geese.  We now have 4 total.  She gets along well with her parents and aunt.  We still hope she is a she.  When I leave the duck gate open for them to free range, she will go into their coop and sit on duck eggs. =}  She still makes her baby sounds, woo-woo-woooo and calls to me when every I go out the back door.

I have to go do some chores outside with the animals now.  I will write more later.