in Farming with horses, Horse riding, Livestock

Journey to farming with horses

I must be really stressed out because, over what should be little stresses, I am getting a cramped shoulder and a stitch in my side. Of course problems getting to your airplane on time aren’t exactly little stresses so maybe I should give myself credit. My flight leaves at 6:15 and here I am in the shuttle at 5:25. Fortunately it’s a domestic flight or I might as well give up. As it is I will probably be running through the airport which is what I got up extra early to avoid. But the shuttle didn’t come for a half…

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in Blog, Farmlife, Livestock

Who turned the thermostat to hell?

Yes, the past week has been hellish temperatures.  Sunday hit a high of 115 degrees of drenching, sweaty humidity and it has only slightly come down since then.  Fortunately this misery is very uncommon.  Last summer we only had a handful of days above 100 degrees and only slightly above 100.  While we retreat inside to the inefficient coolness of the swamp cooler, it’s the poor animals that really have to deal with the heat. Heat is really hard on animals and it shows in weight loss, lower milk production, problems breeding and even death.  We happily didn’t lose any…

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in Blog, Farming, Geese, Livestock, Poultry, Waterfowl

Eating Cotton Patch Geese

 “OK, if this freaks anyone out, just say so, but we had the most awesome dinner tonight. Goose.” A friend of mine who owns babies and grand babies of our Tom Walker line of geese just posted this on facebook. To me, this is excellent news.  Now I know some of you are vegetarians/vegans or meat eaters who pretend that meat wasn’t once a live animal, so stop reading now if you don’t want to hear a review of how this amazing bird tastes.  As for me, I’m getting hungry… She continues: I can not believe how good these are….

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Dog Attack (Graphic…sort of)

There was snow on the ground today and I was so happy.  But then I got out to the chicken coop.  There were dead chickens everywhere.  Dogs had got in, even after we chickenwired the bottom of the fence to keep everyone safe.  They decimated our Dorking flock.  After all these years of working to breed chickens touch enough to withstand the desert extremes and to build a flock big enough to really start selling chicks… To say that I’m discouraged is an understatement.  I was already discouraged because we’re having such a hard time dealing with permitting issues for…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

New Dorking Chicks

Our first dorkings of the year are chirping merrily away in their brooder.  Almost all of them hatched on their own with absolutely no help which is the way I like it.  About five chicks needed help.  These stragglers took so long to get out of their eggs that the egg membrane died and stuck to them making it impossible for them to move. Dorking stragglers It’s very easy to help a chick hatch.  You just gently break the egg shell and remove it bit by bit.  I put warm water on the dried membrane and rub it until it…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Suet-Why didn’t I know this?

My favorite blog, Fresh Eggs Daily posted an article today about making homemade suet for your chickens.  I’ve vaguely heard of Suet, but never really paid attention to it and basically just thought it was a “treat” for chickens who are pets and spoiled by their owners.  But suet is not just for pampered chickens!  Or at least all chickens should be pampered in this way. Suet, if you didn’t know like I didn’t, is just raw beef or sheep fat (or I suppose it could probably be fat from another animal too).  It can be used for making candles or even…

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in Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Sanitizing incubator and eggs

The chickens are finally laying well now that the days are lengthening again and the geese are starting to court each other.  Spring is on the way!  And that means one thing.  Babies!!! The best part of farm life is the babies.  Baby chickens and baby geese and adorable little baby ducks and baby goats and baby pigs and even baby wild animals like quail and Killdeer.  I can’t wait to see baby killdeer even if they ARE shorebirds that aren’t supposed to be in the desert.  How much cuter can a baby get? Anyhow, we have the incubator turned…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

The Deep Litter Method

I’ve found some good material from the first people to research and promote deep litter, Kennard and Chamberlin at the Ohio Experiment Station. The following is an article of theirs from the Golden Age of deep litter, published in 1949. For the impatient, here’s a deep-litter quickstart: Deep litter is not about compost. It’s about healthier chickens. Do your serious composting on a compost pile. More is better. It’s not deep litter unless it’s at least six inches deep. If the top of the litter gets caked over with manure, skim off the caked part and toss it into a…

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