Yes dear faithful reader, we are still here. If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve seen that we have been ridiculously busy. But for those of you who only follow us here must think we’ve dropped off but that is far, far, far from the truth. So here’s a quick summary of what’s been going on here.
Bovine: In order to keep milk flowing, you gotta make babies. Cows do not just spontaneously give milk. Their normal lactation runs for about ten months or so after giving birth. This was something that we probably didn’t give enough thought to. At first, we just figured we would artificially inseminate but that’s not as simple as one might think. The simplest way to breed a cow (or any animal for that matter) is to have a bull. So we started searching, and searching, aaaaand searching. We were just unable to find one that fit our budget as well as our desire to improve our herd. Then we learned of a Mini-Jersey bull that might be for sale. I called and YES! he was for sale, so we got him. We’re a little behind the game though. Normally you’d give your cow a 30-45 day break before she was due to give birth and start a new lactation, it looks like our cows are going to get about a 6 or 7 month break. Oh well.
Fowl: All kind of crazy stuff here. We have one last batch of broilers growing out on the pasture. We’ve processed all of our old laying hens for stewers. We replaced them with young Rhode Island Reds. We have 125+ Black Austrolorp chicks in the brooder for a future laying flock. We also scored a small flock of heritage turkeys to raise for Thanksgiving and Christmas. To top all THAT off, we stockpiled 3 tons of non-GMO feed for all these birds. Next year we will be exponentially increasing our poultry production to keep up with the growing demand.
Pigs: We have pigs now! YAY! We’ve decided to start raising Large Black pigs (yes that’s the name of the breed) because they are a pig that will graze on pasture without being too destructive. We also acquired a Tamworth to grow out for ourselves.
Rabbits: Nothing really new here. We’re still trying to get ourselves more productive in breeding and raising. Keeping them on pasture has been a real challenge since they do dig and we’ve lost a considerable amount of productive time chasing and catching escapees.
Garden: After spending hours prepping and planting only to have chickens destroy it, I’ve about given up on the hopes of any type of strawberry crop next spring. So a lot of focus has been going into chicken control. I recently met with another farmer who practices biodynamic farming and is raising enough food on one acre to support himself. After seeing his place, I’ve been REALLY encouraged at what we can do with 7+ acres. I hope to be able to drastically increase our vegetable production next year.
So there you have it in a nutshell. Now back to work.