Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Farming Is Not For Sissies

The loss of Alice's little cria hit me hard, and, yes, I shed some tears over it.
But, farming is like that.
You have gains...and you have losses.
It ain't for sissies.
I try so hard to look at gains and losses objectively, but it is hard to do. I get attached to my animals.
The alpacas (barring a complete collapse of the country) are not meant for the table. Neither are my goats.
The chickens and ducks....well, maybe.
I plan on ordering chicks and maybe ducklings the first week in January. I will be ordering some meant just for the table, but I will order them in February.
The ones I order first will be for the *core* of my laying hens.
I am looking at several different breeds to find the best *mix*.
I know everyone seems to adore Buff Orphingtons, but I have had nothing but bad experiences with them.
So, don't suggest them!
As far as meat chickens, I am still "up in the air" about breeds.
I am maybe considering dual purpose.
Anyone want to make suggestions for chicken breeds, please chime in! Realize it gets cold up here!
As for ducklings to raise for the table, I am considering it...as I LOVE roast duck.
I am going through the different breeds but have yet to decide on that, either.
I have at least a month to decide, so, looking through web sites, catalogs, etc.
I also have to set up a proper brood area for them. I think I have that figured out, just have to put the work in. Once I have it done, but before I order the chicks/ducklings, I'll post some pictures and get suggestions on how to improve it. (There is ALWAYS room for improvement!)
Hope everyone's holiday plans are going well!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bad Morning

This morning I went out with Older Son to feed the livestock.
To our dismay, Alice the alpaca had delivered a cria during the night and the wee thing was dead.
It was a female, chocolate brown, just like Alice. Her eyes were open, she was probably born alive, but between Alberto stomping around trying to mate with Alice (we presume) and the cold, the little one died.
Alice wasn't due for another 3 to 4 weeks.
Maybe the move or the change in climate caused premature labor/delivery. I don't know.
I was so upset and disappointed.
The only consolation is Alice still has her yearling, Angus, by her side, so that should comfort her a bit.
I have also resolved not to allow Alberto access to the females unless it is time to mate.
So, a paddock just for Alberto will be on the agenda in the spring.
Another thing on the never-ending list.
I have been going through my Bakers Creek seed catalog and encountered a problem.
So, now...onto paring down to what we actually NEED.
Then I will have to pare down to what we can actually AFFORD.
I am sure most of you have the same problem.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Catalogs Arriving!

My catalogs have started arriving!
Chicken and seed catalogs!

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have some catalogs to peruse, obsess and drool over!