Raising chicks

baby buckeyeRight now, our farm has the beginnings of new life starting to run around. In one shed, we have a single chick with it’s mamma. In the pasture, all the does are heavy with kid. They should be kidding in the next week or two. At least a lot of them will. Brace yourselves! Here comes gobs of posts with pictures of adorable goat kids! This is one from last year in February. His name is Oakley and he ended up being the only wether from our flock to go to a new home. Usually we keep and eat wethers. Not this guy!

Oakley at birth

In the meantime, we have a bunch of eggs in the house in an incubator. We raise Buckeye chickens and so we will be having a hatch of little Buckeyes in the near future. We raise our birds as straight run, so we get both boys and girls in one hatch. It’s called a hatch when it’s a group of chicks all hatched out at once. It’s a clutch when it’s all the eggs that one hen has laid. A hatch can be from many hens.

When our chicks are about 4 months, the boys start making odd noises. They are trying to crow but can’t control their voices very well yet. Buckeyes tend to be late at maturing. Here is a youtube video that is a great example of what trying to crow may sound like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMdl7PC03nU

Ours tend to sound like they have something stuck in their throat. We chose the Buckeye chicken because they are nice layers but have a lot of meat on their bones. Plus they are gentle so you don’t spend a lot of time chasing them around when you need to catch one.

These are Buckeyes! Buckeye hens and rooster

How about you? What made you choose your breed of chicken?

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Saving milk for Winter

Dizzy

 

Have you ever considered trying to save some of the extra goats’ milk that your goats produce during peak season in order to be able to use it in the winter when there is none?

 

I know that for us, our goats sometimes produce more milk than we can use. Of course, sometimes there is the option to sell, but you do need to know the law on that before you start doing that. I’ve also heard of some people canning goats milk to save it for later. Our farm does something different.

During peak season when we have more than we can use, we bottle up the extra, and freeze it. We could choose to buy our milk in the winter, and sometimes we do end up doing that. During peak production, we make cheese, and yogurt as well as drinking the milk. But, we do have several very high producing does, and in the winter, they do dry up. So, to try to buy as little milk as we can, we put the extra that doesn’t go into cheese or yogurt, into the freezer in half gallon or gallon jugs.

 

In the winter, we take a bottle out when we need one, allow it to thaw, shake it and begin using it. The milk will have separated if you don’t shake it, but the milk hasn’t gone bad. It just needs to be shaken. We also freeze extra colostrum from our does after they kid. That way, if we have kids the next year that need colostrum faster than we can get momma milked, we have some on hand to give. In the spring time, if we have the money, we like to buy a calf. Any milk that is left over from winter, goes to feed the calf. Something to keep in mind though, is that frozen milk is good for only 3-4 months.