Homestead Updates, June 2016
I’m a couple days late, but I still wanted to share our updates for what went on around the farm throughout the month of June 2016.
But first, a reminder: Mike and I will be launching our Little Red FarmCast podcast later this month. If you want to be the first to hear when it launches, sign up for our mailing list!
If you follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter you may have seen that a rooster joined our flock earlier this month. (That’s him up there, with Ben.) His name is Ravioli (yes, you read that correctly) and he’s an Australorp, like 3 of our other hens.
I always thought eventually I’d like to have a rooster, but I didn’t plan on getting one now. I happened to see someone on our local Craigslist looking to re-home Rav, and then later the same day I found out that the person looking to re-home him was actually a friend-of-a-friend and that someone had actually given her my name (via Facebook-tagging) to see if I wanted him. Small world and all that. I figured at that point it was meant-to-be.
Ravioli (named by the children of his previous owner — too adorable, right?!) has integrated into the flock without incident. He’s very young (only about 10 weeks when we brought him home at the beginning of June) but he is doing is rooster-thang quite happily. He’s fairly docile so far, as roosters go. I think it probably helps that he has a harem of 17 hens to chase around.
Speaking of Rav chasing our hens…
One of our Buff Orpington hens decided to go broody this month. At first, I decided to move her to the barn and let her sit on 9 eggs. I didn’t close the barn door early enough that evening, and at dusk she abandoned the eggs and returned to the coop on the other side of our property. Then the next day she decided to camp out on 4 more eggs in a brooder box back in the coop, so I just decided to let her sit on them there without moving her. She’s been on them for about a week now, so somewhere around July 16th we’ll see if the eggs she’s sitting on will hatch. I may candle them tomorrow evening to see if I can see any growth. (That way we don’t end up with stinky, rotten eggs in our coop – ugh.)
The meat chickens are absolutely ENORMOUS at this point. Ideally, we should have processed them this weekend. Unfortunately, the soonest Mike could get off work was the 16th, and our chickens will be 9 ½ weeks old at that point. I’m getting nervous that we’ll start seeing some of the horror-story problems (heart failure, broken legs, etc.) you hear about with Cornish-X chickens by that point, so I’m very stressed. It also means at least another 100 pounds of food I’ll probably put into them, making them a lot less cost effective.
… Live and learn, right? I’m hoping it all turns out okay in the end. I’d really love to get a second batch of meat chickens raised up and in the freezer before the summer is over, but we’ll see how butchering day goes before I commit to that.
Mama bunny gave birth to a litter of 9 kits in June, and they’re healthy, adorable, and growing fast. We need to empty out a couple cages and put together a few more for grow-outs. Thanks to the boys getting attached to a couple of the bunnies from past litters, our “permanent collection” in the rabbitry is now 2 bucks and 2 does.
The goats have been joining us for quite a few bonfires in the back yard this year. They love climbing on the picnic table, our benches around the fire, and really anywhere else they can leap or scramble to. They’re into everything, but they’re an endless source of entertainment!
Ben’s been getting much busier lately with 4-H. He’s decided he wants to show Reese (our 7 month old doeling, pictured above with Myles) this year. His group has been starting to work on showmanship to prepare for the fair this fall, and I’m really looking forward to seeing him practice with her!
The best part is, I’ve been getting to learn right alongside Ben. I’d love to actually show our goats in an ADGA show some day. (#GoatNerd)
We also found out there is a “PeeWee” show class at the fair, so Myles could actually show one of the goats as well (and I’d be allowed to walk with him and help). How freakin’ adorable is that, right?! So I’m going to start working with Myles and our older goat, Candy, so he can hopefully participate at the fair this fall too.
Amanda lives with her family on a little red farmstead in northwestern Pennsylvania. By day she's a web developer specializing in WordPress and in her off time she enjoys working with goats and other livestock on the farm, canning, knitting, and crocheting.