Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just like Christmas!

Oh boy have we been having fun with new toys here on the farm! First we got our new carport over our processing area. What a difference. We processed Monday with a cool breeze blowing through the shade. Ahhhhh. Then Bill made a bunch more carrying cages for getting the chickens from the tractor to the processing area. We'll be able to carry 80 to 100 birds. You can see them stacked on the right side of the carport.

Last, but not least (my favorite) we got our first three sheep. Janice and Lewis Cox from Oak Lane farm in Lake City have wonderful breeding stock. We ended up with a Katahdin, a Katahdin cross, and a Florida Native cross. They are all ewes and will be ready to breed next month. They're getting to know us and we're getting to know how to be shepherds. They even know my name. When they see me with the feed bucket they say, "Maaaaa."

I love having them and we'll be ready to harvest our first lambs next year.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The turkeys have arrived.

Hurray for Thanksgiving! I love turkeys. They are the cutest! Even when they get big and funny looking their personalities make them a joy to raise. Today we received our first shipment. I've ordered 45 for the season, 15 at a time. They are raised with the broilers because the chickens teach them how to live. They have to watch the chickens eat to know where the food is. Yet they are constantly looking for something different to peck. Like my ring. If the market for turkeys is good enough, I'd love to raise them all season long.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The thief has been seen!

Lately we had some sad events here. Something killed one duck, then three more ducks. Not just for food, mind you, but for fun and left the victims lay in the grass. Then, the same something came in broad daylight while we were at church and massacred four chickens. Feathers were everywhere. The casualties were heavy. I was angry and filled with a feeling of helplessness. So much for our "vigilant" guard dogs. Worthless.

Bill took a walk into the woods the next day and spotted a very large raccoon running away. He must have developed a taste for our chickens and was coming in for more. We moved the Egg Mobile and we are taking the dogs down into the woods at different times during the day. We may have scared him off, but I dare not get complacent. The electric netting is going up as quickly as we can get the grounding stakes in the ground. It's amazing how much impact losing four layers has made on our egg production. Four less eggs a day adds up to more than two dozen a week we won't be collecting. It makes me realize how valuable each creature is to the whole system. On a happier note, Our remaining two female ducks are doing fine after getting over the trauma and have begun to lay. I set them up in a new house in the garden, but the first opportunity they had they waddled back to the old cage and put themselves inside. I guess that's were they'll be staying for now.