Updates on our mini farm: Animals!

I got y’all caught up on the yard and garden. Ha, there is never such thing as “caught up” around here. Thought I would give you a tiny update on the critters:

Goats

Coraline, 10 minutes old

I never had time to announce the birth of our babies! How fitting that our first goatling arrived on Friday the 13th, adding a nice touch of authentic gruesome fun to our party night. We were a little disappointed to only have single births, but I guess that is common for first time does. They look almost exactly like their mamas did last year! We love our little reruns, named Buddy and Coraline. This year wasn’t nearly as scary as last year’s birth.  We are learning. We even dehorned them ourselves and, ummm, fixed our boy.  Brave indeed!  Sometimes the things I do feel like someone else’s life!

Buddy and Coraline frolicking

This week has been a challenge though as we have attempted to separate them from their mamas in preparation for weaning and relocating them. To say they cry would be an understatement. I’ve had reports that neighbors 6 doors down can hear the bleating wails of moms and kids! I am almost certain the hoarse but high-pitched “Maaaaaaaaaamm!” can be heard from space. If you hear an unsettling cry on the wind, wherever you are, my apologies. This may be the worst part of goating, I think. Even worse than mucking the goat shed (which really needs to be done again, gulp!) The best part? Maybe the 2 gallons a day we are getting of awesome, fresh goat milk. We have our system down and can detect zero goatiness in the milk.  Infinitely better than my first taste!  Not only can I drink it straight without wrinkling my nose, but we all love it and have sworn off the plastic gallon jugs.  A sigh of relief as we sport our goat-staches!

Bunnies

Two studs: Shea’s bro Nick and our buck, Gizer.

We have a great system going. Even as we just tucked 8 away in the freezer, we have another batch about 4 weeks from full size and a brand new batch born yesterday (I know baby bunnies are called “kindles” but I keep saying batches like they are a bucket of cookie dough or something). The plan is working well because there are always cute fuzzies to play with and by the time they are big enough to “process” there are more cute fuzzies. My kids actually enjoy eating rabbit and we have become used to the whole routine. We’ve come a long way. I hate to use the word desensitized, but maybe that is what we are. The actual killing moment remains traumatic, but beyond that I am a little amazed to say I can skin and clean a rabbit faster than Shea, so that has weirdly become my job. A testament to our sickness might be the dinner I brought to my inlaws house for Easter Sunday:

Herbed Easter Bunnies on a bed of carrots.

We are getting good use and NEVER waste a scrap of meat. I usually prepare one in the crock pot a week.  We use it in any recipe you would fix with chicken.  Then the bones go back in the crock pot and simmer until I get every drop of broth out of it that I can. Factor in that we harvest the “bunny berries” and use it for fertilizer…homemade miracle grow!…and I think we can say the rabbits have been really good to us! For further value, I thought of making lucky rabbit feet key rings for Christmas gifts, but that seems a little much. :)  I wanted to promote mindful eating practices, especially after reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivores Dilemma, and I think we have done just that.

Chee Chees

Big Bertha, we couldn’t even shut the carton on this bad boy.

More than a year later, we still call them chee chees.  We started with 4 and now have 15 (I think).  We get about a dozen eggs a day. We are enjoying the farm freshness, the bright orange yolks, and the occasional mutant egg.  I sell extra eggs to friends and neighbors for $4/doz.  Sometimes I even get cool trades (That load of dirt I used in the front yard actually cost me 6 dozen eggs.) The chickens are fun to watch and come running anytime we venture out hoping we have a bucket of kitchen scraps for them. NOTHING goes to waste around here! I even learned how to make a homemade calcium supplement out of powdered egg shells (link here), so what we don’t wash and feed back to the chickens I can actually use myself!  Chickens are fun and low maintenance, I highly recommend them for your backyard! (Google urban coops to see all kinds of possibilities!)

Family

Shea has the gift to nap anywhere. He deserved this one!

And how about the other animals?  We are, well, tired. Shea and I go to bed aching every night from all the work we put in. Spring is the busiest time of year. Except maybe Fall. And the time in between. It is sometimes frustrating to work our schedule around milking time and the kids aren’t always excited to do farm chores (Come on, who wouldn’t line up to shovel poo?) But overall, we are loving it. I feel like this gopher-ridden patch of dandelions was made for us and my head literally spins with more projects to start! Come visit anytime, Purple Barn is a fun place to play.

8 comments on “Updates on our mini farm: Animals!

  1. Pingback: Updates on our Mini Farm: Yard and Garden | whereverthere

  2. Charity on said:

    Kristin, I love what farmers you’ve become! It’s so amazing how much you’ve taken on and how it’s all flourishing! I also love your farmer-cowgirl hat. It’s kind of like a superhero costume.

    • Kristin on said:

      Thanks Charity! I need a superhero costume to keep up with all the chores. What would glamour magazine recommend? I wish I had your spade and spatula to teach me more about gardening, but we are having fun with our trial and error.

  3. Tricia on said:

    Wow Kristin, you guys are getting so self-contained. That is the way to go. We have four chickens and get your kind of eggs too. I love seeing the mutant ones, like if a chicken gets traumatized their egg is small and maybe misshapen and the gigantor ones like you showed. I haven’t gotten anyone else on board except Colton and Cody have sometimes fed and watered the chickens and Colton made a run for them but no gate. Brandi is the one that got the chickens tame and has fed them some also. But mostly I am blessed with their care and finding their hiding places for eggs. Pat is making a bigger run for the chickens so they don’t have free (pooping) range through the whole yard and patio which will be nice. My almost one yr. old poodle has been taking to mounting chickens, dumb dog! I think it is a dominance thing as this morning I noticed one chicken has lots of feathers pulled out of his back and neck and some bruising. No more leaving that dog with the chickens! You guys are doing so great! I would love to bring my grandkids and their parents to come see your little farm if you wouldn’t mind. That rabbit poo is rated as best for fertilizing and of course the chicken poo is great also! They both make plenty of it!

  4. Suzy Walker on said:

    Kristin, I am so jealous. My husbands job doesn’t allow us to stay put for more than 3 years otherwise we would be the best of neighbors on our little farms. Though mine would have a few pointless animals too, namely peacocks and alpacas. Good Luck as you keep moving forward. I’ll be home end of July, maybe we could stop in and see the farm?

    • Kristin on said:

      Good to hear from you Suzy! It would be awesome to have you over, give me a holler when you want to drop in! I am not zoned for peacocks or alpacas or I might just give them a try too. :)

  5. Christina on said:

    I’m so jealous! Having a little mini-farm is my dream… and some day when we can afford to move out of our tiny apartments, maybe it will happen. And then I’m going to have you on speed dial so that I can figure out how to milk goats and slaughter rabbits!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

HTML tags are not allowed.

Facebook login by WP-FB-AutoConnect