December 2016 Update

Our last update was in October, if you missed it, click here. We have been so busy lately, especially with all the holidays and with the sun going down so early now. We are long overdue for an update on our latest homestead happenings, so here we go!

Meat Chickens:

We finally finished processing our last batch of meat chickens this past weekend. We are getting significantly better and more efficient with the processing every time we do it. Click here if you want to read about our first chicken processing experience a few months ago. This time around we raised half Cornish Cross and half Red Broilers chickens. We are still deciding which we like better, but I’m planning on writing a post about that soon, so stay tuned! It feels so great to raise our own meat, especially chicken, because we eat it so often. What’s even better is raising them in a way that feels the best for us… on dirt from the day we get them, and then the last 4-5 weeks of their life out on pasture eating certified organic food. The freezer is now full and we couldn’t be happier! If you are interested in a farm-grown, pasture-raised, organic-fed whole chicken, let me know and I can give you more details.

Laying Chickens:

Our laying hens are doing great as usual; finally all of our young chicks from earlier this year have started laying eggs! With the recent colder temperatures, our hens’ egg production has decreased, but we’re still getting a few every day. We had two our young hens go broody at the same time, we let them sit on some eggs, but they never hatched. We separated them from the nest, broke their broodiest and are now back with the rest of the flock.

Turkeys:

The turkeys are so much bigger now, and they finally look like real turkeys. We lost one of our larger Blue Slates to unknown causes, but the rest are doing great! We actually harvested our second biggest male turkey a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving. He was our only Bourbon Red male, and was was pretty small still, but we wanted to enjoy one for Thanksgiving. He came out to 11 lbs fully gutted, not bad for only being 5 months old! We deep-fried the turkey at my parents’ house on Thanksgiving Day… It was such a fun activity for the family to participate in while waiting for the rest of the feast to be prepared. The turkey was mostly dark meat with very little breasts, but oh so delicious! We’re looking forward to eventually harvesting the rest of them in the next coming months.

Garden:

On the topic of Thanksgiving, remember all those pumpkins we grew and harvested earlier this fall? Well we also made a few pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving with the puree from those pumpkins! The corn was mostly destroyed by a gopher.  The tomatoes kept holding on until this last weekend’s frost, but I’m pretty happy that we were able to harvest our own vine-ripened tomatoes all the way through until the end of November! We had so many tomatoes at one point that I made the most delicious homemade tomato soup; I’ll have to post the recipe eventually. We have tried multiple attempts at planting our winter garden seeds, but unfortunately the birds got to all of them when they were either seeds still or as soon as they sprouted! Recently, Nic put some temporary netting a few feet off the ground over the garden to keep the birds away. We have planted more seed, so hopefully these ones make it! So far we have some little spinach and purple cauliflower seedlings popping up.

Goats/Lamb:

In the last update we had added a few members to the herd, well we have added more again! Lol.. The first new member is our young Nubian buck “Uno”, he only has one horn, which is how he got the name. As a buckling, the previous owner got in an accident when it was time to dis-bud him, so she asked a friend to do it, after the friend did one horn she didn’t feel comfortable doing the second, so she stopped. It’s a little goofy looking with his one horn, but he’s a very handsome stud and we got a good deal on him! The second new member is only temporary, our friend’s Nubian doe “Daisy”. She’s an older, but very sweet goat. She’s been with us for a few weeks now to be bred by Uno. She’s still in milk, so we have been enjoying milking her every day. We even recently made our first homemade cheese with her milk! We have Uno in the same area with our 3 Nubian does to breed them as well. Our other two Boer goats and the lamb have been moved to a separate area. Nic built a new fenced in enclosure next to our current fenced yard for the goats. In our last update I talked about how one of the Boer goats was really friendly, so we decided to keep her as a breeder, and she now has a name… “Betty”. Betty and the other meat goat and meat sheep are separated from the others so that the buck cannot breed with them. The lamb is growing quicker than the goat, and were looking forward to harvesting them early this next year.

Livestock Guardian Dogs:

Hank is now 18 weeks old and is getting so big! He is definitely bigger than Cass was at that age. As for the animals, he’s really great with them already, very understanding of his boundaries. Cassidy is now 9 months old… wow time flies! She’s a whole new dog now that we have Hank. She’s happier because she has someone to play with on a regular basis. He helps get the extra energy and wiggles out of her; as a result, she’s significantly better behaved now. We are so happy they get along so well. I think they will make an awesome guarding duo one day!

Pigs:

We will be getting 3 new piglets next weekend, can’t wait! They will be from the same Yorkshire breeder, but will be a lot younger than the last pigs we got from him. They will only be 6 weeks old, eeek! They will probably be ready for slaughter in April or May. If you are interested in a whole or half pig to put in your freezer, please let me know and I can give you more information.

That’s all for now, thanks for following along on our journey!

P.S. Have a Very Merry Christmas!

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  1. Pingback: March 2017 Update | Millennial Homesteader

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