Thank You for the rain Posted: July 27, 2014 |
We are truly grateful for all the rain the good Lord sent us. We prayed and asked, He supplied. The pastures are looking really green and lush and our sheep are getting really fat on them.
But the paddock flooded badly on Friday, it is still about six inches under water in some places. At first it was about a foot deep and the 'lake' covered most of the paddock! The ewes all moved to the mound of manure to sleep at night. We have to do something about the drainage in this paddock so that when spring comes next year our ewes will be dry. We are considering moving them to the paddocks we are builing in the long paddock, or, if we really need to, move them to paddock one.
Our barn was also flooded and all our feed bags got wet. We got in today and rescued what we could, then cleaned up the place, and all the feed is now in big blue or white bins. We will go a step further and get pallets to put the feed on as well.
The water ran off down the centre of the barn and made puddles. We checked the chickens and it seems the straw and heat lamps are keeping them warm and dry, so it was just the food that was affected by the water. Keeping the barn open is helping the water dry up, but we will still have to do something to prevent this happening again.
The feed area is now nicely packed. A good thing
We will be thinking about how to address the barn flooding to avoid this during the lambing season.
Goodbye alpacas, goodbye llamas.... Posted: July 21, 2014 |
We finally got to give away our alpacas and llamas. The gentleman came and picked them up on Saturday evening. He seems happy to have a new group of animals on his farm. He already had four llamas, and our flock included another male so he is hoping he may have some little ones in the near future.
It seems a pity to let these animals go, but they were really disrupting life on our farm. The llamas and alpacas are not easy to round up, and when our dogs are being used to round up the sheep they tend to run right through the flock and scatter the group we just took ten minutes to round up! Then we have to start again, and everyone gets just a little annoyed >:<
Our cows have also left us, but they will be returning at the end of the summer. We have shipped them to the neighbour's farm so that they can be covered by her bull, and we will have a set of calves born next spring, hopefully. I am missing the cows already, I really like them a lot. It will be great to have calves next year as well as our lambs.
With the larger animals off the farm we are a little concerned about coyote attacks on the sheep. I am hoping the coyotes will not be bold enough to attack our flock in the day, but they seem to be getting really cheeky and yesterday one walked past me and did not even bat an eyelid in my direction! Daniel scared it off by shooting a round from his rifle, but we know he will be back and where we saw him was not far from where our sheep graze. Looks like we will have to make more regular checks on the sheep for the rest of the summer.
Pray for Rain Posted: July 16, 2014 |
The past two weeks have been really hot, with no rain. I know everyone has been enjoying the 25+ weather, but earlier today the thermometer hit 31, and with temps this high for this long we are starting to see our grass wilt and the pastures suffer, so we are really praying for some rain.
I know the farmers are all thinking the same thing because the fields we drive past are looking parched, and the second cut of hay is not growing back yet so we are wondering what the second cut will be like. The crop report I listened to today is also stating the effects of the heat on canola, wheat and barley crops. Any rain in the next few days will be most welcome.
Daniel and Christoff are installing the small air conditioner we have. They have to cut a piece of board to fit the window and then insert the air-con into it. Once that is installed we will have a cooler house, and we probably won't need air-con for the rest of the summer! Yip, that's usually the way things work out
But if we do have nice days again then at least we will have a place to cool down when our work outside is done.
Four weeks, two days Posted: July 11, 2014 |
The broilers are just over four weeks old now, and in just another eight weeks we will be taking them in to be slaughtered. At four weeks they already weigh about two or three pounds each, with big stubby legs and huge breasts. These make really good meat.
And the two-day olds are tiny in comparison, all yellow and fluffy and cute. I bought fifty more broilers, one hundred layers and ten turkeys. These broilers will be ready in October, and the layers will start laying in November. I will slaughter the turkeys in time for Thanksgiving, early October. We are hoping they will weigh between fifteen and twenty pounds when finished. Last year we struggled to sell the turkeys because they were too big, but this year they should not grow that big as I ordered them a month later.
A proper breeding ram Posted: July 5, 2014 |
We went and picked up a ram today. He is a Canadian Arcott, nicely built, really sturdy and just over a year old. Hopefully he will produce lambs that are way better than the rams we had this year. The rams that bred our ewes last year were really, really terrible! The weight gains are minimal and their size is under average. It is also partly our fault because our ewe nutrition was not what it should be, but we are expecting a much better brood next year with all the improvements we are making.
This is ram number one, and soon we will be getting a Suffolk ram to join him. After that we still need two more rams to breed with because we have over 140 ewes, and each ram can only cover about 50 ewes in about 25 days.
Our broilers are growing fast now, and they have the run of the barn. I will be getting 100 day-old layers on Wednesday, and another 50 broilers and 10 turkeys. We need the layers desperately because we have a huge demand for eggs that we just cannot keep up with. The broilers and turkeys will be slaughtered in time for Thanksgiving this year, and in November the layers should start laying and we can then meet the demand again.
Another birth on the farm Posted: June 29, 2014 |
One of the llamas gave birth this morning to a little girl. She is quite sweet and friendly right now. Daniel spotted her while he was working outside on the fencing.
Nerissa and I went out to take a look at the new arrival. She is tiny really, smaller than I expected and about the same size as the crias that were born here. The sheep were really curious about the newcomer and several of them crowded around her to sniff her. It made me a little concerned, so I herded the three adults and the baby into the paddock at the back of the barn. They can stay there for a day until I see that the little one is doing well and bonded to her momma.
I did see the little one try to suck from the mom, but I am not sure she drank enough, so I will see if she will take a bottle of milk from me later today. It is hard with the alpacas and llamas to tell if they have enough milk or not, with sheep and goats you can just pull on their teats to see how much milk they have, but the others won't let you get near them. We will have to keep an eye on the little one for a day or so and then all should be well.