Rooster Rehab

It is a fact of our Farm life that the only animals here without a job are the horses.
Well, I guess considering how often they have to participate in photo shoots, that’s not quite true.
But they get to eat money more than any other animal here.
😉

Saturday, we thinned out the flock of roosters.
We had in our coop, with roughly 40 hens, 10 roosters.
That is way too many. 3-4 roos to that many hens is much better for everyone.
That way the boys aren’t fighting, and the girls aren’t being over used.
Bare patches on some of the girls is not a good thing.
So, we sent some boys to rehab…aka freezer camp.

The 2 I had held back from last years hatches were 2 of the 6 who got the chop.

This guy is named “Replacement”.
He thinks he owns the place.
lol

Replacement, while handsome AF, had turned into a colossal asshole.
I have no room in my coop for a rooster who attacks humans.
And, he went for my face a couple of times while I was collecting eggs.
So, off with his head.
I won’t even offer up a rooster for free who attacks humans.
That’s some straight bullshit.
Aggressive means soup.

This guy, who eventually earned the name “Fred” went too.
See, back on New Year’s Eve, when we picked up those extra chickens, 3 of the 11 were roosters.
Big roosters.
Like nearly 14lb roosters.
Big boys.
(Those 3 stayed, btw, to breed some size into our flock. Because roosters are food for humans and felines alike here)

Well, Fred thought he was the cock of the walk and tried picking a fight.
Fred got his ass handed to him by one of the big boys.
Ahem…the big guys are named Larry, Darryl and Darryl, fyi. 😉

And Fred was never the same.
Fred was a broken, unhappy rooster after that.
So Fred has become ground Fred and Fred soup.

Now we have more meat in the freezer for us, and there’s a whole lot more happiness inside the chicken coop.
🙂

Tomorrow…

Tomorrow we fire up the incubators.
I’ll have collected the last of the eggs I need to run 2 full batches.
In 3 weeks we could have as many as 80 chicks.
Depending on fertility.
There’s too many roosters in the coop right now, so I know just about every hen is getting a little lovin’.
😂😂😂
If the weather holds, there will be at least 5 less roos next weekend.
I have to count how many boys there are for sure.
I know the 3 big orpington/wyandotte cross boys are staying.
Everyone else is going to Freezer Camp.
That’ll give some of the “favorite” hens a chance to recover and regrow feathers where the boys have been a bit too exuberant.

But that’s next week.

This week, tomorrow, we set eggs for hatching.
And start pepper seeds.

Today?
Today we rest.

Ruby

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Recover
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Hot and Sweaty

July.
Amirite??
😂😂😂

So it’s hot.
Hotter than normal.
But one of the side effects of hotter than normal, is that we’ve had some good downpours.
YAY.
We sure did need them!

So this week I’m back to cutting hay.
Not ’til Friday though, because we have a couple more days of rain in the forecast for mid-week.
My small hay “fields” look good though…I’ll know more once I get cutting, but I think we’ll do okay with my work this year.
*fingers crossed*
I still have 2 bales put up from last year for the Merry Mares, and I made sure our Hay Guy knew with our last delivery last year…”Let’s just get this out of the way now…yup, I’m gonna need hay next year.”
LOL!!
But there’ll be no horse shopping for me this year…I don’t anticipate any extra hay over what I typically order, because so far the year hasn’t been great.
I had been hoping to bring my herd back up to 4, even if it was only a mini, but that’s just not in the cards for this year.
Oh, there’s plenty of equines out there to be had, but I ain’t taking on another if I can’t feed ’em.
That’s just how it is.

As for the rest of the Farm…

Garden has been loving the rain.
Weeds are huge.
In among the weeds my beans are starting to flower.
I found some strawberry plants on sale at the local grocery store.
$1.94 each and they were huge already!

Holy cheap berries to add to the garden!!

I seriously couldn’t pass them up, it was too good of a deal.
So since my asshole chickens 😉 got to the others, I snapped up 4 of them. Planted them ASAP, mulched heavily, and so far, so good.
They’re inside the garden fence, so chickens can’t get to ’em.

Added a new apple tree to the Farm, in honour of a good friend who lost her last battle with cancer over the winter.
She was an avid gardener, so a tree just seemed right.

Also bought 2 black currant bushes on sale…
We love the end of season clear out on fruit trees/bushes, I tell ya!!
🙂

My honeyberry cuttings!!
We. Have. Roots!

Loooooook!!!
Roots!

Okay, so only 2 cuttings of the 15 I took ended up rooting…but that’s okay! 2 is better than none, and they’re good strong rootings.
Since berries are done for the season, I popped out and cut another 1/2 dozen. We’ll see if I can get any of those to take.
Any that do will spend the winter inside being babied, until the spring thaw, when they’ll go out to expand the Food Forest.

And finally, we’re into the home stretch with the meat chickens.
Whew!
In the next couple of weeks we’ll be looking at sending them to Freezer Camp. That’ll take 43 beaks off the feed bill.
And it will add a whole lot of meals to the freezer/shelves for winter.
Then in the Fall all we’ll have for poultry is whatever roosters I hatched out.

So, in short…
Life is busy.
Hot.
Sweaty.
But we’re getting things done, and it all looks like things are going according to plan (may it stay so…).
🙂

Our Muscovy Flock

I’ve wanted ducks for a looooong time.
I never quite convinced Hubby that we needed ducks until a friend mentioned her work had a pair that needed a winter home…
And then we got ducks. 🙂
That’s how Jazzy and Rain got here.

This was taken on their first day here…

And then over the winter, our Jazzy ended up with a respiratory infection that he couldn’t beat, no matter how much treatment I gave him, and we lost him.
It was only a few months without his partner-in-crime before Rain followed Jazzy into the great duck unknown.

We would have been duckless, but last fall, a local woman was selling off some of her extra stock…turns out muscovy hens really like to lay eggs. And hatch them.
So when the woman posted a blowout sale where hens were selling for $2 each (normally upwards of $20-35!) I jumped at the chance to buy 5 ladies.
And then we worked out a deal for drakes for both our freezers…but out of the drakes we got for our freezer, Hubby and I decided that 1 might have to stay.
Duck eggs are grand, but bbq’d duck is better!
One thing we learned this winter, after putting a bunch of ducks into the freezers of 2 homes, is that we really enjoy muscovy duck meat.
So having our own little flock of laying/hatching/duckling raising birds is no bad thing.
1 step closer to self-sufficiency, I says!

This handsome fellow is the drake we kept…and the brown face of one of the ladies. 😉

And here he is with 4 of the ladies…the 5th is just out of frame.

Now that we have ducks eggs being layed, hopefully one (or more) of the ladies will go broody and sit to hatch some.
And then y’all will get to see duckling pictures.
🙂

Bacon Seeds

The bacon seeds have arrived!!

Just about 6 weeks later than last year.
But, life happens.
We were getting close to drought conditions right around when we normally would get piglets, and I was concerned about bringing more livestock onto the Farm without being 100% sure I could keep everyone watered and healthy on the well.

So, we waited.
Then we got amazing rainfalls (that took out my garden a time or two) and now we’ve had good, regular rains (which have been helping my garden…and the weeds in it!).
That eased my worries about water.
Then, we just had to wait for schedules to align to go pick these guys up…that was yesterday.

Behold, our cute little bacon makers!

Bums!

We brought home 6 little baconettes to grow for as long as possible before winter hits.
🙂

And Then There Were 2…

We’ve been working on sending the pigs to Freezer Camp.
So far, 4 have gone to Camp, with 2 left to take care of this weekend.
We’re down to AndyPiggie(picture) and CharlottePiggie.

First to go to Camp were:

1. LitaPiggie, who was the biter and meanest pig of the 6…she was also the one who kept climbing onto the pig shelter and trying to make the leap into the chicken yard.

I won’t miss that miserable b***h at all.

2. ImeldaPiggie, so named because she loved shoes. My crocs the most…she also enjoyed a good back scratch and a belly rub. Of all the pigs this year, she was the sweetest girl.

3. MaryPiggie. The runt of the 6, and the toughest. This girl fought for food every darn day, even with 3 feeding stations. She just wanted all the food, all the time. Healthy and happy otherwise, just hated sharing food with her piggie sibs.

4. GeorgePiggie. Our smallest boy, who turned out to be quite the chunk. Had he not been castrated before coming to us, he likely would have made quite the boar for a small farmer like us. George rivaled Imelda for friendliness.

We’re getting into weather that is not conducive to pink piggies doing well outside. Cold like we have now (a record of -21*C this morning!!) means pink piggies start to lose body condition, and can actually freeze to death.
Certainly not what we want for these guys.
Pinkies are not meant for outdoor 24/7/365, that’s for sure!
So, to make sure they’re still happy and healthy until their date with the Freezer Camp director, they get ample straw bedding in their shelter, to snuggle down into and stay warm.
They also get 5-6 hot meals a day.
Smaller than when there was 6 of them, and just enough that they can finish it each time.

I use a mixture of hot water, left over coffee (hey, it happens sometimes! 😉 ), and a pint of milk poured over their grains for each meal. And, the past week they’ve been getting a 1/2 cup of yogurt too, just to make sure tummies are working well and processing the food.

Seems like a lot of work for pigs we’re just going to kill, right?
It is.
But, the rule here is Happy Food Tastes Better and the best way to keep pigs happy is with a full belly and warmth.
Just because we’re going to butcher them, doesn’t mean that they deserve a lesser quality of life.

As far as we’re concerned, they get the same standard of care as any other animal here.

Hot mashes for horses?
Yup.
Hot mashes for chickens and ducks?
Yup.
Hot mashes for piggies?
Yup.
Really, what’s one more hot mash to make up, to keep the animals that will feed us for the winter happy and healthy?
That, to me, is time well spent.

Winter is Coming

And I’m already tired.

The nights have been cooler.
The days, when not raining, well, not so much.
But the nights are cooler, and there is a definite scent of Fall in the air.

I’m not ready.
There is so much work to do before we can settle in and say we’re ready for Winter.
The good news?
I have the hay money all set aside for a full delivery of hay, not a month to month purchase like last year.
Thank Epona for that!! Just have to get that arranged…

But before winter comes we have so much other stuff to do…
I have to start 2nd cut on my hay.
Now it’s going to be just the front, around the fruit trees.
Hubby used the mower on the tractor to cut the back yard because we had people come out for our Anniversary party.
The grass wasn’t quite long enough for hay yet, and we needed to not sit in mosquio-ized grass.

There’s this guy…

Meat chicken…

And 48 of his friends (we lost one last weekend to a “piling” incident) to get ready for their Freezer Camp session…

As well as this guy…

Andy Piggie

And 5 of his pals to do the same with.
Plus, once the pig processing starts, I’m hoping to run the smoker for a few days and get some hams and bacon done as well.
Last year I didn’t get bacon done before winter, and um, I was sad.
LOL!
Having home smoked bacon for the winter months will be wonderful…but pigs don’t start the Freezer Camp journey until into October, and the weather can be unpredictable then.
Of course, now that Hubby’s garage is cleaned up, I can run it in there in cases of inclement weather.
So, that’s a huge bonus!

I’m also working on getting this one…

Used to wearing a blanket.
It’s been a slow and steady process, and neither one of us have died yet.
That’s good. 😉
I figure with the way the weather has effected her the past couple rough seasons, being able to toss a blanket on her (and Sable as well) will go a long way towards my sanity through the long cold months.
Normally, I don’t worry about blankets for the Girls, but the 2 Old Ladies sometimes just need a little extra help.
And it’s my responsibility to make sure they get it.

And then there’s these 2…

Quack quack quack

Ducks are new to me.
I’ve never wintered ducks before.
This is a learning experience, and again, it’s my responsibility to make sure they get what they need.

Oh, and there’s the garden to put to bed, once things are done there.
That should be done before pigs go to Camp, so that the pigs can eat some of the left overs…pea plants, bean plants, carrot tops…that sorta thing.
Sadly, can’t give ’em potato plants or tomato plants, because nightshade family, so those will be burned.
Then we can cover in manure, pull the tarp and stake it down.
All so we can be ready for next spring, when the plan/hope is to get the whole of the garden planted.

We’re also hoping to set the fence posts for the next pasture.
I know, said that last summer/fall, but yeah, I really want either a milk cow or a couple steers next year to round out the meat freezers. Another pasture is a need, to be able to do either one.

At the end of the day, I know all will be well.
The Kid will miss a few weekends of riding lessons while the work gets done, we’ll work until we’re so tired we can’t think…then go do some more, and all will get done.
Why?
Because, it has to be done.
That’s the simple answer.

So, if you start seeing one picture posts, or no posts for a little while, it’s all good.
We’re just getting ready for the inevitable.
Winter is coming.