All around update!

First and foremost … DH is back to work.  We survived the 4th of July family reunion too!

 

Two roosters out of the 10 have been processed.  Still have 8 more to go, but now that I’ve done my first (DH did the other one about 1.5 weeks ago) I feel a bit more confident.  I will work on getting them processed over the next week.  Once that’s done, I’ll be cleaning out the coop really well, sterilizing it with bleach water, letting it dry out then putting the 8 baby chicks in there.

 

The three bucks still need to go.  I’ve got to get them done this week as well.  We need the space for the baby rabbits so their mama’s can have a break from them.  We have a total of 19 little ones and I hope to get them to a decent size in the next couple of months.  Right now they’re about 5-6 weeks old.  One thing I’ve learned is that they do not grow out as fast as I would like them to.  I’ll be giving them all a good weigh when it’s time to move them to the other cages so I can track it over the next month or so.

 

I think in the future I need to get some NZ White’s or Red’s for my meat rabbits and do away completely with the meat mutts.  Of course, that was kinda the plan to begin with.  We got the meat mutts so that the learning curve would be less costly.

 

And the garden is doing so-so.  Of course, compared to last year it’s doing outstanding!  :)  I’ve got a pot of “vegetable medley” on right now simmering down which I plan on putting through my food mill to make a sauce for pasta.  It smells fabulous.

 

But that’s what’s going on around our homestead right now!  :)

Things are slowly improving.

DH’s surgery went well and his recovery is progressing.  We will know on June 21, 2013 if he will be allowed to drive a truck anymore.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

The garden is doing pretty good and the rabbits have all been bred.  I’m hoping that we have little kits in a few more weeks!  The way things have been going for us in the past few years, and especially in the last 6 months, are really amazing.  I know that the hosting “forum” for this blog is a rabbit forum, but I must digress from that for a few paragraphs to say this …..

Prepping saved us.

I’d really not call myself a “prepper”.  To be honest, I’m just someone who is concerned about the future on many levels and decided to take steps to cover a few bases.  One of the main things I’ve done is to learn to can my own foods.  I’ve also purchased things “in bulk” from places like “Sam’s Club” and the regular old grocery store (when items were on sale).  These “preps” have been what has kept us fed since the beginning of the year with a few “grocery trips” thrown in.  Relatively speaking, we’ve had to spend a minimal amount of money at the grocery store because of my mindset the past couple of years.  And while there are times we have to do without certain “luxury” items, all told, we’ve eaten fairly well.

I’ve read on the internet where “preppers” are called “selfish” and “uncaring of their neighbors”.  On the contrary.  If I am what some consider a “prepper” because I’ve prepared, I’d venture to say that my behavior has benefited my neighbors and been extremely “un-selfish” as we haven’t had to look to charity’s or welfare to make it through this period.

Anyway … end of prepper rant! :P

Check out my youtube channel for video’s on our little homestead!  WnCSohn’s Youtube Channel!

Progess on Hold due to DH’s Triple Bypass

Hasn’t much been happening around here.  DH had to have Triple Bypass Surgery done last week.

 

I’m investigating aquaponics right now, since we are now the proud owners of 5 IBC totes.  Our way of thinking is that we can garden and grow fish all at the same time.  From what I understand, growing in an aquaponics set-up produces faster plant growth and is less water intensive in the long run.  With the bonus of having fresh fish in the end to eat with our fresh veggies!

 

Fodder experiment has fizzled out since I had to spend so much time at the hospital with DH.  He’s much much more important to me than making sure fodder gets started every day!  :P

 

We still have 3 rabbits left to butcher and the hutch doors still need completed.  Once we can get those doors finished, I’ll begin breeding the remaining rabbits.

 

This weekend will be the weekend that the chickens we picked up in January turn 14 weeks old.  Might take a chance at “skinning” one or two of them myself this weekend.  Depends on how things are going around here.

 

Will update the blog when things start picking up around here again.

Dipsatch Day and Fodder Update.

Yesterday was Dispatch Day.  We processed 6 of the rabbits and ended up with 14# 4.9 oz of rabbit (not de-boned and no organ meats).

2 Rabbits we traded with our neighbors for some venison from this past years hunt.  We ended up having venison steaks for dinner last night.  Yummmy!  :)

4 of the rabbits are now sitting in the fridge aging.  Hubby wants to learn to debone rabbit, so he’s going to try and debone 2 or 3 of them.  We have found a recipe for bourbon chicken that I’m going to attempt with rabbit meat instead.  Might do that for Easter dinner!  :)

Here are the before and after weights of the rabbits we processed….

4# 9.6 oz    -    2# 5.8 oz
4# 8.0 oz    –    2# 2.3 oz
4# 7.0 oz    –    2# 0.9 oz
4# 15.6 oz    –    2# 7.6 oz
6# 1.6 oz    -    2# 15.3 oz
4# 11.6 oz    -    2# 5.0 oz

 

We have also started feeding fodder to the chicks.  They aren’t devouring as much as I’d hoped (i.e. all of it) but they *are* eating most of it.  I figure anything left that isn’t eaten can be raked up and added to the compost pile once every couple of weeks.  They’re really not leaving much but still, hate for it to go to waste!

I’m also not getting the growth rates I anticipated with the fodder.  I’ve changed my method a bit a few days ago to see if my growth rate improves.  But either way, it’s still more economically viable to grow fodder, even at this slightly reduced output, than to keep buying pellets.

Fodder Feeding?

I’ve been doing alot of reading lately about feeding rabbits, chickens and goats (as well as cows, horses, etc.) on “fodder” instead of the expensive feeds from the stores.  With the increasing costs of feeds it seems like it may be the way to go.  At least with some of the animals we have.

From what I understand 1# of seed turned into fodder is equal to 6-7 #’s of fodder.  So a 50# bag of wheat seed @ approximately $20 would equal 300-350 #’s of fodder!  While the same amount of pellets (chicken and/or rabbit) would be approximately $90-$105.  And that doesn’t include the cost of fuel to go pick it up, because most likely those bags of feed would not be picked up in one trip.

The big chickens pretty much free-range during the day and don’t really eat much of their pellets unless it’s a really bad weather day out and they don’t leave their coop/run area or we keep them penned for one reason or another.  But the little chicks we’re don’t really want to let out for fear that the rooster (who has proven that he does *not* like them) will hurt them.  We’re mostly growing them for meat anyway, since it appears that most of them are going to be roosters anyway.  Those little buggers eat ALOT of pellets!  I think the 21 of them could easily go through a “tray” of fodder a day.  It would certainly be cheaper to feed them 1 # of grain turned fodder a day then 1.5-2 blue coffee can’s of chicken feed!  That’s about equal to 4-4.5 #’s a day.

Then there’s the rabbits.  They go through about the same amount of pellets on a daily basis as the chicks do.  4-5#’s.  So again, 1# of seed turned fodder or 4-5#’s of pellets.  There is no option about letting them “free range” LOL so we have no choice but to feed them pellets or fodder.

So here’s the break down.

  • 2#’s of fodder a day for 25 days would equal 1 – 50# bag of seed.  Approximate cost $20
  • 10#’s of pellets a day for 25 days would equal 5 – 50# bags of pellets.  Approximate cost $75

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Of course, there is the “initial investment” to think about.  Trays, seed, etc.  But even figuring in that cost I think we can still save alot of money on a monthly basis.  In addition it would make growing out chickens & rabbits much MUCH more cost effective.  Giving us the meat we’re wanting, at a substantially lower cost.

Ok, so I got to thinking about it ….

And figured it would be useful, and possibly a help to others, for me to keep track here on my blog as to the progress of the meat mutts I got on Jan 19th.

I’ll do a separate page and will post their weights every two weeks, along with the amount gained.

Currently I free feed them with hay & I’ve added a bit of whole oats to the mix.

Another Rainy Day

There’s nothing quite like doing morning chores & feedings in the cold rain at 7:30 in the morning! LOL But it’s something that needs to be done and so we do! The rabbits, chickens & dogs don’t brook any argument when it comes to feeding time! :)

And looking at the radar it appears that the rain (for the most part) is finished for the day! YaY! Didn’t really want to spend the day cooped up inside if I don’t have to.

It’s just about time to start getting the garden beds ready for planting. Deciding what’s going to go where and figuring out if/where we are going to try and grow some forage for the rabbits and chickens this year. Hubby seems to think we’d be best trying to grow in partial shade, just in case we have the same issue we had last summer with the drought. Might not be a bad idea, but I don’t know how well things will grow in the shade. Guess we’ll just have to try it and see.

Busy day today …

The weather was so nice that hubby decided today would be a “clean up the yard” type day.  He’s been out raking up/burning leaves and cutting down small trees around the property.

 

Oh, and my son finished up the final touch on the run for the chicks.  They’re loving their new space!

 

And yesterday was weigh day for the rabbits.  On average they’ve gained about a pound each in the last two weeks.  Our heaviest buck is now 4+ lbs!  :)

 

Watching their progress has given me much to think about as far as who I’m going to keep and who’s going to get to visit Freezer Camp.  I’m fairly certain I know which ones I’m going to keep, but things could change between now and whenever (since that’s about another month down the line).  Although I do know for certain I’m keeping DR08.  She has cali markings but has a nice soft short plush fur that I’m going to try and get more of in the future.

 

Let the genetic breeding/culling begin!  Oh, wait.  She’s only 6 weeks old.  Bah, guess it’ll have to wait!  lol :)

 

Oh, and here is a picture of our rabbit hutch.  It’s located over our compost pile for ease of composting!  :)  Eventually we will be building a “real” rabbitry, but until then this will do.  It will also serve as our quarentine area in the future.

 

Chicks survived!

We put the chicks outside in their little coop a couple days ago.  However, last night is the first night since they’ve been out there that got really cold.  I was a tiny bit concerned about them, but not too awful much, since we didn’t put a heat light out there.  They’re mostly feathered with just bits of fuzz here and there so I was hoping it would be enough.

 

Apparently it was!  YaY!  Their waterer was a little bit frozen when I went out there but I just dropped it into the bucket of warm water I took out and in just a few minutes it was thawed out and ready to be refilled.

 

So, now there are no more smelly chicks in my living room!  :)