Friday, April 29, 2011

growth spurt

I was just looking at the pics I recently posted and realized we have had a huge growth spurt.  The largest of the geese and the ducks are weighing in at a whopping 1.5lbs (estimated) and that was Monday.  I'll bet they are nearing 2 lbs now.  I cannot believe how fast they grow!

The chicks are all working up to being fully feathered.  The hens are much more feathered than the roos. 

I made some fresh mozzarella tonight with Kissee's milk and while it made great pizza it didn't set up like I'd hope so I'll have to try again before I host my first cheese class. 

I'll try to post again soon with pics...promise!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Finally! getting a chance to post some pictures

The Hens
The Roosters
a couple of turkeys

trying to get a cute Easter picture
the trip home with the goats
Geese, Ducks and Turkeys
the newest additions- Kissee and York

 So all the poultry babies are just growing really fast, Monday the chicks will be a bit over 3 weeks old and the rest will be reaching that date on Thursday (I'm going by arrival dates).  Its hard to imagine the amount of growth they are supposed to achieve in the next couple weeks.  My books say the ducks should be ready to butcher at about 8 weeks and weight about 7lbs.  WOW!

The goats we just brought home yesterday.  Kissee is a very well scoring, good milking bloodline registered Nubian.  She was not cheap, but I'm really hoping that she will prove to be a good milker for a long time so getting the quality in place now can mean a lot.  Her only real flaw is that she has an underbite, but none of her kids do so its apparently not passed on.    Her scores are 11*M, VVEV, averages about 7.8lbs of milk daily (I've only recently learned what those even mean, don't feel bad if you don't).  As I've discovered that you have to be a pretty good hand milker to get that 7.8lbs a day.  This morning we got a quart and a half out of her and we probably should have been able to get that last half quart if we were better at milking.  Aye, its a learning curve.  I've also learned why a milking stand is back hurts!  Not to mention how fidgety she is about being milked from the floor.  So my husband (awesome man that he is!) is building me a stand as I type this.  Isn't he great!

The other day, on April 22, I calculated how many eggs we've gotten since the arrival of our 7 hens on March 23rd.  It was 115 eggs!  So I did some math and compared to Meijer organic eggs at $3.39/dozen, which is what we were buying, we saved about $15 after adjusting for feed by keeping hens instead; and they are better eggs!  Now that the eggs are coming in faster, I'll have to make more egg related dishes.  I figure our "cost" per dozen is right around $1.50 if you don't include things like the mobile coop costs. 

I'm trying to keep up with the economics of the farm outputs vs. inputs since part of the reason we do this is to hedge off rising grocery prices.  I'll put up more comparisms as I have them.  I hope its not too boring.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The goats are here!  I'll come back later with the details and some pictures but tonight...I need some rest!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Babies updates and coming attractions

These weeks get crazier all the time.  I can't believe we are past the half way point of April already.  I still don't have a garden planted, which for me is unreal but its a new garden bed and its been really wet.  I'm making a lot of excuses huh?

The chicks are growing wing feathers and tail feathers.  One of the turkens appears to be growing the beginnings of his comb.  I've managed to ID all the hens that we are keeping, but I still have no idea which chick was the "free exotic" or what its gender is.  The hatchery sent an extra 5 babies beyond what we ordered and I know one of them was labeled as a female Blue Andulusian (they must have had an odd extra I guess)- whom I've already identified but the other four I can only guess were extra roosters on my "all heavies" portion of my order.  So I have 5 (the 4 unknowns plus the exotic unknown) that I assume will go to freezer camp at the end of the summer.

The turkey poults are growing pretty fast too.  They are about 10 days old by my guess and are starting to fill in with wing feathers and I think they've gotten taller.  I'm somewhat sure that the white ones are actually Giant White Turkeys since they are bigger than the Broad Breasted Bronze one (it could be a standard bronze one, impossible to tell really).  

The ducklings are getting huge!  The Pekin ducks are nearly the size of the goslings at this point.  They are kind of funny in that they sit around the water dishes and play in the water.  They usually muddy it up really well too and I think they are dunking their food in it.   The smallest of the alleged Pekin ducklings has a gash on its bill that I'm a little concerned about.  I can't imagine how it got that way so I guess since its otherwise pretty active and lively I'll leave it be.   The black and gray ducklings, I think are Swedish but I'm not completely sure; they aren't growing as fast but I don't think they get as large either as adults.

The gosling pair are real characters.  They like to "talk" to us every time we look into their brooder box.  They are also brave enough to put the poults in line (the poults pick on everyone by pecking at them, I assume this a turkey thing).

So next week, I'll add to my updates news of goats hopefully.  I'm supposed to pick up a Nubian milk doe and a saanen wether to get us started.  I've already bought salt blocks, bedding, a milk kit and a first aid kit in preparation for the new arrivals.  I already had cheese making supplies so I'll be looking forward to getting a chance to really try them out on some fresh milk!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

turkeys, ducks and geese

The turkeys, ducks and geese arrived this morning...another 6 am wakeup call and trip to the post office.  They are sooooo cute!  The turkeys are all light yellow (6 of them) but one which I suspect is a broad breasted bronze.  The light yellow I suspect are holland whites since thats the bigger white turkey they offer.  The geese I think may be pilgrim geese, there are two and if they are then we have a male and a female which is ideal for us.  The ducks, 5- I believe to be pekin ducks and the other 2 I think may be Swedish blue ducks- although one is black and one is blue. 
Oh and its true the old saying that "birds of a feather flock together".  The water birds have been inseperable and the turkeys are trying their best to work their way in but those water birds want nothing to do with them.  Also, I've learned that turkeys will lay and sleep in the oddest positions, I actually thought one was dying based on how it was laying in the brooder.  He (or she) popped right up and started running about though when it was woken up. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quick update

Wow, who knew moving and trying to get a farm (even if its just a hobby farm) up and going would keep me so very busy!  and its expensive!
Monday our chicks arrived.  I know there are 6 Buff Orphs, 3 Blue Andulusians and 2 Arcaunas for our layers since I picked those by breed.  The "all heavy males" though are a fantastic mix of colors.  It looks like we have Turkens, Barred Rocks, RIRs, White Orphs and I think I noticed some Black Cornish and Light Brahmas but its hard to say.  They gave us about 5 extras too, I'm assuming males also.  We have 1 mystery chick that I think is a White Blue Andulusian but I don't know what gender or even if thats correct.  Its fun trying to figure them out though.
I've been talking to a couple goat breeders and I have choices of Nubian, French Alpine and Saanen goats for our home dairy.  I cleaned the barn today in preparation of whatever we bring home and I order from Caprine Supply a first aid kit and a milking kit.  I also picked up a fence energizer and rope electric line for restringing our fence line.  Still so much to do!
Our current flock of 7 layers have already paid for their feed bag and still have a 1/4 bag left so they are proving their worth.  They are now averaging between 4 and 7 eggs a day.  We finally had enough to share with our very helpful neighbor who was so kind to till us a garden space with his tractor.  Yay for good neighbors!!