Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fast growth!

What a difference a week makes!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Photo Friday

2-week-old American Chinchilla kit. There are 8 others in the nest box.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

This, That, and the Udder

In my last post, I talked about the swarm of honey bees that took up residence in our empty hive. You can see here a few workers moving in an out. The photo doesn't really show how much they've cleaned up the old hive. Free bees are a pretty great thing!

Our doelings are growing quickly. I'm so happy to have these girls here. I have high hopes for when they freshen next spring. You can also see our new batch of egg layers in the background. They are growing out nicely. We normally let them free range, but we have a fencing issue that makes them an easy snack for one of the neighbor's dogs. We're ready to fix that fence, and they'll be out of the run in no time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

If you have plans, don't count on 'em

As I'm approaching my impending date to kid baby #4, we have been trying to get things as well under way as possible. Something that has slipped away from being done was cleaning out our beehive. We had the hive die over the winter, and we moved it to accommodate the county coming out and fixing our drainage tile. Well, it never got taken apart, cleaned, and put away. Instead, it sat, like a fully functioning hive against the barn. It was just missing the bees. We thought about buying a nuc this year, but because of my impending arrival, we decided to leave that off our plates for one year. Do you know what happens when you decide you aren't going to do something? Well, you have a swarm arrive and take up residence in said hive. Sure it's more work, but at least we got some free bees!

Now we just have to figure out how to move the whole hive to someplace a bit better suited for the beehive. The fun never ends around here!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I have a gift card and they had ducklings on clearance. Seems bad enough, but combine that with the fact that my 14-month-old smiles, quacks, and talks to the ducklings, and it was inevitable. We are now proud owners of 6 Pekin ducklings.

Meet the Ducks!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bringing Home the Bacon

It's always fun to bring home a batch of feeder pigs. We don't have enough fencing up to pasture them very much, so we do feed them grain. However, we feed a lot of other things to the pigs to cut the cost of the grain, and to vary their diet. They love whey, garden scraps, and any extra eggs we have. In the end, we get delicious pork. Can't complain about that!

Friday, April 6, 2012

More on the Rabbits

In my excitement for all things bunny, I forgot to mention some important details about the rabbits. They are American Chinchilla rabbits. More information on this breed can be found here. We specifically chose a breed of rabbits listed with the American Livestock Breed Conservancy. We want to help improve the numbers on a breed that needs a boost. We also wanted a breed that was known for being a good producer in terms of rabbit meat. We're hoping to be able to help other families get started with the breed as well.

The girls just had to name our breeding stock, so Isla, Charlotte, and Ken are adjusting to their new surroundings. To be honest, I think they find me a bit strange, as I just sit and watch them with a goofy grin on my face. This has easily been one of the best birthday presents for me, that I can remember.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Mr. HH knows that I'm not into jewelry, and picks out the BEST gifts for me.

Not to be outdone, one of the does and the buck decided they wanted to make sure I had a nice belated birthday present in the nest box in 30 days.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Change of Plans

We were going to add quail to the mix today, but I was made an offer I couldn't refuse--rabbits. So I'm going to be skipping the quail and going for rabbits since they've been on my "want" list a bit longer.

In goat news, we are still waiting for Tease to kid.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Coming Soon...

We have some new critters coming to the homestead (barring any freak occurrence that keeps it from happening). Stay tuned. This is one of two critters I've been wanting for a while now. I'm so excited!

And to hold you over until then, here's Tease being extra miserable this pregnancy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goat Kid Update!

With the weather being as warm as it has been, we've been taking advantage by cleaning out the raised beds, starting seeds, and staying as busy as possible. However, I thought we'd give a brief update on the goat kids.

The Snubian (saanen x nubian) doelings are growing so well. I can't wait to see how the perform on the milk stand. I love these girls.

Our first Nubian kid was born this week. She's still in the gangly stage, but I know she'll end up being a beautiful goat, and hopefully a great milker.

I love her coloration. She has a single moon spot on her tail. Just a beautiful girl.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

First arrivals!

Just arrived! Two NubianxSaanen (aka Snubians) doelings

Sleeping with warm water bottles.

When they say good things come to those who wait, they aren't kidding. After being disappointed that one of our Saanen does had aborted, we are thrilled to welcome these two little ladies to the homestead. Both of these girls are out of a Kastdemur Nubian buck. They are beautiful little ladies that I'm sure will have no issues putting yummy milk into the pail.

Not a bad way to start the kidding season here!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Farm Babies

We decided to raise Barred Rock pullets, again. We have found them to be the best foragers, layers, and friendliest bird. The Speckled Sussex are going to a new home, as they just don't lay as well as Barred Rocks. Our Barred Rocks consistently lay throughout the winter, without missing a beat. We have south facing windows in the coop, but no other supplemental lighting. These gals also are meatier than traditional egg layers, so if we get an accidental roo in the bunch, we will send him to freezer camp. Hands down, the Barred Plymouth Rocks have become our favorite chicken.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


It appears that one of our does aborted at some point, and tricked us with her big belly. We are hoping she was bred this past week for kids in the summer. Our next doe isn't due until the 19th. I am ready for milk again, so the 19th can't get here fast enough.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heat Treating Colostrum

We feed pasteurized milk and heat treated colostrum to our goat kids. It makes it easier to sell excess kids when you test for CAE annually and practice prevention this way. Now, when you heat treat colostrum, you have to hold the temperature above 135 degrees F, but below 140 degrees F. This temperature is held for 30 minutes once reached. If you heat colostrum at a higher temperature, it turns into pudding.

The easiest way we've found to do this is with this little guy--a small, cheap deep fryer. We fill it to the max line with water, use small glass jars in the basket, and played with the dial until we found the spot to keep our temps within that range. We made a notch to mark this temperature spot on the dial, and now we can just put the dial there for heat treating colostrum in the future. It beats standing over a stove and moving a pan off and on the heat source as to not end up with too low of a heat or colostrum pudding.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

And we wait...

My big brick house mama goat is due on Tuesday. I have been checking on her throughout the day, and she seems happy and content. I am so ready for another round of bottle babies. I'll keep my ear out for any hints of impending labor via the barn/baby monitor. Come on babies!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Completed! Well mostly completed.

The barn is done!

A little blurry, but those are skylights on the side. We couldn't put them on the roof due to vapor barrier.

There is quite a gap at the bottom of the barn. Because we've had a muddy, wet winter, we are have to wait until spring to bring in fill dirt. Instead of them building on a pad, we will backfill and add gravel in the spring.

I am hoping that we can pour a small concrete pad in the barn to use as a milking area. We plan on running electric and water to this barn. Hot water and bucket heaters? Sounds like heaven to me!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Almost finished!

Fast Progress!
At the right end, you'll see past the slider door track some clear panels. We had skylight panels added to this side and the back side to help with natural light (no electric to this barn). We had to put the panels on the side, as we have barrier, insulation on the inside roof of the barn. This prevents condensation from falling onto hay bales we will store in this barn. Of course, it keeps the goats dry too.

It's coming along nicely. Due to the weather, we had to wait to lay the pad in. Once the weather permit, we will borrow our friend's skid steer to back fill the barn to be sure the animals stay dry.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not much longer!

The new goat barn is coming along beautifully!
I heard excited whispering amongst the goats. Also, I'm pretty sure there were several high hooves (goat high fives) between them.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Coming Soon

Coming soon, to a Hoosier Homestead near you--A NEW BARN!!!

We finally saved up enough money to build a bigger barn for hay and goats. We will still use the smaller barn for kidding, but this gives us more space for all of our other homestead equipment. Tentatively, we should have this barn up by the end of the month. We are also working on building a bigger buck pen utilizing an old car port we got for a steal off of Craigslist. I will post pictures of that soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

White Christmas

After much discussion and thought, we have moved to a Saanen-only herd. We couldn't resist. Their easy going personalities and gentle nature fit perfectly with our own. We are expecting the first round of kidding to begin in roughly two weeks. We'll be sure to share plenty of baby goat photos.

Hopefully, blog updates will pick up soon. I seem to be doing better in terms of morning sickness, so that should help out some. ;)