This time of year can get chaotic with all of the new arrivals on the farm. Between the dozen lambs, 100 meat chickens that have been here for a month or so, 100 turkeys coming this week, 100 meat chicks coming next week, and an unknown number of turkey poults, chicks, and ducklings recently hatched by broody moms, there will soon be more babies here than we will know what to do with!
We have several broody birds right now, most notably a turkey and a muscovy co-nesting under our front porch. Just over a week ago, they hatched seven sweet little turkey poults. They are mostly black, but we have one pretty little blue bird as well. These will grow up and either be added to our flock, or become delicious holiday dinners. Heritage birds are different than broad breasted in many ways. One of which is that they grow slower, and develop more even muscling. If you are a fan of dark meat, heritage is what you want to eat. They still have quite a bit of breast meat, but it isn’t as huge as what you’d find in the store.
Over the last couple days, the porch moms and the barn muscovy have hatched over 15 ducklings. We don’t even remember the actual number! Every morning, one of our additional chores is checking in the nest for more little puffy babies. It was really cool that they started hatching the majority of their clutches on the same day!
This is such a fun and exciting part of farming that we didn’t really expect to enjoy so much. All of the moms have easy access to food and water, so this extended broody period is not an issue for them. The next time we catch them off their nests, we will be candling the eggs and making sure we don’t have to worry about any exploding.
This whole year has gone a little wild for us, like many others. We called our processor a couple days ago to book processing for our first batch of chickens, and we are excited to announce they will be available on July 4th, 2020! This was definitely an intentional decision on our part, and we hope you will consider purchasing some fresh, never frozen chicken for your socially distant 4th of July celebrations.
We will have them available whole, halved, or 8 piece. We will not be separating them into parts. Whole chickens are $4.50/lb, halved and 8 piece are $5.00/lb. Whole birds are great as a “beer can chicken”. Halves are awesome for the smoker or the grill. And the 8 piece is perfect for frying, grilling, oven roasting, or just about anything!
In addition to the birds, we will have feet, necks, hearts, gizzards, and livers back in stock!
Despite 2020 already being… well… all of this… we assume time will continue to tick on, and Thanksgiving will eventually get here. We’ve placed our order for turkey poults, which means it’s time to start taking deposits! We will be modifying how we do turkey dispersal this year, to make things a little easier on us, and make sure everyone can get what they request.
First, there will be a non-refundable deposit of $25. This helps us afford the cost of acquiring the poults, and paying for part of the feed. Turkeys eat a lot and take a lot of work to grow them out. If you do not show up to pick up your turkey on the date you decide upon (we will send out an email later on and you will choose your pickup date and location), you will forfeit your deposit.
This deposit will obviously go towards the total cost of your turkey. The turkeys will be whole birds, with the neck and giblets included, and will be priced at $4.00/lb. We will also offer the option to purchase a half turkey, which will not include the giblets, and will be priced at $4.50/lb. If you would like to purchase a half turkey, let us know when ordering.
Turkeys will be sold frozen. We choose to sell our birds this way to allow more flexibility for the processor, and to be able to process birds over the course of a few weeks, which means we can have a wider range of sizes available. Contrary to the belief of many, turkey that is frozen properly is practically indistinguishable from fresh, never frozen turkey. We rent a commercial freezer that is set to -4 Fahrenheit (or lower!), which allows the meat to freeze quickly, keeping the texture and flavor intact. To thaw a turkey, allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird. Stick it in the fridge a few days ahead of time, and you’ll be ready to go by the morning of the holiday.
If all of this sounds good to you, you can head over to our fancy new online store and place your deposit. If you have any additional questions about our turkeys, feel free to contact us! We appreciate your support and trust with such an important part of your holiday dinners. We look forward to feeding all of you!
After two weeks to the day, all of our Jacob ewes have lambed. Our solo Romeldale girl Calypso isn’t due for a couple weeks still, but we are calling lambing season done, for all intents and purposes.
First up, on April 12, Janus gave birth unassisted to a two horn ewe named Vienna, sired by Limerick.
April 17th brought a pair of four horned, blue eyed twin rams, Kolsch the lilac, and Porter is black, to Tanka, sired by Apollo. They were a little slow to figure things out, but got themselves together within half a day.
April 21, we called our farm vet to assist Citra with the delivery of her ram lamb Pilsner. He was all sorts of backwards, and on the small side with rather long legs. His sire is Limerick.
On Earth Day, April 22, Galena gave birth to twins. Schwarzbier the ram, and Corona the ewe. They are sired by Limerick.
On April 23, the second of our two original ewes, Haiku, had twin ewes. They were quite tiny, and still are the smallest lambs we have, got tangled up, and because of that, we needed to call the vet out again. In no time flat, she had the two tiny girls out, named India and Amber. They are sired by Apollo.
Sunday April 26, had two ewes giving birth. Up first was Hallertauer who had two lilac boys, Lager and Labatt, while we had some farm visitors. Cascade went into labor a few hours later, and had twins. The larger of the two didn’t make it, but the smaller is vigorous and growing well. This little guy has not been named yet. Both of those gals had their lambs sired by Apollo.
We are so excited to watch all these babies grow up! We will be keeping the majority of the ewes to add to our breeding stock, but may consider selling some later on. Some of the rams are destined for the dinner table, and others will be sold to Jacob breeders to continue the preservation of this awesome breed.
This post has been rolling around my brain for some time. But there have been many other things rolling around up there, and it’s been hard to string together coherent sentences. Finally, I have found myself at a point in Coronatine where I feel like I can adequately describe what we have planned for this year! And it’s a lot!
Up first, we will be raising MORE pastured chicken! We have 100 chicks arriving this week, and an additional 100 arriving in May. We are modifying how we will be raising them ever so slightly, so they will have more space to roam and find tasty snacks. This will result in more flavorful meat, and happier, healthier birds. We will do at least one more batch of 100 birds before the end of the season, possibly two.
We will also be raising more duck! We have a muscovy hen setting a nest in the barn, and we are pretty sure there is one under one of the coops (the same one who set a nest under there back at the end of summer 2019). We will raise these ducklings in the barn to start, and then move them outside with the rest of the flock once feathered. This gives them the best start on our farm. Because of our mixed flock, little babies can’t really keep up with mom amongst all the turkeys and geese and other bigger birds. The girls will join the ranks of the layers, and the boys will be destined for the freezer. We will also be getting some pekins to raise for meat.
In July, we will welcome 100 turkey poults. These will be a broad breasted breed, which is the same as what we raised last year. We are also hoping to have a handful of heritage turkeys to put on the table. Our friend Alyssa, from Tall Grass Farm, is incubating some turkey eggs for us, and so far they are developing well. We will have a post soon about how to order turkey for this year. It will be similar to last year, but with a few modifications based on things we’ve learned from our driveway mini market. They will be processed a little bit before Thanksgiving, and frozen so they can be served for other holidays as well.
It’s lambing season, and as of when I’m sitting down to write this, two of eight ewes have lambed. Janus gave us a sweet, beautiful ewe lamb. Tanka gave us a pair of robust 4 horn rams, one a gorgeous dark lilac, and one a lively black. And both those boys have the prettiest blue eyes. We will hopefully have lamb available before the winter holidays. It will depend on if the lambs grow fast enough to make it profitable to send them to the butcher at that point in time. We are planning on giving them minimal grain, and allowing them to grow on the rich pasture that grows here.
Finally, the thing SO MANY people have been asking about: PORK! We will be working with our friends at Ham Sweet Farm and starting with some American Guinea Hogs. For at least this first year, we will be raising them as feeders, and not breeding them. These are a delicious lard breed that is known for rich red meat, and melt in your mouth lard. Depending on their growth, we are hoping to process some before the winter holidays, and perhaps grow a couple of them out longer to allow for the most flavor to develop. We will be working with a couple local produce farms, getting their scraps regularly to enrich the diet of the pigs, as well as the rest of our animals.
In addition to all of this, we are going to hopefully have our yarn back from the mill in the next couple months. And we have the wool from this year’s shearing in the barn, waiting to be processed. Plus, we have our usual eggs and meat happening. If you want to buy into all this goodness, we have our Farm Share CSA available here.
We’ve been watching the weather quite closely the last couple weeks. Between wanting to have the windows open during the day, making sure we close them before the rain starts, to figuring out if we need to add more straw to the coops to help keep the birds warm, there is always some reason one of us will check the weather 73 times a day.
We knew there would be a storm last night, and we knew there would be wind. We made sure stuff that could blow away was put somewhere safe, and there wouldn’t be trash blown around the yard or something annoying like that. We woke up this morning and found nothing out of place, other than a few small twigs blown off trees, which is normal for any amount of wind here. And then I looked out the back window…
One of our shelters for the sheep and goats was blown onto its back side. Somehow, the wind was strong enough to blow something over that we couldn’t move without a tractor. But nothing else blew around or blew over. I am a little bit convinced the goats just had a raucous party, and knocked it over.
Thankfully, no one was injured, and nothing was damaged. You can even see an intact goose egg near the base of it! It was VERY close to hitting the fence, and we were quite worried we would have some urgent fence repairs to take on this morning. We got very lucky.
Thankfully, the fence was spared. The corrugated roof managed to hold up the weight of the shelter, plus the addition of some naughty goats bounding around inside.
We are very lucky that nothing was severely damaged. We hope all of you fared well during last night’s storm!
Different species of animals have very different nutritional needs. This is why there are so many types of feed at local feed mills and farm stores. There are even different nutritional needs between animals of the same species being used for different purposes. For example, broiler chickens need more protein and less calcium than egg laying chickens. Dairy cattle need more calcium than beef cattle. Pregnant and lactating animals need more protein and fat than others. One of the big differences between animals housed together on our farm is that goats need copper, and sheep can easily experience copper toxicity.
First thing’s first, how do you determine if you need to supplement copper? Generally speaking, goats will always need some source of copper. Some of the symptoms goats will show when they are copper deficient are as follows:
Fish Tail (the tip of the tail loses hair)
Hair loss on the face
Fertility issues, both in males and females
Difficulty during pregnancy and labor
Increased susceptibility to parasites
On farms that raise only goats, or keep their goats separate from other copper sensitive animals, the animal caretakers will often give a them a free-choice mineral supplement that contains copper. This is the easiest way of supplementing copper, and can be sufficient for many animals. It is important to remember that these mineral mixes provide a good baseline for the animals, but will not fix a severe deficiency. If you are lucky enough to have a local feed mill, they might be able to custom mix minerals for you.
Another easy way to provide copper is through goat-specific feed. It has the right balance of minerals and vitamins to raise healthy goats. We don’t feed our animals grain regularly, and again we house our goats with our sheep, so we cannot offer the feed to everyone. This also wouldn’t work for people who are raising their goats in a grass fed situation.
Because we have our sheep and goats together, we cannot give them a feed or mineral mix with copper in it. So we go the route of feeding them copper boluses. Our bolus of choice is UltraCruz. They are available in 2g and 4g doses. The larger one is for adults, and the smaller is for kids or very small adults. We dose with the larger bolus about every 8 months. So far, this has worked for us.
To administer the boluses, we skip the balling gun that so many people use. It’s just one more thing for us to drop into the mud, or to shove into our pockets. Our method of choice is to handle the goats one at a time, and give them animal crackers. Most of our animals would sell their best friends for a single animal cracker. They get one cracker, and then we shove the bolus into the back of their mouth, and quickly give them more animal crackers, being sure they don’t spit out the bolus in the process. Of our seven goats we treated this week, we only had one of them spit the bolus out. Thankfully, it’s easy to find in the dirt, and just shove it back in there. The packages all say it needs to be eaten whole, however we have not experienced issues with them being chewed partially before being swallowed. You may have a different experience.
What is important for your animals is that you are aware of their individual needs. Find a local farm vet if you are able, and work with them to figure out what will work on your farm. Do the best you can, and your goats will live happy, healthy lives.
This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry. This post is meant to be informative, and is not intended to treat or cure a sick animal. It will not replace advice from your veterinarian. This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, we make a little money. Doing this helps keep our farm running.