Monday, June 27, 2016

Goat update

In March, we got our first goats.  2 Lamancha/Nubians, and I was so excited!  Once I started milking, my excitement waned.  It was not good, I posted about our milking woes here, here, and here.  Oh, and here.  And here.  Needless to say, it wasn't easy for me and I had plenty of challenges.

So, how are we doing now that it has been almost 3 months?  I don't want to jinx myself, but it has been better!  Here is Miss Aurora this morning after milking.  She loves her feeding time.  See her standing nicely?  It doesn't always happen this way, but the majority of the time, she is being a good girl.  She still tries to kick her back legs or dance when she is out of feed, or needs to poop...

I give her 1 pound of Dumor pelleted goat feed, and mix in about a half cup of Alfalfa pellets, 1/4 cup whole oats, and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.  It is making her coat so shiny and she looks great.  I haven't weighed her in a long time, but I need to.  

I swear she looks like she's smiling.  :)  The pic is a little fuzzy because she was moving her head back to her bowl.  


After milking, I release her back to the pasture and let out her baby, Millie.  Millie is huge already!  I need to weigh her as well.  She is still nursing, so I only have to milk in the morning.  They crushed my dog crate that I was using to keep them separated, so I haven't been separating them.  Even so, I've been getting just about a quart a day, sometimes 3/4.  We really can't use more than that at this point.  My friend is going to teach me to make cheese and soap, I can't wait!  She is the goat queen and runs Solstice Sun Farm and keeps all Nubians.  We might be using one of her boys to breed the ladies in the fall, or she may practice with Artificial Insemination.  

Millie is a bit of a stinker.  Her horns, even though they were disbudded 3 times, have come back as scurs.  Thankfully they don't look bad, but she does use them to her advantage.  She also eats holes in the tarp, sticks her head out, tries to headbutt me, and is generally naughty.  I'm hoping this passes when she gets older.  She also loves a good scratch and some occasional bites of grain.  

I won't lie, I tried hard to sell them.  I listed them all over Facebook, because I just couldn't deal with the kicking and small orrifices.  I guess it just wasn't to be, because every interest fell through.  I've accepted that they are staying, and have gotten into a routine.  If she was still kicking as bad as she was, I would reduce the price and try harder to sell, but for now we are doing good.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

So many roosters!

In February, a friend hatched Barred Rock eggs for me.  Out of 24 eggs, 12 hatched.  And out of those 12, 9 were cockerels.  I purchased 3 Easter Egger pullets from a friend, 1 died, and 1 ended up being a cockerel!  Apparently this is the year of the rooster for us.  All said and done, we ended up with 10 cockerels and 4 pullets.  Insanity!

It has now been 17 weeks, and they are crowing.  It is adorable and soothing - maybe some of ya'll wouldn't agree, but I love the crow of a rooster.  (Ask me again in a few months.  ha!)  However, we only have 5 hens - 1 of which is currently broody.  That means, these poor ladies are getting quite annoyed at all the attention, and it is time for the extra roosters to go.

Aren't they handsome?  

I hate doing it, because so many of them grew up to be absolutely gorgeous, they all have a nice crow as well.  But I can't keep 10 roosters, and like I said, we have a broody hen sitting on 11 eggs right now.  *Please* let us have a better pullet ratio!  

A friend is processing her extra chickens Saturday and invited me to bring mine.  I am so nervous!  I have never processed a chicken before.  When we did the cornish cross, we took them to a local Amish family.  I guess it's time to "farm-girl up".  Ugh.  I'll let you know how it goes.  The temporary drop in the feed bill will be nice, and I'll be adding to my freezer supply - so that's good.  My hens won't complain about the break, I'm sure.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

This is why you don't go barefoot into the chicken yard...

I love being barefoot.  It's not always possible around here with all the glass in our field, but the yard is mostly safe.  We recently put the chickens in the yard so they could have shade while Lucy broods. Sometimes I forget, and go barefoot into the chicken yard, and this happens.

They were quite interested in my aqua toes and, let me tell you, they can peck hard!

Strawberry Jam

Is there anything that says summer like strawberries?  I look forward to them every year, but this was our first year making our own, homemade jam.  It was easier than I thought, and more delicious than any store bought jam I've tasted.  The recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, The Pioneer Woman.  It isn't the healthiest recipe (7 cups of sugar!) but it sure was delicious.

I just love canning.  There is something so satisfying about preserving your own food.
 Cooking the strawberries, all supplies prepped and ready.  

Into the water bath for 15 minutes.

Isn't that lovely?  I heard the "pop" of them sealing almost immediately after removing them from the bath.  *swoon*  Of course, our water is crazy hard, so I wiped much of it off, but you can still see where the glass looks a bit frosty.  

Spread on freshly baked sourdough bread.  Mmmmmm.  Look how red!  Only 4 ingredients and zero dye!  Makes you wonder what the heck store strawberry jam and jelly is made of, because this sure doesn't need any dye.  

Do you have a favorite jam recipe?  I'd love to try a healthier version next time.  That may not be until next year though, with strawberry season being pretty much over.