Duckling Update

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Ducks | Posted on 04-07-2012

Hatching out this batch of ducklings, was an interesting thing.  First off, I didn’t know how many of the 32 eggs would hatch and then make it.    We had 15 of 32 hatch, but we only had 11 survive.  Some of the survive rate was due to me, not thinking about how hot it was during the day and leaving the heat lamp on, even though they had plenty of water and a way to get out of under the heat lamp.  They need temps of 100 for the first week, then you can drop the temp down 5 degrees each week.    Part of it was also, a few that were sort of on the small side and just acted weak and I wasn’t sure that they would have made it, even if I hadn’t had to much heat.  I am still thrilled with the 11 that did hatch as that is still more than I thought would hatch

Baby Ducklings

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Ducks | Posted on 27-06-2012

Several weeks ago, I had a total of 9 ducks, then something started picking them off one by one, until I was left with two.   I quickly made up a pen for them and they are now safe inside it and seem to be doing well.   As I was building the pen, I found a nest with 32 eggs in it and I put them in the incubator and hoped that they might hatch.  Of the 32 eggs, so far 11 have hatched, we did have four that for some reason died in the shell, and one that was bad, as it was leaking.   I have something like 16 eggs that I am waiting to see if any of them pip.   If they haven’t hatched out by the 4th of July, I will most likely throw them out as they were either eggs that went bad or not fertile.

Lesson’s learned on a farm

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Posted by kat | Posted in Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 19-06-2012

There are several life lessons that can be learned on a farm.  These sometimes seem to be ones that are always learned in a hard way or at least in a not so nice way.

1) No matter how secure you think you have something, something can either get in or out in unexpected ways.

This has been learned several times, but you can never plan for everything.  We have lost several animals to this lesson.

2)Never count your chickens or eggs before they hatch or grow up

This lesson has also been learned several times, even as recently as today.  We had someone give us to baby chicks, I kept them in the shed for a few days and moved them to a bigger pen, this lesson also apply’s to the first one I listed.  As this morning when I went to check on them, I didn’t see them in the pen and as I walked around the yard, I found to very small piles of feathers.   I am still not sure how they got out, but after half hour of searching I couldn’t find them.  I can always hope that they are hiding somewhere and will come back if and when they feel safe and if they haven’t been eaten.

3) Animals can be dumber than you think they are.

This has also been learned several times and I should not be surprised anymore.   The baby goats are three months old, and it’s time to wean the two males.  Because I don’t have separate pastures yet, I have had to tie them up.  I have kept them withing site of each other but not their mom’s, and at least three times a day, I am out there untangling them and instead of just standing still, like a horse does when tangled, the goat’s keep moving and so every time you get it untangled just a little, they are tangling it again.  And the knots and way’s they get it tangled are mind boggling, I have never seen anything like it.

4) If you don’t want lots of hard work, long hours and lots of sweat.  Don’t become a farmer or try and grow your own food.

My work is never done, I am always having to fix the fence, or chase an animal that has gotten out.  There is always the garden to weed, water and plant.  Then you have to harvest and put up the items you grew.   I didn’t plant a garden this year, because I was trying to build raised beds to grow everything in.  Raised beds should help make it easier to weed and protect a little better.  I have a few less hours of chores, because of no garden.  While this is nice, I also noticed that I am having the buy things from the store a bit more often or see if I can trade a few thing from family or friends that put in gardens.

5)Doing things yourself, doesn’t always save you money.  Or at least not really anymore.

I bought goat for two reasons, lawn mowers and possible milk to learn how to make cheese.  This year I really worked hard on the latter.  I have made Feta and Mozzarella, both turned out pretty good.   Here is where the later part of the NOT REALLY saving money comes in.   If I take the time it took to milk the goats, the time it takes to strain the milk for storage, the feed to feed the goats while in milk and the the time it takes to make the cheese, it’s just about cheaper to buy the silly stuff.  I have seen goat’s milk for sale in the store it is about $2 and some change for half a gallon.   It takes about a 1 gallon of milk to make 1lbs of cheese.  My feed is $9.59 for 50lbs and lasts me about 2-4 weeks, it has been going a little faster than that due to the fast that they are in milk and need more feed to keep up with the demand that I and the babies put on them.  Just so you know, 8 cups of shredded cheese is about 2lbs.

Cheese Making

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Posted by kat | Posted in Cooking, Hobbies, Our Goats, Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 14-06-2012

So far, I have made two kinds of cheese.  Feta, which was very yummy and Mozzarella, which was very yummy as well, once I added salt.  I did find that even though Salt was an optional thing that the Mozzarella needed it.  I am hoping that once I get my cheese press made, that I will be able to make other cheeses, once I figure out how to cure them.

My first step into the cheesemaking

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Goats, Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 29-04-2012

I am one of those types of people that likes to learn new things.  One of those new things I wanted to try was making cheese.   I have goat’s, so I bred them, to a sannen buck that had excellent milking lines and started milking as soon as I was able.   For the first week after the babies were born you can’t use the milk because it has colostrum in it.  I saved the colostrum and froze it for emergencies and gave the cat’s the rest.   Once the week was up, I saved it in the freezer and kept adding to it.  I ended up with 5 containers of various sizes filled with milk.  After I defrosted them, I had 18 3/4 cups of milk, or just over 1 gallon of milk.  I then put this on the stove so that I could pasteurize the milk, at 145F for 30 mins and then your supposed to cool it to 40 degrees.   Tomorrow I will be making the Feta cheese.

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