THEY'RE OUT!!! Woohoo! Yesterday I finally moved all of the chicks from the basement out to the coop with the rest of the chickens. Normally it's a bad idea to just plop a bunch of unknown birds together, but I did it during the evening when everyone was getting ready to sleep. Dumpling fought a little bit with some of the hens, but our older rooster Zorro didn't even care, and let Dumpling take over as head rooster without a fight. Now tonight I will be cleaning up the basement so the furnace people can come and fix it - cause I think all the dust has gotten into the furnace and it needs a good cleaning. After that we will be setting up a bigger pen to put Flower in so I can keep and eye on her.
Yes, Flower is most definitely preggo and I'm a nervous mess over it. She is probably due within the next few weeks so I want to get her over to our house asap so she has time to settle in before she gives birth. The only place we have to put her that is quite and secure is our basement - I can't wait until we move and have a barn - basements are not built for this kind of use! As she gets bigger I grow more neurotic. I have a list of supplies that I need to get from Tractor Supply and I'm hoping that everything goes smooth so I don't have to call my veterinarian friend over in the middle of the night. For anyone else that is a first timer at this whole lambing thing here is the list of supplies I need.
Lube (i.e. Vaseline or you can buy the livestock stuff at TS, or KY if you have some lying around) ~ just incase the lamb gets stuck in the birthing canal.
Gloves ~ because it's gonna be messy - I have some regular gloves but I may need the ones that go up your arm just incase.
Iodine w/cup ~ to disinfect the umbilical cord area on the lamb.
Feeding Tube w/ syringe ~ just incase I need to force feed the lamb.
Electrolytes ~ another just incase the lamb is dehydrated.
Nutrient Drench ~ incase the lamb needs a pick me-up, it’s like a multi-vitamin.
Pritchard Nipples & Bottles ~ for feeding the lambs if Flower can't.
Colostrum ~ Just incase Flower doesn't or can't nurse.
Milk Replacer ~ If either I decided to put Flower back with the rest of the herd and keep the lamb(s) at the house, or if Flower can't or won't nurse.
Flower is getting HUGE! I though she was just packing on the pounds because its winter and her coat was thicker, but now I'm not so sure. I have been looking at photos of pregnant sheep and her belly looks similar. I need to keep a close eye on her, because if she is preggo she should be due sometime in March. The last time Dunkin was together with the females was in October, and at the time he was only 5mth old! I can't wait to see what happens!
I have been too serious lately so here are some interesting things I have learned about farming so far. :)
A playful pig is only cute until it exceeds your own body weight then it’s utterly terrifying.
Don’t think if you build a shelter your sheep will actually use it; they much rather be outside. Invest in shade and wind-brakes.
Before you decided to hatch out chicks in winter first figure out where you are going to house them. Basements don’t make good chick brooder.
Rams are called such for a reason.
Dogs can get fat eating chicken poop.
If chickens don’t know what something is their first instinct is to peck it, whether it’s a string on the ground or a temperamental old cat, it makes no difference to them.
Chickens have a bad rap for being stupid, but ducks are worse. They can figure out how to fly out of the yard but not how to fly back in.
Chickens + Dead Frog = Hours of Entertainment
Pigs are smarter then dogs, they know to wait until your back is turned to body slam you.
Don’t ask your pigs if they want an apple unless you actually have some apples to give them, they aren’t stupid and they hold a grudge.
Goats know the best places to stand/walk so they can trip you.
An otherwise quite and late rising rooster will always start crowing at 4am on the days you could sleep in.
Plucking a duck is one of the 9 levels of hell.
The smaller the size of your male goat the larger the attitude.
Never stand directly in front of a male goat; you risk getting peed on.
Male goats can *cough* take care of themselves if you know what I mean.
No matter how much it may suck going out in below zero temperatures to feed and care for the animals after you've had the day from hell; by the time your done lugging buckets of water and wrestling with the animals to get from the gate to their food dishes, you have a smile on your face and you've forgotten that you can't feel your toes.
Yah so that’s my thoughts right now, but I can't elaborate until latter. Let's just say my hatred for the Town of Plattsburgh has just reached a new high.
So the Planning Board said we can move forward with our plans, so now we need to have an engineer draw them up. We also need to submit more information about the maximum number of animals we will have on the property. So that's all on the planning front until next month. I am blaming all this stress for the white hair I found the other day.
I have a feeling today is not going to go well.
Tomorrow is the first of three, yes THREE, meetings with the planning board, which means that it will be a least April until we can start building anymore shelters in the field. I know that these regulations are in place for a reason, but with more and more people deciding to raise their own food I think they need to reevaluate how they go about regulating small farms. It's ridiculous that we have to go through the same process as a commercial farm when we only have a few animals. The Planning Board officer said that ours is the first situation of this kind in the town, but just because we are the first doesn't mean there won't be others. We are doing everything that the town has asked of us, and while they are working with us, what of the next backyard homesteaders? Do they really expect every person that wants to own a few chickens, goats or pigs to go through a three month planning board process, plus have an engineer draw up their plans? We only have one 20' x 20' preeminent structure planned; all the others will be portable and on skids, yet we still have to have an engineer's stamp on our plans. I don't even want to think about what that is going to cost.
I know that the main concern is that we are right up against a sub-division, but we are taking every precaution that our animals are not a nuisance. Except for a couple times when we first got the animals, we have been able to keep them in their pens and they have been less of a nuisance then the neighborhood dogs. We are doing everything possible to make sure they don't smell, but even if they did we live in an area surrounded by cornfields, it always smells like cow manure around here.
Our little farm is not going to detract from the value of the surrounding homes, or drive people out of the neighborhood because of smell, noise, or vermin. Our little farm is going to provide my family and friends with fresh eggs, naturally raised meat and vegetables. Our farm will bring value to the community and an educational opportunity to the community's children. Our little farm should NOT be subject to the same regulations as a commercial farming operation, and the Town of Plattsburgh needs to realize that they need to make some changes so those that come after us don't have to go through the same hassle.