Thursday, February 16, 2017

Homestead Update 2.16.17

What a wacky winter, is all I have to say!

We have had a few cold nights where we were able to really fire up our new wood stove, but by and large it's continued to be exceptionally mild.

The eggs are starting to trickle in, with the ducks in the front lines.

Four out of seven hens are now laying, and we got our first goose egg this morning!

Freyja was acting broody, so I knew it was only a matter of time.

I won't begin collecting duck eggs for hatching until all of them are producing, and preferably after my dilute gander is out of the mix. I still haven't had the heart to cull him, since he's such a beauty. I'd rather him go to somebody who could use him for their breeding program.

I did finally catch the last two Muscovy drakes and sell them off over the weekend, and as soon as I can catch the wayward hen she will also be sold.

We will probably be hatching goose eggs first, as soon as both females are laying. I would also like to order at least a pair of goslings from Metzer farms to add to my flock for more genetic diversity.

I made the realization that Worth It Farms (where I've been wanting to order Ancona ducks from) is just 30 odd miles outside of Atlanta. It would make either a nice day trip to pick up hatching eggs, or I could get my sister and her fiance to pick them up for me, since they live in Atlanta.

But one thing at a time.

The rabbitry is overflowing at the moment - literally!

I ran out of cage space (need to hang more cages) so I turned the grow outs loose on the floor.

Which they (and Ian) enjoy immensely.

One of the benefits of having an enclosed rabbitry.

We have had a few escapees, however. Most of the time they turn right back around and run inside, but one has decided he wants to be a yard rabbit.

He (or she) has been surviving quite well on foraged greens and taking shelter in our giant woodpile for the past 2 weeks. We have thus far been unable to catch him (nor has our rabbit killing dog, Mika). Oh well. I am impressed with its resourcefulness!

As for the rest of the rabbits, we have some very colorful litters currently, and I'm excited to finally have some lightly marked broken reds.

I'm seeing a lot of gold-tipped steels as well, primarily thrown by Ace the broken black New Zealand.

It's such a pretty color, I definitely want to keep it in my rabbitry.

The goats have finally been moved out of the soggy garden.

We added some more kennel panels to expand their pen, and used an extra privacy fence panel as a deck to prop their camper top barn up on.

They even have a nice little porch to lounge on.

Nothing fancy, but it works.

It's nice because it keeps them higher and drier, which is a good thing for a goat. They've both been having some skin and foot issues this winter, especially Nutmeg. Luckily I've been able to address them with natural remedies, and hopefully I can head off these problems sooner by next winter.

Luckily, I finally bought the perfect tool to help me with this extra maintenance.......

While goat stands aren't terribly complicated to build, we opted to buy one due to time constraints.

It is very well built from solid oak, and I'm sure it will last us a very long time.

Ian had to give it a try. :)

We bought it from a local goat dairy, which offered both mini and standard sizes. We decided the mini would probably fit them better, but the keyhole was a bit too small.

But it was easy enough to fix by moving the hook and eye.

I've made a couple of trial runs with it, and it's obvious they have both been trained to the stand before. I'm so happy to have it!

Ultimately, of course, it will serve as a milking stand. But that will be awhile......

For now we are still learning about them and enjoying their company.

Mild days have been great for outside play and exploration.

... and not just for the kid!

We had the best fishing float on the Caney that we can remember - probably because of the full moon.

Spring is so close we can taste it......

....... although it has kind of felt like spring all winter!