in Blog, Bloodhounds, Farm Dogs, Livestock, Published in Daily Press

Farm Dogs

Dogs have always played an important role on the farm from helpers, to protectors to simple companionship.  And the breeds are just as varied.  There’s no wrong breed for the job of farm dog, but each dog has special and unique abilities. The dogs of Flip Flop Ranch At my farm, we have two different breeds of dogs: Bloodhounds and Brussels Griffons.  The hound personality just seems ideally suited to farmlife-easy going, but willing to work hard when asked.  Hounds of all varieties are fantastic for hunting, but our’s are actually trained to hunt people.  We work with police departments…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

Basics of Incubating eggs

As soon as the weather begins to warm, chickens across the world begin to think of hatching eggs and raising baby chicks.  But they’re not the only ones.  Spring also begins humans thinking about hatching eggs and raising baby chicks.  Of course the way we do it isn’t nearly as natural and our success rates vary.  Still, with practice and knowledge we can get just about as good.  Human success rates for incubating eggs is about 80% while hens are at 90%.  Not bad. Incubating eggs Out at Flip Flop Ranch, incubating eggs is one of the biggest parts of…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

Why you should raise chickens

Chickens are usually the first livestock the aspiring farmer purchases and if you don’t have any of these fluffy critters running around your yard, you should really consider it. Here at Flip Flop Ranch, we have a few hundred of them, but our start in farming began with only one. Betty was a Frizzle with curly feathers. She was raised in a cage on my bathroom counter, wore diapers around the house and pecked at the door to go in and out. I remember being so proud when she laid her first egg…on the dining room floor. Chickens make great…

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in Farming, Livestock, Pigs

The new Guinea Hogs are here

Yes that’s right.  They have arrived.  Finally.  I’ve been excited over our new guinea hogs for months now since we purchased them and have just been waiting for the delivery of two adult pairs (one pregnant) and the other pair with five piglets.  Why am I so excited?  Well, besides just loving pigs, we tasted our last processed hog. OMG It was amazing. To be honest, I hate pork chops.  They’ve always been dry and tasteless no matter how well we cook them or what recipe we use.  We had guinea hog pork chops the other day and there was…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Tagging Chickens

I waited until it was dark and all the unsuspecting chickens were asleep.  Then I creeped into the coop with a flashlight and one by one grabbed each chicken by its legs and swung it upside down.  Sometimes they squawked and flapped for a few seconds before relaxing.  Sometimes the other chickens stuck up their heads and squawked back in concern, but they always fluffed their feathers and settled back down to sleep. And so it went, grabbing, swinging upside down and tagging.  It’s important that chickens have identification tags when you have a bunch.  You can watch for patterns,…

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in Blog, Livestock, Sheep

Our new Gulf Coast Sheep lambs

It’s so exciting!  We just had our first lambs born!  I didn’t even know the momma Gulf Coast Sheep was pregnant, but it turns out that some rams snuck in with the girls about 148 days ago give or take!  Remember I just got this flock so their history is a little…shady… Anyhow, I was just walking around feeding and suddenly did a double take.  There were two adorable little monsters wobbling around the pen.  No fuss, no problem.  Momma was perfectly healthy and is taking fantastic care of her babies.

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in Blog, Farming, Livestock, Sheep

I have a problem with overeating…

I have a problem with overeating.  Hey buster, it’s not me who overeats, it’s my piggy sheep that overeat.  See, at Flip Flop Ranch, animals tend to escape…a lot.  I forget to lock the gate or they slip through  a fence we thought  would hold them, or the most recent escape was the sheep busted a gate open.  And where do they go? Straight to the chicken feed. I mean, how could they resist that scrumptious mix of corn, wheat and oats? So that’s where overeating disease comes in.  This is a disease sheep get literally from eating too much.  What…

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in Blog, Horse riding

Daryl the Zombie Killer Horse

Daryl is a new horse for the ranch rescue and needs a bit of work (and a bit more fat on his bones).  He’s a Peruvian Paso which is an amazing little breed from Peru.  The Paso’s are basically the quarter horse of South America and were used by Peruvian cowboys on their large cattle ranches.  Paso’s are neat because they move in a special way called a gait which makes them very smooth even when they’re going fast.  And yes, Daryl is named after Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead. Daryl the horse is not quite a zombie killer…

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in Blog, Farmlife, Natural Health, Recipes and Cooking

My Water Kefir Bomb

I have a bomb.  It’s on the kitchen counter.  I’m very worried. My wonderful, dear neighbor gave me a jar of water kefir grains.  I was very excited.  I’ve wanted to try making water kefir for a long time but I’ve been too much of a cheapskate to actually purchase the grains.  Water kefir is basically fermented water.  Kefir grains are crystals of probiotic bacteria that ferment sugar water into a glass of pure digestive delight.  So when my neighbor gave me some of her kefir grains, I was very excited. However, I have no idea how to care for…

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in Blog, Livestock, Poultry, Uncategorized

Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flocks

By J.P. Jacob, H.R. Wilson, R.D. Miles, G. D. Butcher, and F.B. Mather  University of Florida IFAS Extension  The laying cycle of a chicken flock usually covers a span of about 12 months. Egg production begins when the birds reach about 18-22 weeks of age, depending on the breed and season. Flock production rises sharply and reaches a peak of about 90%, 6-8 weeks later. Production then gradually declines to about 65% after 12 months of lay. A typical production curve for a laying flock, showing changes in the level of egg production and in egg weight, over time, is…

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