Hi everyone! It’s now summertime, and on top of trying to survive the heat, we’ve been really busy around the homestead so I figured it was a perfect time to give you all an update on our homestead happenings! :) For the last update in March, click here
Garden: In my last update we hadn’t been doing too much with the garden over the winter, other than some greens and carrots, and weren’t too sure how much we were going to do this spring. However, I did get the gardening-bug as usual so we put some tomato, bell pepper, and zucchini starts in the ground. Lately we’ve harvesting zucchini, tomatoes, and carrots for the most part, hopefully some bell peppers soon. Most of our greens have bolted, which is fine, I just let them go to seed and hope for volunteers next year. A few of the greens we still have growing are cabbage and Swiss chard, even our celery is still growing strong. One of the most exciting things about our garden is how well our carrots are doing! We’ve never had luck with carrots in the past (I think it was a soil and pest issue), but now our carrots are growing large, with normal shapes and no pest damage! Homegrown carrots are a lot like homegrown tomatoes, there’s just NO comparison between it and store bought. And we eat a lot of carrots so we are very happy about this!
Chickens: My grandparents visited about a month ago and took some of our laying hens home with them. We are trying to downsize our flock right now, especially since we have some young up and coming pullets we hatched this spring, so they just took a few of our older hens. My grandparents have been raising chickens for a long time, but prefer not to raise them from chicks. They are always willing to take in free chickens, and even enjoy letting “old hens” live out their life and don’t care as much about production, which is perfect! Our other hens are still laying a ton of eggs, which we enjoy… fresh eggs daily never gets old! We’ve also sold lots of fertile hatching eggs this spring. I’m looking forward to our young pullets to start laying eggs around September. We will also been butchering a few of the roosters in a few weeks.
Turkeys: Our turkey hens have recently stopped laying eggs. Unlike chickens, turkeys only lay seasonally, so they should be done for the rest of the year now. A few months ago we hatched and sold some turkey poults (chicks) as well. We sold those poults because we already have so many turkeys. We plan on butchering half of the turkeys in a few weeks, and the rest by the end of summer.
Quail: We added quail to the homestead! We got some Jumbo Coturnix quail eggs from a friend and some more Coturnix quail eggs from our local feed store. We had a great hatch, and they are going big. As much as we like them, they just aren’t the best fit for our homestead right now, so we will probably we selling them, but we enjoyed getting the chance to try out another animal on the homestead!
Pigs: Our three meat pigs we got in early December as piglets have now all gone to butcher. One pig we butchered ourselves and the other two went to the butcher. We love raising meat pigs, but we probably won’t be raising anymore for another year or so since we got a lot of meat from these last ones. Our freezer is full of pork again and we couldn’t be happier!
Goats: On my last update, Bindi had just had her buckling, the first of the year! We thought Nelly was next, but Miss Belle surprised us a week later with her twins, a boy and a girl. She had them while we were at work, so when I got home I found them crying for her. Miss Belle apparently had no clue she gave birth to them and was completely avoiding them… it was the saddest thing hearing them cry out to her and her run from them. Baby goats need colostrum pretty quickly after being born, so I quickly moved mom and babies to a small enclosed area so that Miss Belle couldn’t get away from them. Luckily Miss Belle is very friendly, because I basically had to hold her still and let the babies nurse from her. I also rubbed her scent on the babies hoping she would accept them. I had to do this every few hours to make sure the babies were getting fed and also in hopes that mom would accept them. After each forced feeding session she seemed to accept them a little more each time, eventually licking them while they nursed. By the next morning she was letting them nurse all on their own, thank God! She hasn’t been the most attentive mom, but she kept them fed and that’s what was most important!
Nelly was so huge and lost her ligaments well over a month before she was due, so we thought for sure she was going to be the first to give birth, or at least the second, but no she was the last. Nelly gave birth to twin boys about 3 weeks after Miss Belle. I got home from work just as she started giving birth; by the time I got to her I got to see her give birth to the second baby. Fortunately Nelly was a good mom just like Bindi was and has continued to be this whole time. Nelly’s babies were our favorite baby goats out of all of them, they were so friendly (just like their mom), you would think we bottle fed them because they come up to us, want to be held and pet, and follow us around constantly, it’s so cute! We have sold all the baby goats except for one of Nelly’s bucklings. We have been milking all 3 moms, it’s been great having a constant supply of fresh goat’s milk. Two of our Boer goat does have been in with our Buck Uno for breeding, so we should be expecting end of the year babies for them. We have one Boer goat that we are raising for meat, and were hoping to slaughter her in a few months along with our sleep, once we have a little more freezer space.