Friday, June 24, 2011


Just after he arrived home!
He went the whole 20 minute trip in my lap, next time we'll
leave a dog-crate in the car, just in case... 
My husband has always wanted some goats, so when we saw this cute little ball of wool hiding in the back of his dog crate at the auction we had to bring him home. Yes, I say wool because apparently he missed sheep vs. goats 101 (I can't blame him, Billy has tricked a couple people, he really looks like a goat!).
Our you my Mommy?
Poor Madison!

Billy is our first official four-legged farm animal since the horses & cows don't arrive until next week. We brought him home as a pet so hopefully he'll have a very long and happy life with us. He's already a total sweet-heart, just loves to cuddle right into your lap.

Lunch Time!
We're not sure what breed he is (and he is probably a mix) but I definitely think he's a smaller breed, like a Shetland, because of his size. The auctioneer said he was 2 weeks old, way too young to be off his mom. He also can't eat as much milk replacer at a time as a lamb his age is supposed to, but he eats enough to fill his little tummy and seems to be thriving!

The little guy is sleeping in the garage until we get the rest of the animals home (a lone little lamb is a dinner bell for the coyotes), although it occurred to me later he probably could have stayed in the chicken coop... at least this is more convenient for feedings!

Exhausted from all this activity! 
He's taking a bottle about once every two hours except at night, and drinks between 100-150ml each time. He's also grazing away on our lawn, and especially my miniature rose bush which apparently was a lovely snack... Oh Billy! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Turkies Have Arrived!

These little guys are about 3 to 4 weeks old, so they aren't going to be ready for Thanksgiving, but for Christmas they definitely will. I don't really have any intentions of keeping a breeding pair of turkeys, but I may consider it as these guys get older.

They are Narragansett which are a heritage breed. They aren't going to be huge but they should be really tasty!

Narragansett turkeys

Of course turkeys need different feed from the chickens/ducks (which I didn't initially realize, BYC rocks!). So I created a temporary pen for them. This was SUPER quick and just used stuff from around the barns. I stapled ("steepled" around here!) one side directly onto a supporting beam, then used two screw in hooks to hold the other side. That way I can really easily get in there to clean/feed/water. The chickens could probably get in there if they really wanted, but so far only one of my little Cochins has been adventurous enough!

I have to say the turkeys are quite beautiful and very interesting birds. I'm really looking forward to watching them grow up! And Christmas dinner! yum, yum!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Auctions 101

We've only been to a few, but they aren't overly complicated affairs so I think I can share my experience.

Set your price
You hear this over & over again, but it's true. Pick your top price and do not go over it, there is always next time.

Do your research
My husband is a tool-nut and at the last auction we went to, I can't tell you how many times we had lots go by that he would comment that they were going over purchase price brand new at Canadian Tire. That is definitely not something you want to do. If possible get a list or even a general idea of what is going to be at the auction first, then do some research trips if you're not sure about what things should cost.

For the chicken auction, I had a list of what I knew I was going to be interested in. The good things about birds is you can always buy chicks, raise them up, and re-sell (hopefully at profit, depending on your management skills) if you decide later they aren't right for you.

$5 for Choice
This was a little confusing at first, but when large lots come up the auctioneer with auction of the chance to choose something out of the lot first, and you end up paying that price for every item you take. The first bidder usually pays the most, but not always.

For example: we bought at painting at $9 and choice and got to pick from about 20, the first bidder paid $20 to buy from 25 paintings.

For our ducks we paid $3, but I'm pretty sure everyone else who bought from that lot did as well.

Go for the big lots
For the birds, for whatever reason, individual birds out of the larger lots when for a lot less then the pairs or trios. I don't really know why this is, but I think it may have something to do with the number of people there obviously looking for pets.

Go Early, Bid Late
Do yourself a HUGE favour and show up before the auction starts. Give yourself some time to look around at what is available, and note the lot number and when it will probably come up. The first few lots to go through always go for the most money. People get impatient or just see the one or two things they came for, grab them and leave. It definitely pays to hang around until the end, the last few lots usually go for VERY cheaply when everyone already has what they want.

Yes, that can mean you're spending almost all day there, but you can save yourself some big $$ if you do.

Bring a Flashlight
I saw someone else with one and wish I'd brought one too! Smart! You need to check any animal over to make sure it's healthy and what you want. There isn't always the right/enough light in the hall.

Make Friends
Auctions are fun and usually full of people who share a similar hobby/interest! It's a great chance to network, as questions and meet new people.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lost Our First Hen

When I went in to feed the chickies this morning Jenny was looking pretty pale and not well, after a trip to the feed store & back she was gone. Sometimes it's hard with chickens, like lots of animals they hide that they aren't feeling well.

It's quite possible she was sick before we got her. Oh well, I think I will get some BSL in the future though, she was quite pretty!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Report from the Chicken Auction

After checking around the local online classifieds, I couldn't find any of the chicks I wanted for a price I was willing to pay. However, I did see an ad for someone who was going to the auction, and we decided it would be a great family activity for Saturday. It was a TON of fun!

I was finding chicks for about $8 per online and we were able to get a 1/2 dozen barred rock chicks (about 2 weeks we think) for $4 a piece at the auction! 
We also picked up the two little fuzz balls in this picture at $2 a piece, that was about the cheapest any of the chicks went for (and we're not sure what these guys are but we do know they are chickens!).

We picked up the lovely "Jenny" who has settled in so quickly she's already gone broody and is sitting at least 1 egg. I have to wait a little longer to check if it's fertile, but we believe she was in with a Roo at the auction, so we're hopeful! Not sure if I'm going to run out and get some more fertile eggs yet or not, we weren't really planning on having one of our hens raise  chicks so quickly!

We got a "Roo" of our own so here is "Lenny!". No one is 100% sure he IS a rooster yet, but he's got a hen look with a rooster attitude & we should find out for sure very soon.

These 3 little cutie-pies are Muskovy ducks. We went hoping to get some Pekins but these seemed much more interesting! After we came home and did a little more research I'm really glad we chose to get them, females are supposed to be very friendly and that is what we wanted.

Henny is not too please about the new occupants

You should always quarantine new chickens for at least 30 days before integrating them with your existing chickens. However, we aren't sure we're going to keep Henny & Penny once we have new chickens to replace them (they just aren't very friendly and they are past their laying prime so producing less eggs), so for us it was worth the risk of introducing a disease into our chicken population. From now on, when we add new chickens we'll have them in quarantine on the other side of the farm.

We also came home with someone we really weren't planning on... but he's a whole other story!