Happy May! I can’t even believe how fast this year is passing! Time to let you know what went on last month on our homestead!
What did we do?
We expanded our sheep herd
We started our herd out with two ewes and a whether, and in December our first lamb was born on the homestead! To keep expanding our herd we needed a ram. We were in no rush to buy a ram, but we found one on the Internet for a great price. So we went and picked up Bram the Ram on April 4th.
We picked up Bram the Ram by car, I have a pretty decent size car with a big trunk. He was very well behaved and seemed to enjoy the ride. I was sitting in the backseat and the whole way home his head was right behind me (above picture).
He settled in fine and seems to be feeling right at home in the herd. He is about a year old right now and not fully grown yet, I am anxious to see how he looks when he is all grown and wondering if he will get some beautiful manes!
And then we shrunk it
We were planning on keeping our lamb that was born in December, even though it was a ram. We had planned on raising it to slaughter weight and then put it in the freezer. However, we do not have our pasture set up at this time to keep him separate from the ewes, and we only had one lamb this year. So we decided to put him on the Internet just to see if anybody was interested. We sold him the next day for our asking price.
Of course we have our Brahma chicks from last month, which are growing like crazy! I am thinking they are two roosters and one hen (what are the odds?), because the two black ones are bigger and have more tail feathers.
We already have a flock of mixed chickens that we were not planning on breeding any further.
I thought we had everything under control. I stole eggs from the broody’s so they wouldn’t hatch anymore babies. However, one day we (literally) had chicks falling from the sky. I was closing up the chicken barn for the night when I found a little chick right outside the barn peeping its little heart out. I had no idea where it came from, but I took it inside and we put it into a small rabbit cage with a heat lamp. The next morning the Husband came in after feeding the chickens with two more chicks he found on the ground. We were so confused! Back to the barn we went, and as soon as I walked through the door and little chick fell from the ceiling! Turns out one of our sneaky chickens had been brooding in between the ceiling and the roof. We ended up with 16 chicks! Two didn’t make it, unfortunately, but 14 remain.
The last Saturday in April I was hanging out in my greenhouse, watering the plants, when I noticed our cat sitting in the corner of the greenhouse. So I talked to her for a bit (yep, I talk to all my animals), she got up and I realized she was much skinnier than the day before. And sure enough, she had 3 tiny kittens tucked away in the corner of the greenhouse!
We build a chick brooder
We turned the old pig pen in the barn into a pig brooder, because we really want to breed and raise Brahma chickens. This way we can house multiple batches of chicks at the same time, and separate our breeding stock in the spring to collect hatching eggs. Right now we have the inside finished, but we are planning on expanding it outside so our breeding stock can be outside as well.
Due to the surprise batch of chicks we had to put a rush on building a second brooder, which is also nearly finished and the chicks can move there when they have outgrown their current housing.
We set up the incubator with some more Brahma eggs. They are due to hatch May 13th. We put 18 eggs in the incubator, but when we candled them on day 7 only 10 seemed to be fertilized. That was a little disappointing!
What did we produce?
Eggs: 239 (I am getting a little disappointed with our egg count because we have 21 hens and are getting 8 eggs a day on average, so I guess there are a lot of free loaders in the flock.)
That’s all for April Folks! If you want to stay up to date on what is happening on the Homestead please make sure you sign up for the newsletter!