The Woes of a homestead - for Better or for Worse

Yes, it has been too long since the last post.

Along with being a homesteader and horse rescuer, I am a college student, mom to 3 wild boys, a photographer and recently, as I mentioned, took a job as a supervising newborn photographer at the local hospital.

So here are recent updates to the homestead:

Our crew of donkeys, horses, goats, and the cow are going through around 400 lbs of hay a day. Everything is quite plump, so we have cut all grain/feed out of the horses diets except for the rescue foal. Goats continue with the regular mix of oats, corn, boss and alfalfa. The cow continues with hay only. Right now we are buying round bales at $15 each, and they are about 400lbs. We are going to need to move to 900-1000 bales at $25 each to help with the costs. We are going to cease free choice feeding since some friends were out and felt most of the horses are too heavy, and feed just enough to keep them looking healthy, not plump. I hope to stretch out a 900 lb bale to 1 every third day. That may be idealistic, at best. We will see.

You cannot imagine my shock when I went up and realized that in 24 hours or less, a 400 lb bale was gone - not a twig left behind the feeder. Shocking. . .I do not believe the cow ever moved in that 24 hour period more than a few feet.

So there you have the financial woes of the winter homesteader, and now you understand the need for my new job, which might just cover monthly feeding, if the Lord shines upon me.

Another woe, one that applies only to me as a vegetarian homesteader is that of our very mean Barred Rock rooster. Now this guy was supposed to be a pullet when he was purchased. As time went on, we realized the error. As more time passed, the error became very mean, as roosters are want to do.

He had to be moved from the coop to a smaller pen to avoid him attacking us each time we went in to get eggs. It is inevitable that the mean fellow will have to go on to that big coop in the sky, but I am having a hard time with it.

Thus far, no animals have been harmed in the production of this homestead, much less, actually have lost their lives. . .

A homestead with meat eaters, as the boys and the farming man are, that do not produce their own meats are not doing a very good job. I understand this. I am trying to come to terms with it. It is not easy.

Some nice friends of ours who raise Heritage Turkeys, the Pauley's, could help farming man render this mean rooster into a meal, but I just have no been able to give him the go ahead.

Seems silly, I am sure, to all of those out there who are carnivores, but wow, it is not easy for me. I do not even like this rooster, but I cannot help but feel he has a right to my protection, I guess. I bought him as a little "alleged" pullet chick at Tractor Supply Co during "CHICK DAYS" in the spring. Hand picked the little booger, I did.

I suggested turning him loose. My husband reminded me how angry he'd be if a raccoon or Hawk made away with his rooster than we have $20 or more in feed alone in. Ugh.

The rooster chronicles will be continued. . . soon.