As has become the norm over the last 7 weeks, farm life is very busy, and we are loving every moment of it!

The turkeys have reached about 7 pounds each, and although I still have no clue if I have toms, hens, or both, they are all thriving on their free-ranging life.  If my reading research proves true, then they will double their weight in the next 3-4 weeks.  Seeing as how I have a very tiny oven, I believe a turkey harvest will be in the not-to-distant future.  I don’t think I can fit more than about 15-18 pounds of turkey in there.

Doing what turkeys love doing.

I'm big and bad, don't mess with me!

 

The rabbits are doing great.  Our first litter has been ready for harvest for several weeks now, but other projects have prevented it from happening.  They are roughly 6 pounds now, so we do have to do the deed sooner than later.  We are now hoping and planning for this weekend.  S is sending out an invite to the handful of people who are interested in helping or witnessing, and we are planning a big potluck adventure–though I will be serving beef instead of rabbit, as 7 rabbits won’t feed as many folks as we are anticipating.

3 of the 7 we will be harvesting.

Not too long after this harvest, we will do a few more.  The 3 kits born 3 weeks ago are absolutely thriving.  Apparently mom is a pretty big milk producer, as I have never seen such roly-poly bunnies!  With so little competition, they are so plump and round, they can hardly walk!  Do to the hectic pace here lately, we haven’t been able to tame these down as much, but they seem perfectly content to just be cute bunnies.

These are about a pound and a half each--well on their way to the stock pot!

The chickens are doing equally well.  We get 3-4 eggs a day from our layers, and I LOVE not having to go buy eggs anymore!  The hens are absolutely thriving on their new free-range abilities, and keep the goat pen nice and churned up until I can get it cleaned out.  All but 1 (a white leghorn) have quite friendly, docile natures, and the kids love being able to pet and handle them.  The little chicks are ready to be moved outside, but I lack a place to put them at this point.  Thus, they remain in my garage for another week or so.  I am hoping to mix them with the hens soon enough. 

The Light Brahma's are still my favorites, though they are just really feathering out now, hence the rough appearance. Of the 7 we have, I think we have at least 1 rooster, but the combs are pretty similiar still, so we'll see. I would love to breed these for next year!

 

Our chronic bad-hair-day chicken--a Golden Polish. This is M's favorite, and for her sake, I hope it's a hen. Otherwise, it's life expectancy is very short.

 

Since we got them, we thought the majority of our birds were Silver Spangled Hamburgs. As they have grown, though, about half of those have proven to be something else, and I have no idea what. Can you see the difference here? They have been identical from day one, but now, half of them have rose combs like the one on the left (the Hamburgs) and it is very easy to see that, of those, we have about half hens and half cockerels. The others, though, look like the one on the right, and have single combs. I am leaning toward a Silver Penciled Rock or a Pheonix, but really don't know yet.

And there are a few I didn’t take a pic of, one of which is still a mystery, though, based on his/her pheasant-like appearance, I am leaning toward Golden Penciled Hamburg.

Then there’s the goats.  I’m not sure it should be legal to have this much fun with animals!  The kids are just too cute, with the little buckling being ever increasingly independent and rambunctious.  He will actually romp and play with the children, which they love.

He's standing on my leg here, as if to so say "Here I am! Take my pic!"

 The little doeling is still pretty timid, with a personality very similiar to her mom’s.  If you look at the pic of the buck above, you can see he has about 1/2 inch horn buds starting to pop out.  Because S decided he values goat meat, the little buck’s days are numbered (he will be meat).  Therefore, I decided not to put him through the torture of wethering (castrating) or disbudding.  The doeling, however, has a promising future as a milker, so her day of torture arrived yesterday.

Poor baby girl handled it very well, and will hopefully never have to deal with horns now.

I will do another post with details regarding this process and why we chose to do it.  But this is an update on farm life in general, so I will try to stick to topic. 

DayJay still regularly nurses off both does, but interestingly enough, I am now regularly getting around 2 cups of milk out of Lilac anyway.  One person told me her milk supply will not increase, but any other mammal’s supply is based on demand.  It seems to have increased quite a bit in the last few weeks with the frequent nursing.  Right after the kids were born and he started nursing her, she gave me nothing but a few squirts (not even worth filtering, so I fed it to the chickens) for a few days, but it has gradually increased again to over 2 cups at times.  I have also milked Sara a few times, more for training than anything, and she has produced very little, though I have witnessed both kids nursing her regulary.  This weekend, I plan to start seperating the kids at night, so I am curious to see what happens to both does’ milk production. 

Other aspects of farm life are coming along as well….

The rhubarb and horseradish are everywhere! I don't have a clue what to do with it all!

It has been snowing off and on for the last week, so my tomato,  pepper, and strawberry starts are under hot caps. They seem to be doing well so far.

The strawberries are also doing great. We have already managed to sample a few berries, and it looks like more are well on their way!

 I have corn, beans, and squash growing in my living room window seat “greenhouse” still, and hope to get them, as well as potatoes, onions, and kholrabi planted this coming week if the weather actually warms up.

Then there’s the building projects.  We have had to purchase wire and just 2 sheets of plywood for a coop roof, but almost everything else is being finished from wood scraps S brings home from work–mostly shipping pallets he disassembles.

A hay and feed shed by the goat pen. We eventually plan to close in some sides, but this helps for now.
Our almost-finished portable chicken coop. Yes, it is big, but since the chickens won’t be fenced, we hope to only have to move it 1-2 times a month. We are designing it to house about 12-14 hens at night.

The coop is our final “big” planned project before we go back and start finishing unfinished projects, painting and cleaning, and generally pretty-ing the structures and pens up a bit.  It will be nice to have all this work come together and actually look like a functional farm, rather than run-down, pieced-together, red-neck-ville!  Still, though, even with the lack in aesthetics, this whole process has been so rewarding.  To know that we are finally growing some of our own food, milk, meat, and eggs is just thrilling to my heart, and we are so thankful God has chosen to allow us this luxury in life!

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