Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Cleaning Of The Farm And A Change, Maybe

This time of year I always look at the farm and try to see what's working and what's not working.  Then I will have the whole winter planning on how we can change the "not working" parts of the farm.

One easy thing that we are going to do is get rid of some chickens. We have too many.  I normally would sell the eggs, but so many of the people that I was selling eggs to, ended up getting chickens for themselves.  I'm happy about that.  We were actually just covering the cost of feed by selling the eggs.  Instead of having 29 chickens, I think we are going to downsize to around a dozen.  Plus, Hubby is working on our new chicken coop and it will be a little smaller than the one we have now. Oh by the way, it's almost done!!!!!  When we first started to build it, we just had a few chickens.  Then we had a lot of people ask us about eggs for sell.  So this spring, we went and bought some chicks. (Who can resist baby chicks in the spring time? Not me!)  I was hoping to keep selling some of their eggs.  Now, I'm over loaded with eggs!!!   I have a least 10 dozen eggs in cartons right now!  I like to eat eggs, but not THAT much. lol

The rabbits that we have?  Well, I'm not real sure about them yet.  I tried putting our does in with the buck for a little while.  They wanted nothing to do with him.  Yes, they are does.  I checked.  Three times.  I'm gonna try it again soon.  If I don't get them to breed this time, I'm done with rabbits.  I told Hubby if we get rid of the rabbits I was NEVER to get rabbits again.  For a person who grew up on a rabbit farm, I can't grow rabbits to save my life!!!! If they don't work this time, I'm going to cut my loses and move on.

The cattle, well, we are still growing our herd.  Working on our fencing is the biggest things we do with them.  That and baling hay.  No big deal.  Cattle are great investments.  At the markets, right now, they are going for $2.40 a pound.  That's not hanging weight.  That's the cost of them walking.  Plus, we have a waiting list of people that want to buy our grass fed beef.  I don't blame them.  Fresh, grass fed beef is soooooo much better tasting than what you get from the store. We will be keeping the cattle.

One thing I'm looking into again, is a few fiber animals.  I'm still not sure if I'm wanting sheep or alpacas.  I'm leaning really hard toward sheep.  They are slightly like goats in their care.  And, I really miss my goats.  I've been kicking around getting sheep for a couple of years now.  Then I asked myself, "What am I afraid of?"  I'll never know if I like them unless I get them.  So that's one of our big projects that I'm doing around here.  I'm getting our little barn/building ready for some sheep. I'll get some pictures of the "before," then, I'll get some of the "after." We will also have to put up different fencing too.  We only have barbed wire right now.  It holds cattle but it won't do much for sheep.  Plus, I don't want their wool all messed up by the barbs. Wove wire fencing is so EXPENSIVE!!!!  It's gonna take a while before we can afford to buy the fence.  Hopefully we will be able to get everything done and set up for sheep around spring or so.

I went to Hug-A-Sheep Day at Equinox Farm this past weekend.  It was like giving alcohol to an alcoholic.  I wanted sheep that much more.Sara from Punkin's Patch, didn't help me any.  She keeps prodding me to get some.  Oh, and a donkey.  We (she and I) decided I need a donkey too. lol!!!!  Hubby, not so much.  This is the faces that were there to greet me at Hug-A-Sheep Day.  I think I may be hooked.



So until next time,

Small Farm Girl,  Sheep farmer?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, my. I have yet to try raising rabbits... I have llamas, they are nice to raise. I haven't tried sheep, but the next door neighbor has, and likes them. (I spin, she raises hair sheep. OH, THE IRONY!) Anyway, I hope you can find some nice animals!

Cat

small farm girl said...

Cat, that is just wrong. That's just teasing you. How dare she just have hair sheep. Lol

Mike Yukon said...

Don't know what to say about your rabbits and not multiplying, I thought it was automatic, but what would I know I was just a kid who ate them. When I was growing up mom raised as many as 42 at a time, I think 24 was her target number but once in a while they would get out of hand. We raised them for our food and we ate a lot of them as money was tight.

Good luck or good eating! :-)

small farm girl said...

Mike, we had over 150 breeding rabbits or more! I'm stumped too. I'm still giving it time though.

Susan said...

I am very much in favor of SFG Sheep Raiser! I love my sheep - they are easier to raise than goats, in that they are not quite as hard on fences. An alternative to welded wire fencing is electronet fencing. This is great because you can move them around easily.

small farm girl said...

Susan, now there's an idea! Something to look into!

Sandy said...

SFG,

Good luck with the rabbits!!!

Hey I read your article in the Molly's magazine.....good article.

Journey's Edge Farm said...

Oh Sherri, they are so cute and they look so soft....so when are you going to get them....I know you!!

small farm girl said...

Thanks Sandy!

small farm girl said...

Yes you do know me! Lol. Hopefully soon. Have to come up with some money for fencing first.

An At Home Daughter said...

My Mom just recently got a trio of Shetland sheep. They are wonderful! Small easy to handle, and come in all different colors. One of the ewes she got is pure black, and that's after being exposed to the sun all summer without a blanket. Plus some of them roo. Look up Shetland sheep rooing.
We looked into donkeys before after loosing an animal to coyotes. Only to find out they don't do well on pasture or any diet for fiber or milk animals. They basically need a very dry boring pasture or they get fat really fast. That's why people are constantly rehoming them. Plus they can be really problematic as guardians. Throwing your sheep over the fence or stomping new animals added to the flock or babies when they are born. We changed our mind really fast.
Kimberly

Vera said...

We have sheep, and I couldn't imagine our farm without any. I love their smell, and I love their meat, and I love their fleece (to spin), and I love the way they are so laid back unless disturbed and then they go all ditsy. But we have too many here and need to get the numbers down. We were supposed to do that this year but other things got in the way, so come spring we shall have a population explosion if the new ram has done his job properly!

We have done rabbits, and will again, but only when we have a proper home for them, one which will keep them safe from biting insects.

We are running our chicken flock down at the moment. We also need to build a proper chicken house, and once that is done next year then we shall increase the flock again. I do miss the eggs though. Have had to buy eggs in, and they just do not taste the same!

small farm girl said...

Oh goodness Kimberly! I may have to rethink the donkey. Thanks for the info! I've been looking into Shetland sheep. I was told they are kind of flighty. I'm gonna have to look into them closer now. You have givin me things to think about!

small farm girl said...

Vera, that's the kind of sheep I want. An all around good breed. Of course I'm new to all of things sheep, so it's going to be interesting.

An At Home Daughter said...

The Shetlands my Mom bought aren't anymore flighty that our Suffolk sheep. I plan to include them in my next blog post, just haven't gotten around to it. The ewes are tame and are trained to walk on a leash. The ram is skittish but not people aggressive.
A friend of a friend of mine (if that makes sense) got into raising Icelandic sheep. I was told that they are extremely flighting, and never tame down. The ram injured the woman so badly it put her in the hospital. I asked my friend about them recently, and was told that the woman has stopped breeding them and is going to just let them die off of old age, because they are just to much trouble and there fleeces get courser with age making them undesirable.
I was reading about the Shetlands, wondering if it would be OK to breed the ram with our Suffolk ewes, because we wanted to sell our Suffolk ram (keeping 2 rams just wouldn't work). Also because Shetlands are a flat (short) tailed breed. I discovered that a lot of people are crossing them, because even though they are a lot smaller there meat is much better. That made our decision easy.
Kimberly

small farm girl said...

Hmmmmmmm. Interesting. I'll have to look into them.

Anonymous said...

My inexperienced doe ran circles around the Bucks cage the first time I put her in with him. I put her back in that night, about 8 hours later. Still nothing. The next morning, they were both eager to make babies. Today was 10 days later and I checked her, pretty sure I have a pregnant doe. A more experienced breed than myself told me that the repeated times will tease the doe into being receptive. It seemed to work for me. Just a thought.

small farm girl said...

Thanks! I'll try that!!!!

LL Farm said...

We recently got alpacas, had them sheared, but still need to find a spinner. Aaahhh...beef. We hope to add a cow or two next year. You are right about the taste...we fill our freezer every year with good tasting stuff...usually from my brothers herd. Enjoying looking through your blog.