Friday, August 12, 2011

Finally added something we don't have to feed... as often

Honey Crisp Apple Tree
Pioneer Nursery in Kemptville, Ont. was having their summer sale and we bought our lovely new apple tree at 25% off. Lots of beautiful plants and flowers of all descriptions, I love going there, and really wonderful and helpful staff! Especially considering my children decided they were at home and wanted to run around the nursery with their shoes off yelling and touching all the flower like little forest spirits... (I have very "free" and nature loving children, just glad everyone stayed clothed!)

This blog has some great photos of the nursery! Martha Moments

Honey crisp happen to be the favourite of my father-in-law, so I promised him once we bought an apple tree, that is what we would get.

It should take 2 to 3 years to fruit now that it is grown. We picked a really nice sunny spot out in the middle of the yard. Far enough away from the shop/barn that it wouldn't be in the way of trailers, but we should have a nice shady tree to sit under in a few years!

We'll probably purchase more apple trees in the coming year, and put them out by the garden for our own little orchard. I doubt very many of them will make it past the kids to my father in law if we don't!

Anybody want some cows?

On Wednesday we celebrated the goats finally having grown large enough to not be able to escape the sac. paddock any more with this:

Much easier to get them back in this time, only took us about 20 minutes with the ATV. Pushed through the same spot they had before, apparently the electric isn't working properly. We've got to get this fixed properly before the farmer has a conniption! (Thankfully he was very nice about the first time)

By the time we got them back in I was ready to sell them all off tomorrow and get some Dexter instead...
(smaller hopefully meaning easier to keep in...)


It was even less funny when they did it again Thursday afternoon... Had a chance to meet our lovely neighbours 2 houses down, and was invited on their trails, very excited! (Didn't mention we'd already been down them once looking for the cows last time they got out)

Think we finally have the fence fixed so they can't get out again, but then again we thought that on Wednesday as well...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

That is more like it!!

When we went to go see our place the barn was FILLED with old manure, hay and junk. It really detracted from the look, and probably the price, of the place. We asked that the sellers clean up before they leave and didn't quite get what we wanted... (they did take most of the "valuable" stuff and left the junk for us!)

3 Hours of looking for my bit lead to a total clean up of the right half of the main part of the barn. 3 loads on the trailer with old hay and it's looking a hundred times better!

Still have to get the tack racks up, and figure out where that washing machine is going, then sort out getting some stone-dust, leveling the floor and tamping it down, put up some walls... okay there is a ways to go still! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Diatomaceous Earth

Over-top of the meat chick's litter

This stuff is FANTASTIC! It's made up of crushed sea-shells and works very well on little pests by slicing through their bodies & killing them off. I spread food-grade D.E. all around on bedding that doesn't get changed every day, on favourite sleeping spots outside, and I'll give the animals a good rub-down with it every now and then.

In the big chicken's favourite dusting spot
A food-grade D.E. can also be used in a feed-through program to control worms in your livestock. You can get it online, but most gardening centres will carry some type of D.E.. I went in last year to get some, and resorted to one that was not food grade. This year they've stocked the shelves with the food grade stuff!

I rub D.E. on the goats & sheep to prevent
any pests that might burrow into their hair.
I even used it on the dogs. 

You ask for rain...

The whole happy herd hanging out in the pasture yesterday. 

The drainage ditch this morning.
It poured last night! Can't complain because we were hurting for a good shower, look how green the grass is just overnight!

Ponies didn't mind too much until it got dark and the temp dropped a bit. After being outside in the rain all day and soaked to the bone, we took pity and hurried through the rain to get their stalls ready and brought them in. 

The drainage ditch just added another reason to the long list of why I love this place. The animals are high and dry and the paddock gets to soak up as much of that rain as it needs.

Dust Baths

A good dust bath is very important to the health of your chickens.

It helps them stay free of parasites, and they really seem to enjoy it.

The little depression they've made themselves. 

I like to sprinkle some food-grade diatomaceous earth (or D.E.) in with the dirt just to add some more bug protection. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Goat Proof"

Goats are quite well known as escape artists, taking every opportunity to see what is on the other side of the fence. Present company included!! 

In fact the little buggers were sneaking out through the holes in the gate! I've determined they are sort of like rats, and can get their bodies through anything that they can get their heads through!

Harry with his cheeks full
Our guys are only 4 months old, and they will get larger, but Harry Houdini is a saanen x pygmy cross so he's always going to be a little smaller. I was speaking with someone the other day who asked if we were planning on getting milk goats, and mentioning they wanted Kinders (NubianX). I quickly told her about how our little guy is always getting out, but that Diego frequently stayed behind in the pasture, seemingly (1) because he wanted to (2) because he's larger and can't fit through the same holes.

Definitely something to consider when deciding what breed you want to raise.

Hi Diego...
If you're going to keep goats I'd suggest starting with a brand new fence and build it for the goats. Otherwise you end up with a lot of this:

At least they are keeping
the weeds down...
The corner of the front paddock is not what it used to be and the goats have found all sorts of holes. I tried adding more fence to the front lawn but they figured out they can get through that too... so I'm off to fix the sac. paddock fence today and they'll be confined w hay until I can figure out a way to solve this problem.

Have bottle fed goats does make them easier to catch, but also means when they see me they come running to see what is in my pockets!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A look in the Coop - At Night

The ducks are supposed to roost
as they get bigger, but my fat-butts can't get
off the ground yet!
 These guys usually just sleep in a big pile in a corner of the coop.

Turkeys taken over the nesting boxes.

After spending about $30 on dowel
and rushing to get them up...
The chicks sleep in a big pile
on the end where they haven't
been installed yet.
This used to be Lenny's spot, but once the chicks started roosting he was ousted!

Birds don't see well at night, so sneaking in with the lights off can be a great time to check on health and vitality of otherwise flighty birds.

Kicked Out!

Penny! Hide your shame!

Henny & Penny have stopped producing. Penny gives us maybe 2 eggs a week now, so my solution was to send them to the stock pot. I lost.

So they've joined "Teddy" the barn rooster in with the goats, to control the bug population in the barn/yard. 

Henny wasn't too impressed
with Teddy at first
Henny did NOT like this arrangement at first and kept trying to get back into the coop, but after a few days she's accepted life and is enjoying her new found freedom.

Since Henny completely failed at motherhood I doubt she'll be raising any chicks in the future. Penny has blood-spots on her eggs so we won't let her reproduce since it can be genetic (blood spots aren't "bad" they are just ugly).

2 chickens really isn't enough to keep a rooster happy, but our baby Lenny was ripping the girls feathers out with his in-experience, so I think life with Teddy is going to be a lot easier. We may bring in some more barn ladies as time goes on, or maybe we'll just start a retirement home for spent chickens... (I really hope I'm joking about that!!)

A look in the Coop

Lenny and the little guys
 Lenny is growing up so quickly! 2 more months and our little hens should be laying eggs for us. It takes about 16 weeks (4 months) and we got them early June at a few weeks old.

The Ducks get bigger every single time I walk the coop! It's amazing! 

Dewie's bum wing. The right one originally looked like the left, but is now completely fine. It's just the way her feathers are growing, but I think we're going to have to tape her left wing.

Turkeys! They are getting noticeably bigger every week, and I think they are all full feathered now. 

The little guys roosting.

Mirror Image!

I don't believe they are related, in fact the little Roo is supposed to be a cuckoo maran, and Lenny is supposed to be a Dominic (because of the combs).
Still no decision about what we are doing with Lenny. He's a lovely boy, doesn't crow yet but definitely a rooster, so maybe we'll find him a new home at the next bird auction.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

After a whole afternoon of driving around in circles (not as much fun as you think it's going to to be!!) on the lawn tractor and the pasture is looking MUCH better. Wish I could keep the animals off it for a week, but without having the other pasture divided, we just don't have the space.

I ran out of gas before I got to the back but I fed hay with dinner anyway, the wild canary stuff they don't really like, since the grass is a little short. 

The mower also chewed up all the poop that was out there. Spreading it around or picking it up is a good way to reduce worms (as is rotating your pasture with other species, like cows).

The best part was when I was watching the ground for rocks I noticed a very strange little green one!! This tree was supposed to be cut down in the next few weeks because it's mostly dead. Really hoping this is a granny smith not a crab apple!

The tree is in really bad shape
needs lots of pruning
 I'm not really all that excited about having an apple tree of any kind in the field, because the horses will gorge themselves, and can get really sick. If it's a crab apple we'll be cutting it down, if not, I'll have to fence it off.

This one (behind the apple)
is actually dead and needs
to be removed soon

Quack is Growing Up!

We got out ducks mid-June at the auction and thought they were 2 weeks old. That would make them 2 weeks younger then our new little guys... yeah we were wrong! They must have been at least a month old, because they are MUCH bigger then the new little ducks.

Muscovy develop very beautiful (or ugly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!) red carnucles on their bills as they mature, and our lovely boy Louie is just starting to turn red on the edges!