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Shanti
December 23rd, 2007, 05:04 AM
Hi all. :)

Well, its cold and snow covered and we had some nasty below zero temps already.

To my surprise the chickens and ducks are doing great. I'm still getting eggs!!!
I have no frost bit combs or waddles. No illnesses or any probs at all in the coop.
The birds are thriving and the coops not heated or anything. :)

The rabbits did great. They are on a breeding break till February. We did get some nice meaters this fall.:) The freezer is full. :)

The goats are great. We have 3 pygmy girls that will birth by February sometime.
We have an indoor heated birthing pen set and ready.
No frost bit ears on any goats and no health probs.

The sheep, well heck, with all that wool, they lay out in the snow all day and only go inside their shelter during storms. LOL
The hair sheep had it a tad rough before their hair grew in nice in thick this early winter. We gave them extra grain to help boost them as the winter descended.
They're doing great now. :)

We did have to do some rearranging with the goats unexpectedly when a couple of buck goats decided to not get along....the rut got a little too combative, bloody heads from head bashing un-relentlessly. The rut came in real strong and fast.
Good breeding year. :)
But we added a few more fenced areas and split everyone up in small groups and it been great ever since.
We have a pen for our angora buck and his ladies.
A pen for our boer buck and his ladies.
A pen for the pygmies.
A buck pen for when the breeding is over, also a sheep pen and a goaty pregnant ladies pen.
And last, we have the meat pen, for food critters.


Its warm and toasty in the house with the wood burner.
No frozen pipes, no breaking down of the well pump.

We've been busy as heck tending the critters. I have been spinning fibers like crazy and have a few blankets going on the looms.

For the first full winter in the new place, its all been good. :bigblue:

Oh I almost forgot.
We did find a new home for the mini horse. Amber started beating the heck out of the livestock. He was suppose to be the livestock guardian, but beating the livestock wasnt exactly helping protect them. The food animals have to come first so we found a neighbor who is a horse person who wants to train Amber for cart pulling. With Amber being gelded and only 1 1/2 he was perfect for Rita. So Rita took Amber and Amber is happy now and the livestock here are at peace.

We're are breeding and training our dogs for livestock work and guardianship.
The livestock definitely knows how to handle the dogs and the dogs know how to handle the livestock. A pack dogs can protect against coyotes. We know theres always the chance of loosing a dog to the coyotes, but when raising your own food, thats better than loosing a flock of sheep. One sheep is a good 100-200 pounds of meat. Thats a lot to loose when its your dinner. We have the livestock pens fenced from the dogs getting in but the dogs have range all around the perimeter of the pens in a secondary fence line so they can keep predators from getting to the livestock.
So predators have to get through the dogs to get near the pens of livestock.
The 2 dogs we have now are not ready for patrol 24/7 yet. But meanwhile we keep ears open and gun at the ready. And we are watching for tracks. This spring we will have pups we will add to the pack and mom and dad will be able to help train the young ones.
We had a little coyote activity down by the river but nothing hasnt moved in close yet. We are waiting for the freezing of the river to see if they start moving closer.
Our most valued livestock are in the most centered pens now.
The less important are in the more outer placed pens.
I just hope we dont loose any this year.
Next year, the dogs should be ready for their 24/7 patrol duty.

Well, thats a quick update.

Hope this winter has been good for you all.

P.S. Love the title of this forum!! Homesteading and "simple" living!
Doing it yourself, the old ways, is far from simple. LOL
Its the hardest, and most challenging way to live, but its also so extremely fulfilling, nothing else beats it!
The rewards are priceless. :)

banondraig
December 23rd, 2007, 12:34 PM
the simplest things are the hardest to do, i find. :)

did you say there is such a thing as a hair, as in not really wool, sheep?

SSanf
December 23rd, 2007, 01:17 PM
Really good to hear from you, Shanti. I am glad all is going well for you.

I hope you had a good Yule.

May the blessings of the season fill your home with abundance and your heart with joy.

alwaysfallingup
December 23rd, 2007, 04:06 PM
Hello, Shanti! I can't wait until we're as far along as you are! We're taking things slowly here, but it's so great to hear about what's going on with you and everyone else who has just struck out and done it! :) I can't wait to move and compare goat notes with ya!

Happy Holidays!

Shanti
December 23rd, 2007, 07:14 PM
the simplest things are the hardest to do, i find. :)

did you say there is such a thing as a hair, as in not really wool, sheep?
Yup! Hair, no wool. They get a shorter and thick coat of hair and shed it in spring.
They are meat sheep, not woolers. :)

We have Longwool and Jacob for wool. :)

Shanti
December 23rd, 2007, 07:31 PM
Hello, Shanti! I can't wait until we're as far along as you are! We're taking things slowly here, but it's so great to hear about what's going on with you and everyone else who has just struck out and done it! :) I can't wait to move and compare goat notes with ya!

Happy Holidays!
Goat notes. Works for me. :)

We sure are learning a lot as we go. We just got hit with a bad storm, major winds and cold. Temperatures are not an issue if the wind is calm.
All the livestock fluff up and their hair or wool, keeps the warm in. But when winds get bad it actually blows the warm right out of the coats.

This morning we had a lot of cold, shivering, goats and hair sheep. Only the wool sheep who's fiber is extremely thick and long we're ok.
They all have shelters but with 50 MPH winds relentlessly blowing all night and into the day, the wind gets in every nook and cranny and back blows through the entrances of the shelters.
We went out in this evil nasty wind driven cold and fed wet, warm, beet pulp mix. Gave them warm water and put out bails of hay. Everyone got warm via their tummies and now are all ok.
With ruminants you have to keep that rumen active and working hard to maintain warmth and you have to keep the critters energy levels high so molasseses and coffee was added to the beat pulp. :)

By the time the critters were done eating their pulp mix, all shivers were gone. :boing:

Oh and even with this unbearably dangerous cold wind going on, the darn chickens gave me eggs this morning!! LOL
Their suppose to be on winter break..no eggs.
I guess they just dont listen. LOL
I dont feed them chicken feed. I mix my own feed and I guess it works good for them. :)
My mix is oat, corn, beet pulp, and rabbit pellets with minerals mixed in about once a week.
The chicken feeds give lousy weight, IMO, on the chickens, and the smelliest poops.
My mix gives me stocky, active, and hardy chickens without the nasty sour poop smell and theres no waste that is a big prob with most chicken feeds. :smileroll

Well, thank you everyone for the well wishes and hello's.
Peace, love, and harmony wishes to all.
Gotta get back to spinning. I just finished my break for supper.

banondraig
December 23rd, 2007, 10:32 PM
Yup! Hair, no wool. They get a shorter and thick coat of hair and shed it in spring.
They are meat sheep, not woolers. :)

We have Longwool and Jacob for wool. :)

I can't deal with wool, anyway, it makes me itch something awful.

Are they any good for milk?

materra
December 23rd, 2007, 10:36 PM
Nice to see you on line. Hope all is well. I am so glad your animals have such good owners, as you know many don't.

Warm hugs, Universal Energy sent.

Shanti
December 27th, 2007, 12:22 PM
I can't deal with wool, anyway, it makes me itch something awful.

Are they any good for milk?
Wool is nice over other things like quilts.

Thats why I also have goats for cashmere and for angora fiber, they dont itch.
Plus the angora rabbits make the softest products of all. :)
Wool can also be spun with other fibers like the angora rabbit or goat to eliminate the itch and not all wool is itchy. The commercial wool often is but some of the heritage breeds are not.
My Leicester Longwool ewe has fiber soft as silk and not itchy at all. :)

As for milk....anything that give s milk can be milked. The flavor is all in the opinion of the individual.
I personally like all the livestock milks better than store milk.
Sheep and goat, IMO, are tastier and much more pleasant to drink than cow.
Nutrition wise, goat and especially sheeps milk beat cows. :)

I've never been a fan of cows milk. But, I grew up on goats milk. :)

I dont like beef either. LOL

banondraig
December 28th, 2007, 01:43 PM
i like cow's milk fine myself. :)

i've been wrestling with the problem of what osrt of animal to keep for dairy, though, as cows take a lot of space, goats remind me of iraq, and have been worried about milking sheep with the itch factor. most commercial wool makes me itch, even in blends, so maybe i am allergic, dunno.

Leicester Longwool, you say? hmm . . .

Cindlady2
December 29th, 2007, 07:09 AM
Well, happy things are going well for you! Glad that (at least so far) you've managed to keep the critters out of your critters! LOL For some odd reason I haven't seen as many coons this year. Not sure if that's good or bad:hmmmmm:

Shanti
January 2nd, 2008, 03:49 PM
Well, happy things are going well for you! Glad that (at least so far) you've managed to keep the critters out of your critters! LOL For some odd reason I haven't seen as many coons this year. Not sure if that's good or bad:hmmmmm:
Thanks Cindylady2.
You know thats weird. I have seen only the tracks of one coon in the river basin and thats it!
All summer coons were overflowing here and now theirs only one to speak of.

Usually in winter tracks are everywhere, especially as the river freezes and the coons spread inland looking for food, but not this year.

With your post, now I wonder if something didn't go bad in the coon chain.

I dont like it when nature gets wacked out like this. To often its a signal of something that went bad that effects the balance.