Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meet the Herd

Here are our breeding does. Paul came up with the names, which are all related to the Boers in South Africa.

R1 Natalia "Tally"

R2 Swellendam

R3 Stella

R5 Ciskei

R6 Nieuw

R7 Transkei

R8 Bophuthatswana "Swana"

R9 Lyden

R10 Goshen

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Preparing for Goat Breeding

This is our buck, Bubba. He's only seven months old, so he's nowhere near his adult size yet.

October 31 is the final kidding date for the goats we bought this summer. At that point, we'll have had them for five months, so any goats that haven't kidded by then, won't. I'll be splitting them into two herds this winter. The first will be all of the adult does except for any that kid in the next month. The second will be the kids and any of the does that kid in October. On November 15, Bubba will be turned into the breeding herd, which could be as small as one doe or as large as nine. He'll stay with them until February 1, giving us a kidding season of April 15 to June 30.

I would also like to get a Nubian doe this fall to breed for milk in the spring. I had no luck finding a currently milking doe this year, so at this point I've given that up as a lost cause. Poor Paul will have to wait another year for fresh goat's milk.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No Turkeys for Thanksgiving

I've been weighing the turkeys every week to chart their progress, and the cold weather last week really took a toll on them. They're now a full week behind schedule, so I've decided to only offer them for Christmas. I don't think there's any point in trying to sell 6-8 lb turkeys.

I've added additional protein to their diet, in the form of roasted soybeans and earthworms, so hopefully they'll start to catch up to their projected weight. I've also decided to delay putting them on pasture for one week to allow them to grow.

Speaking of pasture, I need to get started building their pasture pen. Wood and I don't get along, so I've decided to build a pvc pen with a wooden base for strength and weight. There are a few plans available online, but none of them quite meet my requirements, so I'll probably just design my own. The projected size is 8'X 8', which is a bit more manageable than Salatin's 10' X 12' pens. Next year, I'll be able to re-use the pen for broilers, and should be able to fit about 50 of them in it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

First Egg!

One of the Rhode Island Red pullets has laid her first egg. She even managed to put it in the nest box, which made me happy because it's a rather unusual design. I just cut a hole in the side of a large Rubbermaid container and lined it with hay. Since we already had the container, it was much cheaper and easier than trying to build something.

We used the egg to make pancakes, and they were delicious. So richly flavored.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Haystack Grows

There's been a long string of good weather, so I've been frantically cutting hay. I got most of it up on the haystack today, and then decided to actually measure the dimensions rather than estimate them. It's a lot bigger than I thought! There's now just over a ton of hay on the stack, where just last week I thought I only had about 800 lbs. I have nearly a third of the hay that I need, and I haven't even finished the front pasture. After that, there's still the pond pasture, which is about 3/4 of an acre, and the overgrown grain field, which is another acre. As long as I'm able to keep cutting, there's no reason for me to need to buy any hay this winter. That is a wonderful thought.

Hay Progress:
2080 lbs/6750 lbs