Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen

Today we remember OUR Savior's resurrection:

Mark 16

"As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."

And so it was. . .

Part of my desire to live on a homestead, raise my own food and teach my children
is very connected with my belief in Jesus, Christianity and scripture.

I cannot let Easter past without bringing this to the attention of anyone who might
read this blog today or in the future.

Out THERE with your Animals!

I created this poster for an event we are helping put on and attending
on April 30th at Tractor Supply in Hurricane, WV.
If you're local, please try to attend and support local farms!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A little Fox can destroy the. . .

Well, a little fox might not be able to destroy the farm,
 but it sure can decimate a chicken population.

Over the past 5 days, we have lost 3 hens and 2 roosters!

I was certain that the culprit was a hawk or two, but we
were missing 3 chickens in one afternoon!

A few fowl savvy friends told me to suspect a fox this evening.
 I disagreed!

I couldn't see a fox coming into the barn with Kyla, our Pyr
(worthless, loving beast!), and taking chickens!

We had our newer Pyr, Carly, that is admittedly a better guard,
locked up in a goat lot with Jake, our Pit Bull / Hound mix,
 because she was going around a mile away to the main road.

The chickens did not start missing until Carly went up 7 days ago.

After explaining the reasons that the predator was a hawk and not a
fox to my friends, my farmer husband went out to feed everyone in
the barn, and as he stepped out
and started up the hill.  . .

What did he see but a FOX!

(Not the actual fox - ha - clearly)

He wasn't certain at first. . .

He went on up the hill, toward the barn.

Sure enough, it was a FOX!

The darn creature slinked off.

He came down to get his gun. I insisted he must not
shoot the fox. Of course, there could be babies out there
that the female fox is feeding, but either way,
I am happy for the fox to continue living,
but she must go elsewhere!

I asked him to turn out  Carly and Jake.
I felt that Jake, who is livestock safe,
would help create an area here the Fox
does not want to return to.

Jake, true to hound form, took off after the Fox,
which had not adequately been
frightened by John's presence, and was
still hanging about!

Carly decided she was not interested.
Perhaps Jake would have it all taken care of
in due time. She came down and went to sleep on the porch.

I am hoping and praying that is
the end of our poultry mishaps!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicks, Round Two

So of the 40 eggs we sat from the hens we have here on the farm, around 30 ended up viable intially.
Through the course of incubation, about 25 remained viable.
They were due to hatch this morning, and as of now, thanks to the fluctuating temps of the Little Giant,
only 5 have hatched, no more pips. I opened it because none of the others were pipped and took the 5 that hatched out. I have eggs waiting to go in, so even though I wouldn't usually do it a this point, I candled them - no movement that I can see and they didn't look right - UGH! I don't know what changed from day 18 when they were moving and temps finally became constant and close to or at 99.5  to day 21, but it looks like they
didn't make it. Cheap bators suck. I'll leave them in until tomorrow night to be 100% sure.

We'll see. . .

Here is a photo of the babies that did hatch today
These would be a mix of
RIR/Welsummer or RIR/Barred Rock
Australorps/Barred Rock or Australorp/Welsummer
and Delware/BR or Wels
Orpington/ BR or Wels - depending on which Roo was involved

These are 14 eggs that ended up duds

On the often discussed topic of chicks, as we are, might as
well share updated photos of the Miracle (lol) chicks from
4 weeks ago or so

They are in the ugly chick stage

Here are the ones in our trusty Brinsea incubator due to hatch Sunday
They are Delawares, Welsummer, Barnevelders, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes
and Black Copper Marans

And as an end note, I was thrilled to have found this $5 egg basket
at Tractor Supply Co!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Goat care, in a round-about way,

This will be something of a hodge-podge blog about goat care, 
real milk and all sorts of other homesteading activities.

A few days ago, it was Goat Care day, though not all the care 
could be addressed in a single day at this time of year.

Goats require a great deal more care than the average farmer would want to give, thus most goat keepers have poor looking goats and sell them soon after acquiring them because they in order to thrive, they simply require a lot of upkeep.

So a few days back, the goat herd needed hoof trims, coccidia prevention and worming. The horses and cow were also wormed. For those who would like to know what we used on the latter, Zimectrin Gold and Ivermectin, depending which was used in the winter. The goats received Quest or Valbazen, depending on what works for each goat.

One thing a lot of goat owners over look is trimming goat's hooves, particularly their bucks. This can cripple a goat in a matter of a year or two. It takes a lot time to get hooves back into proper shape, if it can even be done, if they have been neglected.

There is nothing fun about fighting with a buck in rut (which ours aren't now, thanks GOD) that weighs around 170lbs in order to trim 4 feet, but you HAVE to do this if you want to provide proper, humane care! Does, older kids, wethers and bucks all need trimmed about every 8 weeks. Some goats can go longer, and it is ideal to keep hoof condition in mind when breeding for a better goat. Supplementing with copper can help control hoof growth. Copper supplementation is almost always needed, at any rate, and it will improve coat condition, fish tails, bald tails, parasite problems, kidding issues, growth and more!

Ace is a pretty good guy about this!

Ideally, this is your goal:

I also wanted photos of our First Freshener udders in the herd. A First Freshener is a doe during her first lactation, following her first kidding/birth. We have four FF does. For the most part, I'm pleased with their udders. Two have very good attachment, the other two have good attachment, and all have crazy easy to milk teats, especially three of the four. All are even, barring the one doe that had the teat injury, which is preventing her from being even. All seem to have good medials and the teat placement is good. Of course, I speak in terms of a good milker, not the showring requirements, which I have little knowledge of. I'm attaching the ADGA guide for what to look for in an ideal doe. Keep in mind, these does are not stacked/posed for ideal udder shots.
Candy: 2 yr old Nubian FF - 4 weeks fresh - empty
Spring: 1 yr old Nubian - FF - 5 weeks fresh

Eve - FF Nubian - 8 weeks fresh - after a serious teat injury
Dutchie - 1 yr old FF Nubian - 9 weeks fresh - full udder on one side

We are having some issues with Spring's weight. Not sure if the pregnancy was just too hard on her for her age, if there is a serious worm load (we've wormed her, giving Iron supplement, etc) or a nutrition problem. We have her on a high fat Nutrena supplement, so we will see.

We recently reevaluated what we are feeding, and we've stopped mixing out own whole grains.
I know a lot of people swear by it, but I have just not found our horses or goats do well on whole grain self mixes. The goats are now on Nutrena Doe and Kid. It is a medicated feed. Lots of idealistic, holistic folks cringe at medicated feed. Ideally, you could raise goats without it, but you CANNOT! Goat kids will get coccidia, and if it does not kill them, it will stunt their growth so severly, they likely will never recover. There is no herbal, homeopathic remedy. There is no avoiding it. Goat kids have no resistence to it. You must treat them for it. Now, you can shy away from medicated feeds, but you still must treat cocci every 21 days for 5 day periods with Dimethox or Sulmet (never CORID). We do both and experience good growth with the kids.

Buttin Heads Arsenic - Nigerian Buckling -  5 weeks old

We also finally moved the Nigerian buckling out into the pen with the does and kids, though he is in a large kennel inside of that pen to make sure he isn't bullied. We put the other kids up with him at night, but he now has other goat company! Goat really must have the companionship of other goats to thrive. They form very strong family bonds, as well, and much more so than in other livestock that I've had.

 The whole time we were at work outside, the kiddos stood at the window squalling to come up, but since they are have no concept of staying safe around the farm at this point, they have to remain inside if we cannot be one step behind them at all moments!

We are attempting a garden this year.

What is a farm/homestead with a garden? But I have never been very good at growing plants and keeping plants alive, so I cannot promise how well this will go. We started the seeds indoors late to being with. Most were planted a week ago. The garden spot outside is close to finished, so let us pray something grows in these little containers indoors! I did make an effort to buy organic seeds, for the most part, though the term "Organic" is in the eye of the reader and a blog is pending on that whole subject, and I bought only what I thought we would really use!

 By the way, I have an extensive guide to goat care I've put a lot of time into writing on our website, and it might be a great help to anyone thinking about getting into goats, so feel free to read it and then share it with others that might find it beneficial.

Last but not least, most of my readers and friends know how important access to real food
is to me and to you, whether you know it or not, and the state of West Virginia denies
its citizens the right to real milk from local, humane farms. This state even denies
citizens the rights to buy into a herd and obtain a share of milk from his/her part
of the cow or goats.

That is why I want to share an option for milk in a legal way for those who live in the Tri-state area, though I'd like nothing more than to sell herdshares or milk to you myself, I cannot in this state,
so I want to suggest

Located in Ohio, right over the border from Ky and WV,
they operate a legal HERD SHARE program with a goat
herd and can offer YOU and your family access to REAL
MILK from a healthy herd! They also make cheese with your
milk shares!

PLEASE visit their link and support YOUR LOCAL FARMERS
and your own health!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Chicken Chronicles

    Goodness, had I know the plethora of fascinating breeds out there in the world of chickens, 
    I might have avoided going beyond your basic hatchery layers like:

(photos link to respective sites unless they are my own!)

Rhode Island Reds

Now these breeds lay very well, no question! They are awesome, but
as far as the breeds out there, they are a bit ho hum.

But wow! Once you starting looking into
chicks from legitimate breeders or a
quality breeder stock hatchery like

You will find it easy to start down the road of discovering
chickens breeds, you might find out it is addictive!

So, along with the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes,
Blue and Black Copper Marans, Delawares,
Blue Wheaten and Wheaten Ameraucanas,
Welsummers and Barnevelders we
already have hatched here this year and last,

I'm looking to add Orpingtons in a variety of
colors, including rare Lavender, along with more color variations of
Ameraucanas, and Black / Blue Wyandottes.

Hatching eggs are risky since you never know what type of
hatch rate you will get, but the best sources are Back Yard
and Ebay. . .

I'm waiting for the eggs in the incubators now to hatch, and candling has shown
we should have a fairly good hatch if the crazy Little Giant will keep temp!



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington