The baby bunnies are so cute now! About 5 weeks old and just getting to be sweet little personalities for sure! The funniest thing they do is to squeeze through this little opening and go to visit Aunt Gwendolyn! Gwennie is our other doe who had a litter earilier in the year. She is a super good mom and the babies know it. So they squeeze through and go visit her! She grooms them and plays with them, and they like to help her eat her food. Grizelda, their mom, doesn’t seem to mind at all.
Jessy finally opened up the middle of the cage so that two does can share the three kits and all is happy in bunny land. Gwen and Grizzy are used to being together anyway, so it just gives everyone a huge big space to have and live in. And the babies are happier!
We have a red eyes white, a black and a panda eyed white that looks just like her mother! Not sure of the sexes yet, will have to check again. It is hard to sex baby bunnies until they are about 5 or 6 weeks old. Hoping for some nice does, but if we have two bucks then we might have a good home for them on our waiting list. Just gotta wait and see!
The little coop flock out enjoying the sunshine.
We had to make a decision to thin out some of our roosters. We just had tooooo many! 13+ roosters is a lot of roosters. So we thought long and hard and picked out three roos to go to auction yesterday. We had a extra barred rock rooster that we raised named Martin. Since we had taken back in Sheldon, another barred rock from one of our friend’s family, and to be honest, Sheldon was a little more tame, pretty and just well, nicer. So We took Martin in. He’s a very nice boy as well, and got a lot of oohs and ahhhs at the auction, so I’m sure he did fine.
We also decided to part with Argent, our other half Marans, half barred rock rooster. He was absolutely gorgious, nice big huge rooster. But he was a little too over sexed. He really was rough on the poultry barn hens. Not mean, just well, constantly looking for love. I suspect he was the reason that the egg production was not real great in there. A slightly confined space, limited hens and a love starved rooster is not a good combination. Since we really wanted roos in there just more for protection and for a normal chicken flock dynamic, he seemed like a good choice for auction. And that will allow us to move two juvenile rooster brothers in there. With two, they will fuss over each other more, keeping their pecking order in check and we hopefully will not have such the problem as just one big head roo. We will be moving Raven, our half Maran, half Amerucana in there as well as Sheldon, the barred rock roo we kept. Both are younger birds and will do fine together. And the hens will be happier, I hope!
And last, we decided to part with Josh2, our little Seabright banty rooster. These little Seabright roos, in our experience, are just cocky little tough dudes that always want to fight, crow like 27 times an hour and are just, well, little rabble rousers. He started out in the little coop, but he was picking on the young pullets badly and just being a crazy little dude. Riling up everyone all the time. So then we moved him out to the free range flock. Well, he started to pick fights with Bucka and Copper all the time and was pretty much riling everyone up in that group. Somehow, he ended up in the turkey pen and was doing somewhat better, but still, riling up the turkeys! He would pick fights with the biggest turkeys and just was pretty much annoying. So that really kind of sealed the fate of little Josh2. I think we will not be getting any more Seabright roos! When I put in him in the auction crate with Martin, the barred rock roo? Josh2 started to pick a fight with him and he’s like 4 times as big! Bantys can be a trip, let me tell you!
Nickel, the rooster formally known as Penny, watches as the pony walks by…
So now, we have more rooster nirvana here at the homestead. 9 roosters is plenty. Each of the three main flocks has two roosters. And there is Nickel, the super docile roo that hangs with the free range flock, and Guido, the super docile Jersey Giant roo that is in the lil’ coop and not bothering anyone. And of course, my litle sweet Mille’ Fluer banty roo Parsley with his three ladies in the garden coop. Everyone is nice and happy now!
It’s not the easiest to see but we took down an ailing section of fence that used to go from the white post in the left hand side of the picture, up to the corner of the little coop’s yard. We then wrapped that fence around to the back, on the left hand side. And then we opened up a whole new area of grass for the hoofies, about 30 foot square. And it allows up to get all the way around the lil’ coop yard without having to go back through the side gate. Hard to explain totally, but it was a task that really helps us in many ways. The fence posts were the old thin garden posts we had used in the beginning and I’m so surprised that Cody or even the sheep hadn’t knocked them down. I think they were just so used to them being there, they ignored it. Now we have good strong posts and it’s blocked off in the back with heavy chain link fence. The hoofies were all very happy to have this new grazing patch to trim down in no time!
The sheep love it when I pull down a crab apple tree branch for them to nosh on. They think the leaves are a super good treat, and I think it’s nice that they prune our trees for us. They love to nibble off the little cute apples! Of course, I don’t give them much, just a little treat now and then.
The piggies are doing great! Getting big, enjoying life, happy pigs! Soon we well be opening up the whole barn for them to play in, that will be fun for them. The turkeys are almost big enough to go to the outside garden coop where the nuggets are currently residing in. The nuggets are ready for their trip to Freezer Camp this week, and then the turkeys will move out there. It’s a good thing but I will miss the nuggets. This is the first time we have allowed them total free range freedom and they enjoy it. And some of their personalities have begun to slip out. That’s a hard thing, you start to get a little attached to them. But we know that they are having some health issues, it’s just so hard for them to get out and walk so far and all with their big bodies. We will have another batch in a few weeks and the circle will start again. It’s all good. I know for certain this batch had a super awesome chicken life!!!
But the piggies, they are growing fast. I would guess they are easily 40 pounds now. About 20 to 25 inches long easily. They are so funny to watch as they play with each other and roll around in the dirt, just getting filthy all the time. They love slop time, when Maggie brings them out the kitchen scraps of the day. Some days they get a real extra bounty if we have something turning from the frig or a box of stale this or that and boy are they happy about that. They love sour milk, and anything really that you don’t want, they will eat. Of course, they get free choice pig food and are pretty good about not just wasting that, but when it comes to slop time, oh they are happy!
Turkeys are doing okay… we have lost 2 this week to accidental passing. I think this might be the last batch of turkeys we raise. They are really hard to keep alive! When I heard people saying that 50% loss is not uncommon, I thought, no way… really? Well, were just about there. We’ve had now 8 die on us. We have 10 left. They just seem to seek out way to die. They are just not that smart. I know now why people build these fancy pens and never take them out. They just leave them in and hope that they have some reach maturity. Crazy. Like I said, I think this is our last time with turkeys. Two strikes and we’re out. They are expensive to buy and hard to raise. I think we will stick with chickens and pigs!
We finally have a real honest-to-gosh broody hen!!! Miss Carolyn, one of our blue cochin hens decided to set on a small clutch of eggs. She has four of them. I wish I knew that she had gone broody a little earlier and thought to slip a few more under her but that’s okay. If she can hatch these, that will be awesome! We have two other friends with hens that are trying to hatch out some of our eggs as well! It’s pretty cool. Perhaps our three little chicks will have some younger siblings soon!
I’m so happy to have my clothesline up again. I love to see laundry flapping in the breeze! We just need to get the water hose on our washer fixed, it sprung a leak, and then I can even wash clothes here and hang on the line! Yeah! We don’t mind at all going to the laundrymat, in fact, we kind of like it, since you get all your clothes done in less than 2 hours… but it is awesome to be able to put in a load of towels or sheets and pop them out on the line to dry.
I read recently that they think one of the reasons that the Amish do not have as many issues with allergies is that they line dry most all their clothing and bedding. Something about the sunshine does wonders on dust mites and other little nasties that can creep in to cloth. Interesting!
I just love how we repurposed the old nest box into a little banty chicken coop! I’m not totally finished, I want to add a little metal roof so that it doesn’t catch water on the flat top and to also give them some shade in the morning, but it’s pretty close. I also want to build them a little yard just as soon as I can. I just have four little mille’ fluer banties, one roo and his three ladies. They are young still, not laying, but I think they might start soon. They are so beautiful and they grace the garden area so nicely!
My garden is starting to shape up for sure! There are some days that I think it’s a total failure because I just don’t have it like I want it. ALl full and growing like nuts. But then I think, wait a minute… this year has been awful for gardens. We’ve had so little rain, it’s just awful. And we had to work hard to build up the beds and haul all that compost and dirt in and such. I think next year, my garden is going to be just fantastic. And this year? Well, it will be pretty darn good and I’ll have all the bugs worked out. We just moved the last 6 crate beds into place this week. I need to get about 10 more bags of topsoil to just dress them up nicely and then I’m going to start planting some short time stuff like beans and such. I know it’s the middle of July, but around here, we usually have nice weather up till October. I can easily get some 60 day crops outta the garden and maybe even some 70-80 day things especially if I use some floating row covers if it gets nippy early.
We’ve already been getting onions and lots of leaf lettuce and greens for the bunnies. The onions are for us. And I have tomatoes, peppers and beans that are getting pretty nice. We’ll get some good out of all of this work for sure. And next year, watch out! (haha….)
Maggie built this little ramp for the nuggets to go up and out of their coop in the garden. It took her most of an afternoon to teach them how to do it! But now they are pretty good at it. They are just not the most graceful birds for sure… but they try. They have a date with destiney this coming Friday and I think I will be sad to see them go. They are pretty funny to watch, free ranging all over the place. They seem to behave themselves, even if they do get underfoot a good deal. There are only 10 of them at the moment, so that makes it a little harder still. But they are getting big and gangly, and I’ve noticed that they are having some trouble with walking distances and such. Several seem to be slowing down considerably. They have had wonderful and event filled lives, and it’s time. We will start another batch in a few weeks and the circle will begin again.
Cody wonders when these guys are going to freezer camp. They are cramping his style…
We made a sweet score on Craigs List this week… over 70 feet of picket fence! Sure, it’s used and needs a coat of paint, but it’s pretty much solid and intact and it will look darling in the front pasture yard. I think it will stretch the whole western yard up front. We will have to get the posts for it, but that’s not too bad. We got all 70 feet for only $30. Around here, that is a steal! Just a single eight foot section is $25, and we got 9 of them for $30. And almost enough single boards to maybe make another half section or a little gate, we’ll see how it goes. Fencing is one of those things that we will take whatever we can get! I can’t wait to see this up and a bunch of black eyed Suzies in front of it, and other beautiful flowers!!!
Maggie and I are becoming regular carpenter gals. We figured out how to add some balusters to our front porch to make it more sturdy. It was a little on the wobbly side, mainly because there were only a few uprights to the railing. So we added three on each side and boy, did that make a huge difference. Probably could add a few more but we ran out of wood! So this will have to do. But we even had to cut a pair at an angle on the table saw! We just love that table saw, what a joy to work with! The circular saw is fun too, but for making nice accurate cuts and speeding up work, wow, the table saw wins hands down. We will be painting this next week so the porch will be on the top of the list!
Slowly but surely, we are transforming the front of the house, just making it nicer as we can. If a big old money truck fell over in the front yard, then sure, we’d have a lot nicer bushes and more flowers and such, but that’s okay, it’s slowly developing. It’s hard to see but our two little cherry trees right next to the front porch made it through the winter and are doing nicely. They are dwarf Japanese cherry and I think they will look beautiful some day when they really start to mature. We have picked out the new front lights we want, but it might be a little while till we can buy them. Other things are higher up on the priority list. But they are beautiful… hanging Craftsman style pendants that will really dress up the front door I think. We like the one wild bush on the right side of the house, because it blocks the windows there like a privacy screen. Being so close to the road, at night, it’s nice to have those bushes there to sort of block the view and let air in without having to have the curtains all drawn. They need a little whacking back, but for the most part, that is by design.
Our grass is trying to recover but we really need some more rain…. please! Most the grass all over the county is burned out. We went to a few garage sales and I noticed that everyone’s grass was crisp and burnt. It’s everyone. We don’t have much rain in the forecast for the next 10 days… so awful! We have to go and buy more hay tomorrow because we went through 10 bales in a month. We have to supplement the sheep because the grass just is so dead it has no good value to them. And I heard that people are starting to raise the price per bale all the way up to $9 a bale! My guy has us down for $5, but he can’t guarantee it long. I think I’m going to have to try and buy as much as we can afford, because this winter is going to be awful if we don’t. Already I know of folks selling off their goat and sheep herds to reduce the number they need to buy hay for! Great deals on good livestock, but then I’m afraid to buy any more because it will be hard enough to feed what we have! Drought is no fun!
This week ahead is going to be filled with painting… painting and more painting!
I’d like to reduce our collection of weird paints and get some stuff painted that could use a little help. Front porch, the courtyard fences and some of our pallet fences out back. Should be fun!
Also want to get the rest of the garden boxes planted and then hoping to get to processing some of our wool! That would be fun! (And good to do in the air conditioning for sure!!! ) It’s supposed to be a little on the warm side this week, so I’m so glad that we got all our heavy lifting done last week. Painting is not so hard, heck, you can even pull up a stool and paint. And it won’t take too long to dress up the last of the garden beds and plant a bunch of seeds to see what grows. Should be fun!