Jan’s Weekly Farm Update 2/27/2018

Happy Tuesday Homesteaders!  It’s time for a weekly update!

It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  I have experienced doing chores in the snow for the very first time.  Initially the snow did not stick, but then we had an evening where it snowed for about six hours and we woke up to about 2 inches of snow on the ground.  It was beautiful.  Now to those of you who live in snowy regions you are no doubt thinking what a nut and I totally understand.  However, it is a novelty here and seeing my animals’ reactions to this strange white stuff on the ground was so interesting.  The pigs were like whatever, and I had a few brave chickens, but for the most part they were watching from inside their nice dry coop.  Goats that typically do not care for dampness of any type were running around checking things out and our heifer pretty much shared the pigs take on the snow.  It only lasted for a couple of days so we only had a few minor inconveniences, but I have a new respect for homesteaders who live in areas where they experience snow the real game and care for their livestock in extreme weather.

In my updates I have mentioned that my hens are laying eggs like crazy, thus we are drowning in eggs on the homestead.  When we lived in California I had relatives, friends, and neighbors to help share in my abundance.  However, living in a new place I do not have all of those outlets for my eggs, so I decided to place an ad on our local Facebook homesteader’s page.  Since many people in our area have backyard chickens I didn’t have any idea the type of response I would get.  All I can say is wow!!  For almost two days after placing the ad on a whim I was receiving comments and inquiries about purchasing eggs, the type of chickens I have, their feed, and even whether I was willing to sell any of my girls. Although it was fairly crazy and I was temporarily overwhelmed, the outcome has been great.  In the past three days I have sold 22 dozen eggs and I have a farm to fork restaurant in Portland that wants to purchase eggs too.  I am super excited about this new prospect and will let you guys know how it goes.

I recently attended the Northwest Oregon Dairy Goat Association conference.  It is a yearly event held in Clackamas County that provides goat owners and wannabe goat owners at all levels of expertise, practical information for managing your herd.  They have four sessions with several class options which gives you the opportunity to choose the classes that will be most beneficial to you.  Since I am fairly new to goats I attended classes on internal parasites.  Now I know that sounds like a gripping subject, but it is one of the most important things that you need to learn about when you are a beginner.  The traditional wisdom has been to worm goats based on time rather than if the goat actually has a parasite problem.  However, the updated practice is to test your animal’s feces to see whether your animal needs treatment.  I learned how to make poop soup and what to look for when examining the slide under the microscope.  I will be doing this for the first time hands-on next month with my goat group.

Farm Updates:

A couple of days ago our largest rooster who has been dancing around me whenever I am around his ladies, flew at the back of my legs and cut me in three spots with his spurs.  First I was shocked, and then I was furious.  I was like, “really, really I feed you, water you, bring you scratch, and just generally make sure that you have a wonderful life!”  He has been granted a reprieve for now, but if there is another incident then he has to go.  I will not have an aggressive animal around, especially since my granddaughter loves spending time with the chickens.  So fingers crossed that it was a one-time thing.

The goaties are yearning for spring.  They enjoy being outside and browsing on the occasional lovely day.  In an attempt to brighten their days, and continue to win their affections, I have made the discovery that most of my older goats love Fig Newtons.  This is great because I needed to give them a copper bolous that amazingly can be hidden in the cookies.  I have never seen animals take minerals so willingly.  It is lovely when trying to spoil an animal also works out to your benefit.

I recently talked to my pig breeder and now I have to make a decision about whether I want to get weaner pigs again, or if I am going to get a bred sow.  His neighbor has a Gloustershire Old Spot sow that will be farrowing in March.  I have the choice of some piglets from the litter, or I can have the sow bred back after she weans this litter.  I have a little time to make my decision so stay tuned to see what we end up with on the homestead.

Hazel and Humphrey are getting tired of the rain and mud.  I feel their pain.  It is drier in their pen this year than last, but there is just no escaping the mud.

Have a great week!

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