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Valgal said: I think we have wrapping paper the same as Chims pants! 😊
Farmer Dan said: mmm all I can think of is the home made beer you guys were talking about ...
Joanne said: Thanks for the eggs! We need to come for a visit soon and see the new puppy.
Farmer Jo said: Thank you! Still unsure of the name, although we like your suggestion.
Deborah McLeod said: I'm suggesting Connie for the new cria after the Conradie's.
She's beautiful
Josh said: Thanks for the update, I read your site every morning.
Josh said: What's happening to the sheep? You have not posted anything about them lately.
Farmer Jo said: Will post another picture of the birds soon
Jackie said: Any new update?
Farmer said: Yes, it is an awful lot of work! Somehow we are getting through it all. You will have to come and visit us again to see all the changes, and to re-introduce yourselves because I can't remember you - my apologies for that, but we get so many people coming and going it is hard to keep track....

Are we done yet?

Posted: February 20, 2014 | Leave a Comment

Well, it has been a LO...........NG time since my last post! It seems like lambing is the busiest time and there were some nights where we had only two hours of sleep!

We had over 130 lambs born over a five week period. It was a bit disappointing to see so many singles, and not as many twins as we had hoped for. The number of lambs born will greatly influence our income this year and so we know it will be a lot less than we wanted. The number of breeding ewes we can add to our flock is also lower than expected, around fifty, and we were hoping for double that.

Lambing in the winter is also risky due to the weather. Our barn is not set up to cope with severe cold, and we lost about eight lambs to hypothermia. We have another eight that are now bummers because they recovered from hypothermia, but were not taken back by the mothers. Crowding is another issue in our barn, and we lost about twelve lambs to crushing.

Overall we are disappointed in this year's lambing, but we have a lot to be thankful for too. We have really big, strong lambs, and will be covering the costs of the hay with the sale of the ram lambs. We have dealt with a lot of problems and now have solutions and better management practises. A lot of things will change for the next lambing season, and over the summer we will be making many improvements to the farm to better accomodate our growing flock.

There is still a lot of daily work, but now that lambing is winding down we can take more time to add posts and keep our house clean! We are looking forward to lambing next year....

We have started lambing

Posted: January 10, 2014 | Leave a Comment

One of our ewes had a set of triplets on Saturday morning. They are now almost a week old, healthy and bouncy and strong. This morning another ewe had a single and he weighed in at 6kgs! Looks like the antibiotics we gave the flock are working.

I have not posted for a while because of year-end finances keeping me busy, and it seems the flu season has struck our house at the same time. Everything is late or on hold, but hopefully things will get back to 'normal' around here next week.

Three abortions spells chlamydia!

Posted: January 1, 2014 | Leave a Comment

The past three weeks have been interesting. One of our ewes aborted early in December and we decided not to read too much into it because of the strange weather we were having. Then on Christmas day another ewe had an abortion, and we mentioned it to our neighbour. She had also had a couple of her goats aborting early in December. Then on Sunday another ewe aborted a fetus that only had a couple of weeks to normal birthing. This became cause for concern. Our neighbour had spoken to the vet and been told that because her goats had had pinkeye this year it was most probably chlamydia she was looking at. Well, our ewes also had pinkeye in the spring, and some this fall as well, and we decided it would be cheaper to dose them with antibiotics for about $200 rather than lose up to 80% of our lambs this year.

So we injected all 170 sheep on New Year's Eve, and have to do them all again on Saturday, and for a third time next week Wednesday. It has been good to do this as we are testing out a sorting and race system for working with the flock. There are still a few changes that need to be made, but by the end of these three sessions we think it will be working as well as it can.

It also turns out our lambs are really thin - we have been told this now by two butchers. Our main concern is worms, so we drenched the whole flock as well. In three weeks time we will drench them again to kill off any eggs before they hatch, and then we will body score them to check that they are actually gaining weight. We are aiming for a live weight of 100 to 110 pounds, with a dress weight of 50 to 55 pounds, and then we will know the flock is healthy and we are doing the right thing.

Looks like the new year is going to be really busy!

And so this is Christmas......

Posted: December 25, 2013 | 1 Comment(s)

And we wish all our family and friends a wonderful Christmas day! May God bless you greatly with His love and faithfulness, and may the joy of life fill you with wonder today.

By Valgal, December 26, 2013

I think we have wrapping paper the same as Chims pants! 😊

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Warm weather in December

Posted: December 16, 2013 | Leave a Comment

The weather on Sunday was so warm we just had to take advantage of it. Daniel took all the partitions and feeder out the barn and cleaned it out with the tractor. We made a nice five-foot pile of poopy straw at the back of the barn! This is the first big clean of the winter, but there will be at least three more before winter is over. In the summer the pile of manure will get spread out on the fields to help the pastures recover.

Daisy's paddock now houses the llamas as well. Their bedding was cleaned out and new straw put down for them. The feeder does not work well so we will have to do something else next year. We have the same feeder in paddock one for Bubblegum and the alpacas, and BG jumps into it and poops everywhere. Definitely a problem we will have to sort out.

The kids spent a lot of time outdoors yesterday and made a snowman in the front yard. It looks really good and I will get out today and take a picture of it. Daniel had to clear the paths and the driveway on Saturday after the snowfall of Thursday and Friday. It took three hours! By the time he was done his feet were frozen and he took another hour to defrost inside. Good thing we have the tractor to do the shovelling - could not imagine doing that work by hand!

Cleaning out the barn is quite a process: all the temporary structures are removed, the rams have to be put into the feeder, and the ewes into the paddock, keeping them all separate. Then the hay, straw and poop are shovelled into a big pile at the back door of the barn. After that the pile gets moved out into the paddock. It takes quite some time to do all of that. Once the barn has been cleaned out new straw is put down and the barn smells and looks a whole lot better! Then at last the pens can be set up again and the animals can be moved back in,and everything gets back to what it was.

What do I feed the laying hens?

Posted: December 13, 2013 | Leave a Comment

I have recently had a few people asking what I feed my layers, so today I decided to put my answer in the blog:
My chickens are spoilt! I buy them a mix of grains from Champion Feeds in Westlock. So every week they consume four bags of 19% protein, one bag of 17% protein, and a bag of corn, oats and barley.

I also cook up a big pot of rolled oats for them about twice a month, and add sunflower and flax seeds to the grains as often. They are given milk from Daisy (our dairy cow) two or three times a week, as well as oyster shells to keep up their calcium levels. Our vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen also go to the hens, and I add a vitamin mix to the water for three or four days in row about four times in a year to make sure they are not depleted in any way.

I would really like to go organic on everything, but the reality is organic grains are hard to come by, and twice the price, and then you have to buy in great quantities and have huge storage bins on your farm. Of course, paying more for grains will put the price of my eggs up to about $6 per dozen, and I don't know if our existing customers will be happy with that. So for now I will stick to what Champion Feeds has to offer, and keep my chickens happy the way I have been doing.

We also call our birds 'free-range', but this has a lot to do with the weather. I open the chicken coop door every day but cannot leave it open long in these temperatures. Besides that, the hens won't even go near the door because they don't like the cold! I find that they will wonder out the coop in temps warmer than -5, but anything less and they huddle up. If the coop gets too cold they stop laying, so we have heat lamps on a timer that help them keep warm. Overall, I think they are happy and healthy, and it seems that everyone loves their eggs!