Category Archives: Farm Excitement

~~ 6666 Ranch Visit ~~

20150509_6666 ranch1

20150509_6666 stalls

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20150509_6666_Paige

Paige has been blessed with the opportunity to have an internship at the 6666 Ranch. She will be working with race and ranch horses.

We went with her to report to the ranch and went on the farm tour. It is a very exciting opportunity for Paige, it will fulfill some life dreams and hopefully give her direction for her life after college.


 

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The Hummies are Back!!

Hummies are back

One of Trish’s Favorite times of year is  when she gets to start feeding her hummies!

We saw our first Humming bird of the season this last weekend. Now there are about 8 fighting over the feeders. They fly from the one feeder to the other. It is a lot of fun watching their aerial displays.

 


 

 

Surprise Litter of Ossabaw Island Pigs

We were feeding our Ossabaw Island Pigs last week, and I noticed one sow, that I thought was just fat, appeared to have dropped and was getting close to being in milk. That in itself is not out of the ordinary, but this sow was not due for another month at least.

I calculated the breeding date back, and there was now way that she was with a boar at that time. That was really confusing. I was beginning to think that a boar had jumped the fence and jumped back out, which was also impossible due to where she was penned.

Premie Ossabaw Litter

We moved her into the farrowing pen just to be safe. 3 days later she had 7 of the smallest Ossabaw Island Babies I have ever seen. Premies!!  7 healthy, but tiny babies. They have  found the heat lamp and are doing well. We were worried that they would be too small to make it. But they are Ossabaw Island Pigs, a very very hearty breed.  They are proving that their reputation for heartiness is not blown up for better marketing.

Even though our records showed that she should not be farrowing, she did! It was a good thing we visually inspect every one of our animals twice a day. If we had not, we would not have caught this pending litter. Since we make our living on the ones that make it, it is important for us to be diligent in doing our job even when its unexpected.

Farming is never dull!!


 

Redesigned Farrowing Pens

Makeshift farrowing pens

Our sows were getting ready to farrow in March and a cold snap was about to hit. We threw together these farrowing pens in our barn. We used pallets to make the walls and to make the divider to the creep area. This set up worked very well, but they were not as sturdy as what we were shooting for. Our sows tore through the creep divider with ease and they had to be reinforced and straightened up daily. The new piglets also found the weakness in having pallets, they crawled through the fork spaces and wandered around.

The creep area worked very well to keep the babies safe. Adding a heat lamp made it a perfect nursery area. When Momma called they all piled out and started eating.

new farrowing pen1

We have upgraded the creep divider to a hog panel. We turned it upside down and enlarged 2 holes so the piglets can easily get in. The heat lamp and the babies are protected from the sow. We also went from 3 pens down to 2, added an ally between them for better access.

We have 1 Hampshire sow in the new setup. So far she has not revealed any flaws. Hopefully we have babies soon, I am getting excited to see how the new divider works, and how well it will hold up.

I will give an update when we give our final evaluation on the design.


 

 

 

Spring Showers

Spring is an amazing time on the farm. Spring Babies, Spring Gardens, Spring Flowers, and Spring Showers. One day of sunshine for every 2 days of rain. Our farm is soggy.

I am hoping to get the garden started, but it is just to darn wet. My excitement to get rolling on planting is making me have no patience. Mentally planning the garden is just not the same as getting it done.

Rooster Flogging

 

There is nothing quite like a surprise Rooster Flogging on Easter.

I was just telling my niece not to worry while picking the eggs, that they won’t do anything. Luckily, I bent down to pick up the last egg from the nest box. Right then wham!! Rooster Flogging!!  It jump onto my face hit me with its spurs and pecked me at the same time. He was so quick I couldn’t even defend myself.  That little pecker is lucky he was one of my favorites.


 

 

Fencing for pigs.

I had an inquiry about the fencing requirements for pigs, and what works best. I have practical experience, but I am no expert on fencing. I can only tell you what has worked for me on our farm.

My personal go-to for fencing is pig panel. 16′ welded wire panels that are spaced for raising pigs. They are approximately 3′ tall and are narrow spaced on the bottom and wider spaced on the top. The narrow spacing by design is to keep the young pigs in, but I have seen little piglets run full speed and jump through the upper larger spaced area. So it may slow them down a little. I have not had a full grown hog go over one yet, but they can eventually separate the seams of two panels and escape. Daily visual inspection of any fencing for hogs is a necessity.

Woven wire with spacing like the welded wire can also work if stretched tight enough and with posts close enough. Pigs will dig next to the wire and then lift it with their noses to crawl under the fence. This seems to be a younger pig trick,  as they get older and fatter they tend not to try it.

Electric wire will also work fine if the pigs were properly trained to respect it. A 2 or 3 wire system will keep most pigs in. I used this successfully  even to separate breeding groups and boars. the fencer needs to be strong, and daily inspection of the fence is necessary to make sure they have not pushed dirt onto a lower wire to short it out.

Fencing is really a personal choice. It may depend on what you have available, or what budget you have to get started.  Electric wire is the cheapest per foot of fence, and the pig panel is the most expensive. I have had all three in use at the same time.

No matter what fencing I have up, I find the best way to keep them where I want them is to keep them adequately fed at all times. I also bucket feed twice daily, if one does get out, it will come running back to the bucket.

Good Luck!!