Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Milk

Well, until November, anywhoozles.

Bridget chows down her last bucket of oats before I milk her out for the last time
until after she calves.
It was kinda sad, but I'm also ready for a break.

Catching Up: Sheep

Not much to report on them. They stay in the electro-net, eat grass and bushes and stuff, and baa at me every morning when I bring them water. We interact for about 4 minutes a day. They are, BY FAR, the easiest keepers on the homestead.

Pot Pie, right, Meatloaf, middle, and Meatball, left saying "hi" this morning.
We baa back and forth each morning.
The biggest challenge and time investment I have is when i switch the netting.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Catching Up: Pigs

The pigs have been quietly rooting their pen, working in manure, and making bacon.

Well, quietly, that is, unless they're hungry. Then they oink til Kingdom (or food) comes.

They have a happy little life, basking in shade, wallowing in their pits, visiting the chickens next door, getting excited over buckets of food, and digging and tilling up their land for me.  :)

I turned loose the water for them on one particularly hot day.
They wallowed for hours. It was funny.
There's really not much to report on them, so here's some pictures.

Chicken Problems (and Potential Solutions)

Chicken problems. We've had 'em all. Let's start with the older chickens and work down, shall we?

Problems #1 and #2: Food Ran Out and New Pecking Order...At the Same Time

About a month ago, I had a small 4-day interruption in layer pellet availability at the same time I introduced the 8 new Araucanas to the flock. The 23 laying-age chickens had been laying between 14 and 18 eggs pretty regularly for the previous month, but then sharply went down to around 8-10. The food interruption and the new pecking order disruption were blamed for the egg drop.

The flock flocked for fresh feed.
Turns out, those factors were not entirely to blame.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Catching Up: Cows

Part 2 in my catching up series is on the cows.

First, in case you missed it, Bridget is pregnant and due the first of November. Her belly swells daily, and I felt the calf move last week. It was a small rolling motion, and very awesome.

I have cut back to once-a-day milking since August. I will stop altogether and dry her off by Labor Day weekend. Hard to believe that my milking will come to an end. It's been a daily thing since February.

Cow selfie. Because, why not? Even with the oats all over her nose.....
I will miss milking toward mid-October, I'm sure, but I'm ready for a break.

Catching Up: Chickens

My blogging has really taken a downturn these last few weeks. There's been a lot going on that I should report out on, and I figured the best way to do that was through some individual catching-up posts.

And where better to start than with our chickens. Oh, the chickens. They have been driving Wife and I CRAZY this past month.

After the raccoon attack, I took the 8 new Araucanas and introduced them to the existing flock. Every went very much according to plan, very smoothly, etc. Some of the Leghorns even jumped into the chick introduction pen with them. It was pretty funny. I topped out at an 18-egg day about a month ago.

A cool day's dozen seems a distant memory, what with the molting, pecking ordering,
and feed-running-outing going on.....

Then, the egg production took a SHARP turn down. We went from 13-16 eggs a day to fewer than 8. I believe the reason was a perfect storm of them running out of pellets while I had no car to get more for 5 days, a poorly-timed molt from our Australorps, and a disruption of the pecking order on the lower end due to the new Araucanas. At least that's the prevailing theory.