Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farm Fixes

We have dedicated this weekend to working on our fences in order to bring our cows back home. This will be a large job for my husband and 3 sons. My daughter and I will be at ballet! We have two cows at our neighbor's house. A tree fell on the fence between us and of course our cows went to stay with him. Have you ever heard the old saying that the grass is always greener on the other side? Enough said. We also have our Angus cow living at a friend's farm not far from here. We took her to stay and visit with our friend's bull. I am looking forward to bringing her and her calf home later today. We only have 6 cows at the moment. We no longer have sheep or horses so our fields have grown up beyond belief. My husband promises me that it is good for them to rest a while. I think they just look messy and undone. The good news is that this winter we won't be spending $4,000 on hay. It will be much cheaper than that with only the few cows that we have now. The truth is I miss my sheep terribly. I loved having sheep. Michael wants to get sheep again once our fences are completely redone. I didn't like the whole part of the sheep being eaten. I just like the sheep because they are so peaceful. Only the Lord knows what will come in the years ahead, but for now I am looking forward to seeing all 6 of our cows out in our field.
We are preparing our farm for winter. There are so many things to clean up and fix before the cold months come. We have honey to extract and some more tomatoes to be canned. I also ordered 25 more laying hens. They should arrive in the next few weeks so the farm will come to life with new baby chicks. Baby pigs will be arriving soon as well. I have enjoyed the summer, but I am ready to slow down and enjoy the fall that is just around the corner.
grace and peace,


Paige said...

A couple of farming questions....How often do you buy laying hen chicks? If memory serves me correctly, you just ordered some his spring, right?

Also, how long will it take your pigs to be ready to butcher? Do you continue to raise them over the winter?

TnFullQuiver said...

We did buy laying hens and meat birds this past March. Unfortunately, our chicks arrived late and we lost most of them. The meat birds were more expensive and since we couldn't identify which ones were dead, the company replaced more of the meat birds. We ended up with mass quantities of meat birds and few laying hens. We also had a barter arranged with a friend. He gave us apples last fall, and we gave him a dozen laying hens. We ended up with only about 6 hens for eggs. We have had a fox that has killed several of our chickens and now we are down to 4 laying hens. That only gives us four eggs a day which you well know wouldn't be near enough for our family. That is why I put in another order. I only wanted to order another dozen laying hens, but Murray McMurray requires an order to be at least 25 chicks so we will keep the extras. That way if a fox gets a few we will still have more than needed. This should be the last time we have to order for the next few years as long as we can keep the foxes and hawks away from them.

We do raise our pigs in through the winter. Our winters aren't that harsh here so it is okay for us. The worste thing to happen is that sometimes their water freezes and we have to check on that more often. It takes about six to 7 months to raise our pigs the way we like them. We want enough fat on them to make them tasty. If we get them in September, we should be ready to butcher them somewhere in March to April. I don't like having pigs around in the summer due to the flies and smell. They don't smell much at all in the fall and winter. If you wanted to raise some pigs, I highly recommend that you do at least 2 of them. They like to be with other pigs and they are easier to care for when they are content. Hope this helps!
love ya,

Paige said...

Thanks so much! Have you all figured out how many animals you need to have enough for your family? i.e. since you're trying to raise all your own food, how many animals do you have (chickens and pigs) and how far through the year does that take you? Knowing your family and Dan, if there's not meat at a meal, it's only a snack! haha.

Good to know about the pigs and that's a really good idea about raising them in the winter. How do you supplement their diet since there's not at much forage?