Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gobble Gobble Gobble

We started off in June with 4 3-4 week old Narragansett turkey poults. I was really hoping out of those 4 we'd get a breeding pair, but they were all toms! Not a bad thing, that also meant they were bigger so they made better turkey dinners.

The plan for next year is to raise our own heritage turkeys, keep a breeding pair, and fill out the frozen ranks with Broad-Breasted-White from the hatchery, then in 2 years we'll have our own breeders and we can just produce organic pasture raised heritage turkey (You can't really breed BBW for a lot of reasons). I actually crunched the numbers and it's less expensive for us to keep the breeding group then buy day-olds every year.

We looked around for a Narr hen, but couldn't find one until the day after we sold our last Tom. What I did find was some 2 month old Bourbon Reds instead. So we're going to buy a trio and hope for the best (Turkeys are hard to sex until they mature!).

The Narrs were beautiful birds, but I'm excited not to have to try to spell "Narragansett" any more!

Bourbon Reds!

Much easier to pronounce & spell! Also they get a little bit bigger then the Narr and are supposed to be the best tasting of the two.

Another Update

Ugh, hen raising chicks is supposed to be less work not more! Momma EE took the brood outside for some fresh air, and little brown got stepped on or something. He's looking okay, was definitely cold, but he's in the house now. Sitting by the fire in his make-shift little home. Hope he's alright ...

I put in the ramp just in case.
That way the chicks wouldn't fall or get
stuck outside

Really mom, It's a little chilly today.

Doing much better already but having a
hard time standing straight.

Chick Update

After that first chick was killed, we put some cardboard around the dog kennel, thinking this would keep the other chicks in the kennel & safe from being stepped on.

(I don't actually know what happened to the chick that died, again he was born overnight and there could have been something wrong with him so mom rejected him or something).

Well... that didn't work. One got out of the pen yesterday and I found him chilled, but alright & chipping for his mom. Should have been my clue this wasn't going to be a good idea! Went in this morning, and two of the little guys our out without mom, one was almost un-responsive he was so cold!

Luckily we've got a heat lamp in the same corner of the coop for the turkey poults. The little guys were close enough they didn't freeze. Once I picked up the really cold chick I just held him under (but not too close too!) the light, and he perked up after a few minutes.

I removed the barrier and Mom came rushing out to scoop up her babies and stayed over-top of them to warm them up. We're going to let them stay loose in the coop now, and hope mom is going to be able to keep them all safe. I did have the goats follow me into the coop yesterday and little EE took on Diego pretty well!

Not a peep out of the EE#2's nest, mostly because I thought they were due yesterday, and I got my dates mixed up, they are due next week. She's lost a lot of weight though, maybe time to invest in an incubator... hopefully not.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scrap Bin!

Friday Project:

Is to fill the scrap bin with all this garbage and get it off the farm!

So no time for crafting this week (plus I still have my hot water bottle cover to do, no time so it's going really slowly).

Instead I have pictures:
Steak wants back in with mom.
The electric was not hard to re-string
but they've cracked some boards.

Good thing we decided we wanted to replace all this fencing next year anyway! Not sure what I want to do, but I'm thinking post & board.

We've got some major re-thinking of the pastures to do anyway. Originally we were going to do one big paddock, but now thinking that is silly because it is SO much cheaper to do one paddock for small animals (chickens/etc.) on small fencing and use cow-fencing for the pigs pasture.

I can't believe it but we ran out of feed bins! I thought we'd bought way too many, but with the addition of the pot-bellies and new turkeys we don't have enough any more. 

Horses: Fat 'n Fibre & Sweetfeed*
*(sweetfeed need to be tosses out as it's old & I'll use this for something else until fatty looses some weight)
Chickens: Layer & Chick starter
Then we have Beef feed (which we don't use often), Pot Belly Pig food, Cracked Corn & Turkey feed.

The feed room is metal-lined so we shouldn't have a mouse problem, but they are still getting in somehow, so I had to store the bags of feed in the car overnight!

Not getting any sweetfeed
At least she'll be warm over winter...
Maddie, that is the most attractive pose EVER!

He was in the ditch hiding from Fatty while he ate his dinner. He's getting nice and fleshed out now (following Meg's diet plan I guess!) I've actually had to cut his food right back!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


The weather has been so mild I managed to get some "extra" gardening done.

We had some raspberries growing in front of the shop, we LOVE raspberries, but I didn't want them here, mostly because they are very prickly and make it that much harder when you have to break into the shop through the window because you husband locked the keys inside AGAIN.

Coop needs a coat of paint next year!
So, we're moving them in front of the chicken coop. This does not get all day sun but it does get most of the day, not a bad thing if you don't want your raspberries growing everywhere.

I believe Spring is supposed to be a better time to transplant raspberry plants, but I've always find you loose the next year after you transplant no matter when you move them. So the summer after next we should have a huge patch of raspberries right beside the chicken coop.

Chick Report

Momma EE#1 from 7 eggs:

1 brown egg: rotten
1 brown egg: fully formed but dnh
1 light brown egg: chick killed
Green Egg
(EE Mix)

Brown Egg
(Dom x Marran)

Beige Egg
(Buff? Mix)

White Egg
(Cochin (coco) Mix)

Lost a Chick

Ugh, walking into the coop in the morning to find a dead chick at the door is just about my least favourite thing in the world.

We lost one of the little guys that hatched overnight, looks like he got out of the dog crate & was trampled by one of the bigger animals. So we're going to have to find a way to keep the ducks/goose/turkey away from the chicks, or the other way around.

For now I put a box in there so that the chicks can't get out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheep, Cheep, Cheep

We have our very first home-grown chicks!
(The ones that Henny sat on she eventually abandoned/pecked open).

I was so nerovous to try again after that, but one of our new chicks had already sucesfully raised 2 chicks, so hopeful as well.

& Success!!

Now, you really are not supposed to disturb momma on her nest, but...
Last night as chick#1 emerges

Isn't he cute!?!?
I shoved her off for a quick shot, before letting her settle back down.

The other eggs have taken on a very dark hue (having collected the same eggs very often, I can see the slight difference in colour) which hopefully we have more babies arriving very soon!

We had another little fuzzy bum pop out this morning, probably not long before I went into let the birdies out.

Little Chicky-1 (green egg) is the best colour, he looks like a newborn penguin, all gray & yellow. Chicky-2 (pink egg) is much darker but also has yellow patches.

I've got a chick waterer that mom can also drink from in the kennel, and I'm just feeding them on the ground for now, mom will show them were dinner is.

Momma EE is NOT happy with me
I've been reading that you really can't let hens with chicks mix because they'll attack each other's chicks. I don't know if that would actually happen to us because we have lots of space for them to move around (especially during the day) and both EEs are raising similar mixes of chicks that will be around the same ages. Either way I still want to separate the flocks, at least for the first little while. So I've got some thinking to do. For now they'll just have to stay in their kennels.

1 more cream coloured egg has pipped, and I can feel the little chick rock'n'rolling in one of the browns.

5 more eggs too go!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big, Small, Hobby?

So what kind of farmer are you? Are you a hobby farmer? Or a small-scale farmer? What's the difference?

Hobby Farmer
Means you don't make a profit. You're probably not sinking too much money into the farm (or hopefully you're not!), you may be selling a few animals, but mostly you keep what you like to have around. You may or may not have a balance sheet but if you do it's most likely in the red. You're growing things for fun & your family.

If you keep a pair of chickens in your urban backyard or have some patio potatoes, you're a hobby farmer. 

Small Scale
Made a profit last year? Welcome to small-scale farming! Whether you focus on one animal or have lots, small scale farmers care about a bottom line. You may not be living off the farm, but you should be making something even if it only covers hydro. If you're trying to make a profit, but loosing your shirt, it still counts.

You may have show animals or not, be more of a breeder then a farmer, or not; but if you've got livestock you're a small-scale farmer.

Medium Scale
Quit your day job? You're a medium scale farmer! You should no only be clearing income, but should be able to keep yourself employed above the poverty line ($25k a year in Canada). You may have lots of money invested in your business, but the size of your land does not dictate where you sit. So you can be a medium scale farmer on 5 acres of land, or 200 acres.

Large Scale
Living more then a little comfortably off the farm? Supplying grocery chains? More then one farm? Hundreds of head? You're a large scale farmer. And maybe that's just me sitting here on my little tiny farm, but I'd say if you're clearing more then 100k a year. This is the big times.

And large scale farming does not equate to "Big Ag".

Big Ag
Control inputs for more then a hundred thousand food producers?
Create so much waste that the back end of your production can be called a natural disaster?
Been featured, legitimately, on some animal rights group's propaganda with your normal practices?

We don't like you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate attack

If you live out in the country, and that chocolate attack starts after 9 (when all the shops close) there isn't much you can do except eat chocolate baking chips. Which aren't that yummy.

Here is another solution:


This is the simplest recipe for mousse I've ever read, and is perfect for that late night snack attack. It can be done with chocolate chips if you run out of baking chocolate, and also half heavy cream and half-and-half if you ran out of that too.

I really wouldn't worry about the raw egg too much (I wouldn't worry at all with home laid eggs) unless you're pregnant. But that recipe has another option for you too. 

You do need to chill the mousse for at least an hour after you make it, the flavour will really improve.


Shots of Snouts

Hello Gorgeous!

Woke the piggies up from their nap

They're definitely getting more used to me

First belly rub

I think he looks like he's quite enjoying
it too!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Snouts Around the Farm

We have got to stop going to the Chesterville auction...

Lenny is outta-here! Pretty bird, but kept attacking the kids so we had enough. Got $16 for him which I'm really happy about! He deserves some ladies to love being such a nice lookin' boy. And we've got his Marran ladies eggs hatching under the EE in a few days!

 Teddy went to a stew pot. We didn't want to feed him over the winter, and he didn't have much use around here anymore. Plus since he wasn't allowed into the coop (by the other roosters) he would have frozen in the barn by himself.

It is much quieter around here now!

Sold the last of the Narragansett turkeys at the auction when I found some new ones to buy. We couldn't find him a hen so there wasn't much point in just keeping one tom (at least for our purposes). So we're switching to Burbon Reds which I have to pick up this week.

'Course since it's us, we spotted some adorable new farm animals, and couldn't resist. We picked up a lovely pair of immature pot bellies. They're living in the back of the barn with the goats and seem to have settled in well so far. The owner grabbed my attention as soon as we won the bid on them, and mentioned his kids had raised them and the pigglets were super friendly. So far their pretty scared of us, but I'm wining them over pretty quickly plying them with all sorts of scraps from the kitchen!

The little boy squealed like a... well, a stuck pig! when we first got him out of his tub, but once he realized I was petting him he calmed right down. The kids just LOVE their new pets!

Piggies are staying in the barn until they learn where home is, then we'll let them out into the field. There is no way our current fences are going to hold the tiny little things (the stall doors barely do! They are so small!) but once they learn their names (which they still need) I doubt they'll wander far.

 This lovely boy is a Chinese Gander, we got him for $8 which is a joke. He seems really tame so we may keep him, especially if I can find him a girlfriend. He's supposed to be in quarantine in the barn for a week or two, apparently the ducks didn't get the memo... We're also keeping him in so he doesn't fly away back home! He'll probably stay in the barn for another week, then we'll see how he does with the other animals and he can go in the coop.
A new friend!? For Us?