Goodbye alpacas, goodbye llamas.... Posted: July 21, 2014 |
We finally got to give away our alpacas and llamas. The gentleman came and picked them up on Saturday evening. He seems happy to have a new group of animals on his farm. He already had four llamas, and our flock included another male so he is hoping he may have some little ones in the near future.
It seems a pity to let these animals go, but they were really disrupting life on our farm. The llamas and alpacas are not easy to round up, and when our dogs are being used to round up the sheep they tend to run right through the flock and scatter the group we just took ten minutes to round up! Then we have to start again, and everyone gets just a little annoyed >:<
Our cows have also left us, but they will be returning at the end of the summer. We have shipped them to the neighbour's farm so that they can be covered by her bull, and we will have a set of calves born next spring, hopefully. I am missing the cows already, I really like them a lot. It will be great to have calves next year as well as our lambs.
With the larger animals off the farm we are a little concerned about coyote attacks on the sheep. I am hoping the coyotes will not be bold enough to attack our flock in the day, but they seem to be getting really cheeky and yesterday one walked past me and did not even bat an eyelid in my direction! Daniel scared it off by shooting a round from his rifle, but we know he will be back and where we saw him was not far from where our sheep graze. Looks like we will have to make more regular checks on the sheep for the rest of the summer.
Pray for Rain Posted: July 16, 2014 |
The past two weeks have been really hot, with no rain. I know everyone has been enjoying the 25+ weather, but earlier today the thermometer hit 31, and with temps this high for this long we are starting to see our grass wilt and the pastures suffer, so we are really praying for some rain.
I know the farmers are all thinking the same thing because the fields we drive past are looking parched, and the second cut of hay is not growing back yet so we are wondering what the second cut will be like. The crop report I listened to today is also stating the effects of the heat on canola, wheat and barley crops. Any rain in the next few days will be most welcome.
Daniel and Christoff are installing the small air conditioner we have. They have to cut a piece of board to fit the window and then insert the air-con into it. Once that is installed we will have a cooler house, and we probably won't need air-con for the rest of the summer! Yip, that's usually the way things work out
But if we do have nice days again then at least we will have a place to cool down when our work outside is done.
Four weeks, two days Posted: July 11, 2014 |
The broilers are just over four weeks old now, and in just another eight weeks we will be taking them in to be slaughtered. At four weeks they already weigh about two or three pounds each, with big stubby legs and huge breasts. These make really good meat.
And the two-day olds are tiny in comparison, all yellow and fluffy and cute. I bought fifty more broilers, one hundred layers and ten turkeys. These broilers will be ready in October, and the layers will start laying in November. I will slaughter the turkeys in time for Thanksgiving, early October. We are hoping they will weigh between fifteen and twenty pounds when finished. Last year we struggled to sell the turkeys because they were too big, but this year they should not grow that big as I ordered them a month later.
A proper breeding ram Posted: July 5, 2014 |
We went and picked up a ram today. He is a Canadian Arcott, nicely built, really sturdy and just over a year old. Hopefully he will produce lambs that are way better than the rams we had this year. The rams that bred our ewes last year were really, really terrible! The weight gains are minimal and their size is under average. It is also partly our fault because our ewe nutrition was not what it should be, but we are expecting a much better brood next year with all the improvements we are making.
This is ram number one, and soon we will be getting a Suffolk ram to join him. After that we still need two more rams to breed with because we have over 140 ewes, and each ram can only cover about 50 ewes in about 25 days.
Our broilers are growing fast now, and they have the run of the barn. I will be getting 100 day-old layers on Wednesday, and another 50 broilers and 10 turkeys. We need the layers desperately because we have a huge demand for eggs that we just cannot keep up with. The broilers and turkeys will be slaughtered in time for Thanksgiving this year, and in November the layers should start laying and we can then meet the demand again.
Another birth on the farm Posted: June 29, 2014 |
One of the llamas gave birth this morning to a little girl. She is quite sweet and friendly right now. Daniel spotted her while he was working outside on the fencing.
Nerissa and I went out to take a look at the new arrival. She is tiny really, smaller than I expected and about the same size as the crias that were born here. The sheep were really curious about the newcomer and several of them crowded around her to sniff her. It made me a little concerned, so I herded the three adults and the baby into the paddock at the back of the barn. They can stay there for a day until I see that the little one is doing well and bonded to her momma.
I did see the little one try to suck from the mom, but I am not sure she drank enough, so I will see if she will take a bottle of milk from me later today. It is hard with the alpacas and llamas to tell if they have enough milk or not, with sheep and goats you can just pull on their teats to see how much milk they have, but the others won't let you get near them. We will have to keep an eye on the little one for a day or so and then all should be well.
Planting trees, mowing the lawn, still fencing..... Posted: June 24, 2014 |
Last week I had the girls dig up all the shelterbelt trees we had in the planter box. They sepatated the live ones into groups of choke cherries, green ash and lilac and put the trees into buckets of water to which I added a bit of fertilizer. We had mostly lilac, and only four or five choke cherry trees.
We planted lilac in front of the barn paddock, and at the entrance gate, and in front of the pine trees that shade the west side of our house. We planted the choke cherries in front of the pines, in between the lilac. The green ash were planted around the orchard near the road, with more lilac in front, and then we planted what we could at the back of paddock two and three to provide shelter for the animals in years to come. It took us two nights to plant about two hundred trees, and we had left overs which we gave the neighbours. I am looking forward to seeing all the colour the lilacs will provide, it will be awesome!
The pasture out back is getting a little sparse, and the front lawn was getting long, so we let the ewes graze it for a couple of hours. This saves us using the mower and using up fuel and blades, but unfortuntely it cost us some chicken feed that was still in the polebarn! We really have to get a secure place to put our feed, it seems we cannot keep these sheep away from bags no matter where we put them!
We still have a lot of fencing to do even though we have done weeks of it already. We need to cut a LOT of trees and bushes out of the back forty acres to make several pastures that we can rotate through in the summer. It is time-consuming work, and Daniel is doing it all alone because I am unable to help him much now. It is times like these I wish we had family to call on to come and help.
This coming week we have to make a gateway to the south-neighbours to enable the ewes to graze down their grass, which is getting really long and thick now. They should be able to graze there for another three weeks and then the back forty should be ready for them again. If the grazing works well this year with the 140 ewes we currently have, then increasing our numbers will be possible for next year.