So I haven’t blogged in FOREVER!!! I am such a slacker. In my defense we had some illness in the family, and I was traveling in August. Not a great excuse when you do this from a laptop. LOL. Well a lot has changed in the past month, so I thought I would bring everyone up to speed. I also want to let everyone know where we are going from here. So lets get started!!!
Well it was another frustrating milking season her on the farm. We don’t raise animals for fun here. They have to make us money or out the door they go. That being said, we have started selling off the dairy goat herd. Presently we have just 4 goats remaining. Milking is a thing of the past. The VA State Legislature isn’t budging on raw milk sales, so we are done. Plus it will be much easier to take summer vacations going forward. We will keep and breed the current goats for a different purpose which I will explain in a bit.
We are back to full production on meat birds….sort of. We are ramping back up to our 2014 numbers slowly. We are contracted to provide 60 processed chickens a month starting in Oct, and that number will rise slowly and peak at around 120 birds per month by March or April. We incurred HUGE losses last winter due to aerial predation, so we had to come up with a plan to combat that problem.
Willow is a 9 week old Pyrenees/Akbash mix. Both her dam and sire guard large poultry flocks. As you can see from the pic she is already taking to her new job. Currently she gets 3 hours a day of supervised poultry time. The other 21 hours she will be in with the goats. Our pasture is designed in a such a manor that she can patrol the exterior perimeter of the chicken pasture anytime she wants. Once she is around 4 or 5 months old she will move in with the chickens FT. However, even then she will be supervised heavily. I feel good about this since she doesn’t even show signs of playfulness around them. Hopefully this is the answer to our hawk and owl problem. The pic is funny. Currently she is guarding about 40 chickens and a few turkeys..LOL. By March there will be over 400 in that pasture at any given time.
SO now that you met Willow you will be interested to learn that we will be raising and training Livestock Guardian Dogs starting in about a year. We have another pup on the way soon, and will begin that adventure in the future. These LGDs are a vital part of urban farming now that coyotes have expanded into cities. Also, the aerial predators are overly protected (and they should be), so their numbers are only increasing as well.
One last mention. Since farming is my way of life as well as my income source we will be launching a few different things to drive some additional income. My wife is a trained chef, so cooking ideas and recipes will abound for a VERY SMALL fee through Patreon. She will offer recipes and ideas for anything and everything we raise from poultry, pork, lamb, dairy products upto and including venison and bear recipes. Also, from time to time you may see links in the blog or on our website for products I use on the farm. I will never hide the fact that I make a few bucks off of it. I also will never lie about the product either. If it is good it is good, and if it is bad I wont use it. LOL.
Until next time…happy farming !!