Pig Weaning Time

We had 5 litters of baby pigs that needed to graduate up and away from mommy. Our sows did another amazing job at raising a fine group of babies, but it was time to wean.

Weaning pigs is not hard, it just takes time, patience,and planning. With that I need to recruit help. It was a family affair this time. We had to relocate sows to new pens, move some pigs out of our nursery to make room and then put the newly weaned babies in.

pig nursery
pig nursery

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Testing our seed stock

I purchased some seeds 2 years ago to store in case we may need them. I purchased buckwheat, red winter wheat, and hull-less oats. I have had them in the refrigerator, I put the package that they were shipped in right in the bottom drawer and forgot about them.

I was thinking that I needed to check the viability of the seed and to try to produce more seed to store.  After I harvested our potatoes, I planted a small test plot of each seed. After the 2 years of storage,  we have  a very good germination rate and each plot is growing nicely.

The buckwheat is about to bloom, and the wheat and oats are leafing out nicely. I have never grown these to produce seed before, so this is a project of trial and error. I will write updates along the way.


 

Thief in the Night- Update

Our suspicions were correct, we had a raccoon problem.  In fact, at least 2 raccoon were plundering our animals. Unfortunately for them my farm protection duty was successful and we are back to being secure.

We have still been securing everything at night just in case. We lock up the chickens and secure their food. We feed the cats and dogs earlier to make sure that there is little to no food left in bowls for overnight. And we are keeping a close eye for any more signs of new activity.

In total I believe our thieves made off with 6 of our roosters while we were on vacation, 4 hens out of the coop, and one of our free range ducks. The only thing we can do now is fire up the incubator, hatch date is Oct. 5.


 

Thief in the night

We have had a thief in the night. I believe a raccoon has the belief that we should supply him with nightly meals. It has killed 2 chickens and has been cleaning out the dog and cat feed in the horse barn. We suspected something last week but it is now confirmed.

We found one of our hens killed in the coop this week. The darn raccoon was climbing up pipe fence to the metal roof in order to climb in a vent. In all of our efforts to secure the coop, the little thief found the one weak point.  We never expected anything to come up from the fence. Due to the dew on the grass and a few dirt patches we were able to track its movements along the fence and onto the roof..

In the barn, we have been putting our bags of feed into an animal carrier to secure them at night. The raccoon has been reaching in and trying to pull the bag through the door grate. In doing so, it has been pulling about 25 lbs.  around the floor. That feat has matched the size of foot prints found on the fence. We are dealing with at least one adult maybe more.

I am reluctant to deal with the situation with a gun. I feel the power of any gun that I have will be too much around the buildings and other animals. I really don’t want to wake up the neighbors, or draw suspicion to our farm. I have too many cats to use any trap including a live trap. And I really don’t think he will leave just by asking . So, I have purchased an air rifle to use to deal with our thief. Now the hunter becomes the hunted. Tonight I will be ready. I am on farm protection duty!


 

 

Growing the farm

We have been spending all of our free time getting our “to do” list knocked out. Our focus on growing the scope of our farm has added a lot of work this summer to our list. With a lot help from my parents, we are slowly getting caught up.

Our main goal  this year is to increase the number of revenue streams on our farm. The hard part about adding different revenue streams, is to not spread yourself to thin. There is only so much time in one day.  You must not cut your free time too short or you will burn yourself out and the farm will become a drain.

Our goal this year is to  increase our number of sows,  and in doing so we are now producing feeder pigs and fat hogs from different breeds. We were already breeding Ossabaw Island Pigs, so adding a few more litters of babies a month will not over tax our infrastructure or allocated labor. We did need to add more pens and build a few more huts, but  we also put in a new alley system to make feeding time run smoother. With the new alley, the time  it takes to feed has actually decreased. The alley will also allow us to break one more large pen into three, which will let us better manage our growing herd.

New Duroc Cross Babies
Duroc Cross Babies

We have farrowed 4 litters of babies this past week. Our new pens and alley made that easier. We did not plan on so many at once, but nature sometimes makes its own plans.  Next year we will be scheduling our litters to better coincide with the market. We had times this spring that we sold out of feeder pigs, and we are constantly running a reservation list for Ossabaw Island pig breeders. Our new pens will allow us to keep a surplus so we will not miss any sales. Plus the surplus will lead into another revenue stream already in the works to be implemented some time next year.

We have also just about completed our chicken coop. We have been been selling a few eggs, but we will be able to focus more on that. Also with the coop done we will be able to breed 3 separate breeds and a popular egg laying hybrid. The completed coop will allow the farm to increase the number of products that we can sell,  which will hopefully draw in a few more customers.

We must constantly reevaluate where we are on our path,  and we must be constantly searching for the roads that will lead us to our destination.  -Brett

 


 

Striped Kitty- Hopefully just visiting

Lil Skunk in the yard
Striped Kitty
Striped Kitty
Striped Kitty- Lil skunk visiting

We were out doing chores the other day and I noticed a fluffy tuft of Black and White hair poking out of the grass. I quickly got the dogs into the barn. It does however explain the odor coming from our blind and deaf farm dog.

I took a few photos as I tried to scurry him along.


 

 

Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain

We have had 10″ of rain her in the last 2.5 days. We have also had trouble getting to town because of flooded roads. We have  had 3 waves of storms come through and dowse our farm and the surrounding area.

Our pig pens are water logged. We have some huts that have filled up inside from rain blowing in. Our clay based soil soaks up and turns into deep mud. There are places that look completely dry until you step down and your foot sinks down 8″. I have had to move some little pigs around because their legs were to short for the deep mud.

Today it has cleared up and is in the upper 80 degree range. even with so much water and mud, in the next 2 days we will have dry pens. The next 2 days are suppose to be in the 90 degree range which will dry the dark soil out quickly.

 

Flogged by a Rooster

Rhode Island Red in pig pen
Rhode Island Red rooster and his gilts

We have a rooster that lives in one of our pig pens with some grow-out gilts. The rooster eats with the pigs, hangs out all day and roosts on the bars of the pen at  night. He is first to the feed trough in the morning so I usually scatter a little grain for him to peck at while I feed the pigs.

Last night I was feeding the pigs and not paying attention. Not paying enough attention to the rooster, I guess. All of a sudden he was attacking my leg, jumping at me and flogging me with his wings and trying to spur me with his feet.  He attacked me twice before I realized what was going on. What a crazy feeling. Who knew a light weight little bird could hit with that force. Good thing it was not an Ostrich, I would still be laying there.

It turns out that this chicken is trying to protect his pen mates. Every time I reached down to pet one of the pigs the chicken started towards me. If I stopped petting the pig he would stop, If I continued to pet the pig he would try to flog me. I really don’t know if this is a good thing or not. How many times would a pig really need to be protected by a rooster? What could a rooster protect a pig from that the pig couldn’t protect itself from?


 

 

Getting hot for the chickens

 

Hen house
Hen house

 

 

We have had a great spring with these hens laying eggs. But  our temperatures this week have been in the 90’s and they have dropped off on production.

We have not finished the complete coop yet. The part we have them in is a little too small for them, I have a lot of venting but i think it is a little too close for comfort. I believe when we get rest of it finished the increased room will take some stress off and they will continue to lay better even on hotter days.

What is your favorite breed of chicken?

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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